Stephanie Gilmore was born and raised in New South Wales, Australia, and has become one of the most accomplished surfers in the world, winning 5 consecutive ASP Women’s World titles -- the only surfer to take the title in her rookie year. She plays both acoustic and electric guitar, including her vintage Fender Strat. She is an ambassador for both Quiksilver and Nikon, and is an avid photographer. Stephanie’s philanthropic work includes Australia’s youth-focused Black Dog Foundation, through which she sponsors 2 children in Kenya and Ethiopia, and the Couer de Foret project, in which she helps build sustainable villages in the Casamance region of Senegal. When she’s not surfing, she loves, “traveling like a gypsy, watching live music and meeting people from many different walks of life.” On her first trip to Texas, she attended the Austin City Limits music festival. Follow her on Twitter @Steph_gilmore.
The best way to travel here is: I flew in from NYC only because timing was tight. If I had a spare week, I would have flown to New Orleans and driven across the South.
I stayed at: Hotel San Jose. A sweet and funky indie place, with all the necessities. Great mini bar full of local treats, quiet and cozy on South Congress, the best street in town, and walking-distance to the festival grounds. I wish I had more time to hang by the pool.
When it comes to packing, be sure to bring: Favorite black jeans and favorite black T-shirt. That way you are set for all occasions.
The best thing I ate was: Southern-style honey fried chicken with garlic mash and creamy mushroom sauce. A midnight, Texan snack at the Driskill Hotel with the ghosts.
The best performance I saw was: Three really stood out. Band of Skulls. Jack White and his all-female set -- he is a rare talent who, live, stands in a world of his own against his 21st century peers. And of course DJ Tito Cruz who set the after-party beats on fire.
I wish I hadn't: Forgotten waterproof mascara, I looked like a Frankenweenie character after the rain poured during the band of skulls set.
Don't miss: Austin Vintage Guitar shop and Annie's street, a little white house with a patisserie. Try the chicken salad sandwich (served on a homemade croissant).
Next time I will definitely: Take my time, hire a bike and ride the back streets. My favorite part of the festival was: Local Austin Vodka called Tito's.
My advice would be: The crowds seem pretty mellow so definitely give it a go to squeeze up front toward the stage to watch your favorite band. Bring a hat!!
Austin City Limits is different from other music festivals because: It's in Austin, and that fact alone makes it worthy of a trip. The music is just icing on the cake.