Wave great Kelly Slater believes record-equalling, seven-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore is already the best ever female surfer.
Surfing icon Kelly Slater says Australia's Stephanie Gilmore doesn't need to win another world title to be the greatest woman in the sport's history - because she already is.
Gilmore won her seventh World Surf League Women's Championship title at the season-ending Maui Pro in November, equalling the record of fellow Australian Layne Beachley.
The 31-year-old said last week there were no plans for retirement, insisting she was "only getting started" with a goal to surf at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
But Slater, the sport's greatest champion with a record 11 World Surf League titles, believes Gilmore has locked up the title of best ever women's surfer.
"I think Steph is the greatest ever female surfer," Slater told AAP at the US PGA Tour's Pebble Beach Pro Am golf tournament.
"She is just awesome; I would not say she is the greatest at everything, but you put it all together and she is a whole other level to where any woman has been in surfing.
"She blends together the aspects of strength and femininity; she's not trying to overdo (training) she's just so stylish."
However 46-year-old Slater joked that Gilmore's haul of seven titles was not as prolific as Beachley's.
"Layne would argue that; because (Gilmore) didn't do it in a row," Slater said at Pebble Beach.
Beachley won six consecutive world titles from 1998, a men's and women's record with Slater claiming five in a row from 1994.
In November, Gilmore played down suggestions that Slater's 11 world titles was a target.
"I hate that question," she said when asked. "I'm just going to lap up seven."