ESPN

Bodies We Want 2011

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STEPHANIE GILMORE

Photograph By Luis Sanchis for ESPN The Magazine

"It's daunting for female surfers to match the image of being a tan, fit beach girl in a bikini, so posing naked for these photos was liberating and helped me stop stressing about my insecurities. Growing up, I worried that I was too tall to surf, but recently I've embraced my height and found it gives me more strength in paddling and maneuvers. When I was attacked last December [by a man wielding an iron bar], I broke my wrist and learned what it's like to lose my fitness level. I didn't surf for almost eight weeks, and I was surprised how quickly I lost my paddling strength. I'm still building it back up, but I take a more holistic approach to training. It's about having the right frame of mind to send the best messages to your body and your spiritual and emotional self. When you're out in the ocean, you learn about being present. It's just you and the wave."