From party animals to professionals: ‘Happy’ Gilmore defies surfing cliches

Editor’s Note:

Story highlights

Australian Stephanie Gilmore is a five-time women's surfing world champion

The 25-year-old says surfing today is more about professionalism than partying

Gilmore laughs at comparison with famous surfing film of the 1990s, Point Break

She says traveling the globe to compete in surfing events is her dream job

CNN  — 

Forget Point Break’s party animals, modern surfing is more about professionalism.

That’s the mantra of reigning women’s world champion Stephanie Gilmore, who raises an eyebrow at the mention of the famous film that became a seismic signpost for surfing in the early 1990s.

The 25-year-old Australian says the seaside sphere she inhabits is a world away from the society showcased by Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze, stuffed with wavy-haired folk who all referred to each other as “dudes.”

“The biggest misconception about surfers is they all talk the surf lingo,” she told CNN’s Human to Hero series.

“Not everybody does and I think Hollywood portrays a pretty scary image of how surfers go about their language. Not all of us talk like that.

Read: The Taliban’s favorite sport: Afghan cricket’s battle

“It’s probably been 30 years now that it has been a professional sport and it hasn’t grown too much. But now it’s really turned into this phase where it’s about treating the surfers as professional athletes and not just party animals.

“The industry boomed for so long, then it finally plateaued and crashed and right now it’s in a phase of rebuilding itself, trying to get back to its core and really find that market again that everybody loves so much – the surfing brands, the industry.”