World surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore still believes she can defend her crown despite the knee injury that’s sidelined her for two months.
Gilmore has been forced to miss this month’s Fiji Open after sitting out the Rio Pro because she injured her knee during a free surf at the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia in April.
The six-time world champion says she did all she could to make this week’s event at Cloudbreak but had to listen to her body.
It means Gilmore, who was fourth in the rankings and over 13,000 points behind championship leader Carissa Moore heading into Fiji, has just six events to overhaul the American and defend the title.
Sitting out Fiji also means her ninth-place finish at Margaret River will now have to be part of her championship haul with the absences in Rio and Fiji to be her two throwaway rounds for the year.
“It means I’ll have to count the round four at Margaret … it’ll be pretty difficult but anything’s possible and obviously with Carissa losing early in Brazil and Sally (Fitzgibbons) as well, it’s left the door open,” Gilmore told AAP.
“Courtney (Conlogue) is definitely going to be a strong one but, yeah, I’m not completely counting myself out.
“I’ll still compete the rest of the tour and we’ll have to wait and see.”
Gilmore said she still can’t fully move her injured leg but is hopeful of a return to surfing in two weeks or so.
With the next stop on the world tour being the US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach starting on July 27, Gilmore is confident she’ll be back competing at that event.
“I’ve got a bit of time up my sleeve,” Gilmore said.
“I’m just doing everything that I can. Working with the physios, just doing the rehab that I need to make sure my muscles aren’t getting overused or other parts of my body aren’t trying to compensate, stuff like that.
“It’s about doing simple things. The doctors seem to think that it’s probably another two weeks and I should be good to go for a surf and get into it.
“It’s not like you forget how to surf … it’s just a matter of staying positive really.”