Stephanie Gilmore doesn’t have time for jet lag. Winning her sixth surfing world title has been keeping her too busy for that sort of thing.
The Australian riding atop the surfing world tells Edge that immediately falling into the routine of a regular day—at whichever time she arrives at a new destination—helps her to adjust. “I don’t really believe in jet lag—that’s what I tell myself anyway—it is all in your head,” Gilmore says. “When I take off, I set my mind to the time of my destination and work from there. I guess I travel so frequently that I'm just used to it.”
While the 26-year-old surfer may be accustomed to travel fatigue—drinking tons of water is an extra tip—and to winning surfing titles, getting used to packing never gets easy.
With trips varying in length anywhere from five days to three months for a surfer, Gilmore figures she averages a month gone per trip. And usually she has to make three stops before returning home, “which can make packing a nightmare.”
She believes in the quality-over-quantity rule of packing, picking one color scheme for her clothing and sticking with it. Of course, for an athlete rocking Roxy bikinis by day and evening wear by night, that can get dicey. But to make up for the range of attire needed, Gilmore says she clears room in her bag by tossing heels and jackets into her board bag. Of course, all tricks and rules also get tossed when climates get mixed.
“The most difficult trips are those that go from tropical surf [locales] that only require bikinis and then onto a winter city,” she says, noting the weight and heft of a wetsuit. “Variation of climate kills the packing process.”
Gilmore’s board bags can take six boards at a time, but even with the popularity of surfing, she still struggles with airlines. “It has always baffled me that airline policies allow golf clubs and snowboards to travel for free, but surfboards are charged,” she says. “Some airlines simply won’t let us take them.”
Along with the needed range of clothes, Gilmore’s must-haves include sun protection and different body creams, her Roxy bikinis and board shorts and her mix of Nikon cameras and lenses “to document the crazy beautiful corners of the globe I’m lucky enough to see.”
Once on the ground, after adjusting to the new time of day, Gilmore says she keeps a tight diet. While she tries to eat local delicacies—one of her favorite things when traveling—both to “eat local and in season” to reduce her footprint and get the highest nutritional value, she has some supplemental nutrition along for the ride.
Gilmore brings chlorophyll drops and a daily “super greens” power to keep her vitamin intake regular.
While she watches her diet closely and varies her meals based on her location, she does the same with workouts. If Gilmore finds herself near a beach, she surfs a couple of times a day for her workout. In a city? Find the hotel gym.
“When I have time away from the beach I like to stretch a lot and give my body a rest,” she says.
Since she spends so much time at the beach for competition and working out, when she doesn’t have to be “coastal,” Gilmore isn’t. Her different personal projects take her to major cities around the world and she loves adding in a few days to stay and just hang out.
“I find it balancing to be landlocked for moments,” she says. “It helps me miss the beach, which is a nice feeling.” Plus, she adores the opportunity to take in the culture of where she is.
Sometimes, though, Gilmore needs a little downtime when on the road. She tends to travel with a guitar or ukulele. Conducting the interview from Hawaii, Gilmore says playing on instruments helps when the waves prove terrible, which they had done that day. If she has no waves, Gilmore will take to music, reading books, playing golf with friends or hitting the cafes, restaurants and galleries of the area.
If the waves prove stellar? She doesn’t tire of the water. Gilmore may have no time for jet lag, but she always has time for waves.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.
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