THE BLOG
11/26/2010 02:07 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Pro Surfer Stephanie Gilmore on Travel Hits and Misses

At just 22-years-old, Australian surfer Stephanie Gilmore has continued her flawless form this season by winning her fourth ASP World Championship Title at the Rip Curl Search in Puerto Rico. Stephanie has dominated the pro surfing tour since her first win in 2007, winning over 15 events in four years. In person, Gilmore is a comfortable soul with a sprinkle of surprise. She's impressive, inspiring and set for some serious global domination. I grabbed her for a quick interview to get the lowdown on some of her travel hits and misses.

What's the best hotel you've stayed in?
I would have to say it's this spot in Northern Brazil, we stayed in a place called Itacare Bahia, and they have these incredible tree houses on the beach.

Where does a globe trekking pro surfer go for vacation?
I have a couple of my favorite bands playing in New York right now, so If I had to book a flight, I'd probably head for New York and check out some live music, eat at great restaurants, and shop. One of my favorite bands right now is Tame Impala, I'd love to see them.

What's your packing advice?
Keep a peace of mind. I have a list that includes the things I can't travel without, things like my iPod and charges and pack lightly, there's nothing worse than lugging around a heavy suitcase. Just remember wherever you go, I'm sure you'll go shopping, so always be sure to save some room for shopping.

Best meal you've encountered that you still dream about?
I had the most incredible Ceviche in Northern Peru at a restaurant on the beach -- it was in a place called Mancora, I still think about it. Mancora is a few hours from the Ecuador and Peruvian border. The meal took awhile to arrive, because they literally catch the fish and serve it directly from the ocean to your table. It was the best fish, fresh onions, this big corn, which had an interesting, neutral taste; the fresh fish was just amazing.

Do you have a few morsels of travel advice?
Drink a lot of water. I like to eat healthy when traveling, of course it's much easier to grab convenient, pre-packaged foods that are less healthy, but definitely try to seek out some healthy fresh food along the way or your body will pay for it later. Get in there and taste the local cuisine, try different things, you'll build a stronger stomach too! Take advantage of the local scene, which is always more interesting than what's listed in any tourist guidebook

Window or Aisle?
Window. I get my own little corner, put my Bose Noise Canceling headphones on and pretend I am not on a plane.

What was your worst travel experience?
Well anytime I miss a flight, that's a worst. Once I had to sleep outside the Cannes airport on my board bag because the airport wasn't open, I woke up all hot and sweaty, with strangers around me.

What item do you love right now?
A friend gave me this mini electric guitar by Mosrite, it's the size of a ukulele, and it this Smokey Mini Amplifier that's the size of a cigarette box -- I plug in my little amp and I can rock out wherever I am, even at the airport, it's great.

You're currently in the North Shore in Oahu, what are your favorite local spots in Haleiwa?
I love the margaritas at Cholo's, the baked goods at Waialua Bakery are delicious and I shop at Celestial Natural Foods.

I hear you're a budding photographer, what camera do you use?
As I traveled all over the place, I would see so many professional photographers shooting some incredible stuff everywhere I went and finally I realized I should be taking photos too! Now I bring my digital Canon s90 with me for quick, easy, cruising around. I also have a Hasseblad, which I love, it shoots amazing portraits. I always think I know where I am going with it, but I really don't -- I don't really worry about all the settings, I just go for it and end up with some really cool images.

Where should travelers go who are heading to Australia for the first time?
That's a really tough question! They should definitely check out Sydney, it's so iconic with the bridge and the opera house and also a day in Byron Bay which is one of the most beautiful places in the world, stunning beaches this cool hippie vibe. I also love Melbourne; it's such a multicultural city.

If you can only choose one magazine from the airport kiosk, what magazine do you grab?
Vanity Fair is always good; I love seeing who is on the cover.

Stephanie is currently in Haleiwa waiting for the waves to hit 30 feet. Keep up with Steph at
http://stephgilmore.blogspot.com/

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