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Fit-again Gilmore ready for surf battle

  • Fit-again Gilmore ready for surf battle

    Stephanie Gilmore is preparing herself to take on a strong field in the women's world surfing title.

World surfing's women's field has never been stronger and it's got Stephanie Gilmore pumped ahead of the start to this year's championship.

The Australian will begin her quest for a record-equalling seventh world title this week when the season-opening event on the Gold Coast gets underway.

After a 2015 campaign derailed by a serious knee injury, Gilmore admits she'll come back to the title competition battling a deep pool of talent.

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Defending world champion Carissa Moore, her compatriot Courtney Conlogue and last year's rookie-of-the-year Tatiana Weston-Webb lead the overseas charge.

Closer to home, Australian pair Sally Fitzgibbons and Tyler Wright are also genuine title contenders.

It's a field which surfing legend Layne Beachley has already described as the best in women's surfing history - and Gilmore agrees.

"After watching the girls last year and seeing them really progress I can see them learning really quickly what's working for them, what's not," Gilmore told AAP.

"It'll be a great year and there's a lot of rivalries within the tour, not just at the top.

"Really exciting from the first round all the way through."

Gilmore herself believes she's back to full fitness after the knee injury she suffered at Margaret River last year.

She finished as a runner-up to Fitzgibbons at a tournament in Newcastle last month and can't wait to get back into world tour competition.

"I'd not surfed in so long and I was pretty much a tourist last year, just travelled around so much and wasn't really focusing on getting better," she said.

"It was about building that strength and that's what I've done at the start of this year.

"It feels really good and I can finally paddle out there and not really think about it."

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