The sting of second place will be the driver when six-time world surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore begins her season at Snapper Rocks on Sunday.
Gilmore was narrowly denied last year's crown by good mate Tyler Wright and admits she isn't sure how to stop her from making it three World Surf League crowns in a row.
At 23, Wright has matured to become a force on tour and revealed to AAP last week she had reintroduced ballet lessons into her repertoire in an effort to improve her movement and stay ahead of the pack this season.
Wright is over the knee injury she surfed through to win last year's title and for the first time has completed a proper preseason under coach Glenn Hall.
Hawaii's three-time world champion Carissa Moore and Australian Sally Fitzgibbons will also be in the mix, while fellow American Courtney Conlogue will need to recover lost ground after a foot injury ruled her out of the Roxy Pro.
All of them stand in the way of Gilmore levelling with Layne Beachley's record of seven world titles.
But the 30-year-old, a six-time champion at Coolangatta's Roxy Pro, knows her best is good enough to get a headstart in what is tipped to be another tight series.
"Coming second was a really good motivation to do everything that you can in your power - train harder, surf more, do what you need to do to win," she said on Thursday.
"A single heat, maybe even a single wave, was all it was between me and another world title.
"It's crushing and it was tough, but that's a rivalry I love."
This year's tweaked 10-stop women's program includes a Bali leg to replace Fiji, while the women will join the men at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa.
An artificial wave at Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch in central California will be introduced to the tour for the first time in round 8, while the 2020 Olympics is also on the radar.
It all sits well with Gilmore, who had goosebumps watching the recent Winter Olympics in South Korea.
"I was so inspired; to watch the TV and feel the nerves of these athletes, to have that experience to go to the Olympics and try and win a gold medal, I'd love that," she said.
"And of course, if I was to catch Layne (with a seventh title) I'd have to overtake her, I can't just stop there."
Australian Associated Press