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July 30, 2014

Breaking Waves With Stephanie Gilmore

A Career-Spanning 16mm Documentary on Surfing’s Leading Lady

Surf enthusiast Ava Warbick was in Honolua, Hawaii, in 2007 when she first caught word of Stephanie Gilmore, the first ever rookie to win the Women’s World Championship. Gripped by Gilmore’s consummate skill and poise, the aspiring filmmaker looked to her father, Doug “Claw” Warbrick (founder of surf brand Rip Curl), for pointers, and gained unbridled access to the Australian for three years. The resulting documentary, Stephanie in the Water, released this month, sheds light on the pro surfer’s beginnings at the age of 21 through to her prolific rise to become a five-time world champion, and the pressure to stay at the top of the sport. “Stephanie is radiant and grounded and illustrates true poise,” says Warbick, who captured Gilmore’s elegant swan dive kick-outs in locations that included Micronesia and Puerto Rico. “I was interested in what allows someone to perform and stay present at that elite level,” she adds. Collaborating with an all-female production team, the director completed her debut with an original score from Brooklyn-based producers Fall on Your Sword. Here, Gilmore shares her favorite warm-up music and Diana Vreeland’s timeless bikini advice. 

Who have been some of the women to inspire you over the years?
Stephanie Gilmore: [fellow pro surfers] Lisa Andersen and Kelia Moniz, for they are beauty on a wave. I admire Maria Sharapova's ambition and what she has done for the athletic female image and equality in sport.

You ultimate surf music? 
SG:
Tame Impala is great surf music, Daft Punk just makes me want to party on the wave. And if I'm ever needing to get in the mood to paddle out, I listen to “Sunny" by Marvin Gaye.

One thing we'd be surprised to know about you?
SG:
My pre-heat warm-up song is "100% Pure Love" by Crystal Waters.

Any secret talents?
SG:
I will beat you in table tennis.

You've cited Rihanna as a style icon––what's the most glamorous surf get-up you own? 
SG:
As Diana Vreeland said: “The bikini is the most important thing since the Atom bomb." I guess my whole wardrobe is pretty glamorous.

Stephanie in the Water is available August 5 on iTunes.

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Testing the Olympic Waters

Previewing Zaha Hadid’s New Aquatics Center at the FINA Diving World Cup

Photographer Andrew Woffinden captures the charged rehearsals for FINA’s Diving World Cup at architect Zaha Hadid’s sweeping modernist vision, the new London Aquatics Center. A regular contributor to GQ, Elle and TANK Magazine, Woffinden turned his lens on the 250 divers from 40 different countries perfecting their somersaults and twists from the 10m-high boards. “The space is absolutely gorgeous,” says Woffinder of the Pritzker Prize-winning architect’s epic 17,500-capacity creation. “It beautifully sweeps up like Manta Ray wings.” By the time the championships climax on Sunday with the platform dive-off, there will already have been seven days of pool time, with heats in synchronized and single diving featuring some of the most exciting athletes in the sport today, such as Australia’s 2008 Olympic 10m platform gold medalist Matthew Mitcham and Britain’s high-profile Tom Daley. But it was Team China who dominated the competition’s early stages with partners Qin Kai and Luo Yutong taking gold at the men’s synchronized 3m springboard, and Chen Ruolin winning the Women’s 10m platform. Diving at the Summer Olympics is scheduled to take place from July 29 through August 11.

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Spotlight

A New Math Guide to the Olympics

Wordsmith Craig Damrauer Reworks the Sporting Lexicon of the London Games

Table tennis, discus and beach volleyball are cheekily redefined in artist and writer Craig Damrauer's series of epigrammatic Olympic equations, animated by Matt Thomas. Playing off a life-long fascination with the underlying simplicity of mathematical explanations, Damrauer started his New Math series in 2002, setting out to write formulas for everything from modern art and camping to love and boredom. Since then, his work has appeared in The New York Times, on Casey Caplowe’s design culture website GOOD, and featured as an ongoing series in The Atlantic. “I tend to analyze the world in metaphor and the New Math process is an extension of that—an exercise in metaphorical defining,” explains Damrauer. Previously showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), the artist is currently working on an essay project with online gallery and print retailer 20x200 due out this fall, and an art project called “Toward a Conversation with Trees,” which uses sensors to gather the spatial data of branches blowing in the wind. Having recently traded Brooklyn for New Orleans, Damrauer is enjoying watching the Olympic diving, soccer and track events at his local bar. “We don’t have TV,” he explains, “but it’s better that way, I think, because at the bar there will be other people and they have more beer.”

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