design forum

What He Rode: Gabriel Medina

Johnny Cabianca breaks down Gabriel Medina's winning Teahupoo board

| posted on August 29, 2014
Medina and his winning sled. Photo: Thouard

Medina and his winning sled. Photo: Thouard

HEIGHT: 5’11” (180 cm)
WEIGHT: 164 lbs (74.4 kg)

SHAPER: Johnny Cabianca
LENGTH: 6’4″
WIDTH: 18 3/4″
NOSE WIDTH: 12 3/8″
TAIL WIDTH: 13 5/8″
TAIL ROCKER: 2 7/16″
TAIL: Thumb
CONCAVE: Full single throughout
GLASSING: Single 4 oz. bottom, double 4 oz. deck (E-glass)

FINS: FCS Performer II
BASE: 4.48″ (114mm)
DEPTH: 4.67″ (118mm)
AREA: 15.58″² (10054mm²)
SWEEP: 33.7º
FOIL: Inside

What was the model that Gabriel rode during the final in Tahiti?
His normal DFK (da freak kid) model with some adaptations for Tahiti. In some heats he was using a 6’2″ or 6’3″, but always the same model and same dimensions besides length.

How many boards did you make him for Tahiti?
We prepared 22 boards for Tahiti and Lowers. Gabriel had 12 of those with him in Tahiti, and the rest are waiting for him back in California for the Trestles event.

According to the webcast commentators, Gabriel was riding thicker, wider boards than most of the other competitors. What is the advantage of that?
Well, the webcast isn’t always correct with their information about the surfers’ board dimensions, or at least Gabriel’s. I don’t believe his boards are especially thick or wide for waves of that size. That said, the board that he rode in the final is very unconventional. The boards I make for Gabriel have a lot of subtle details to help him be comfortable in every type of wave. Gabriel’s talent is obviously the most important factor, but the boards needs to complement that talent.

Has Gabriel ever surfed waves like that before, or was this a trial by fire?
There aren’t too many waves in the world you can call similar to Teahupoo, especially at that size. But it was his third time competing there, and he’s already proven himself in big, powerful waves on the North Shore and Fiji. Gabriel is from Maresias, which is good training ground for hollow and powerful waves. But of course nothing to be compared with the conditions during the finals in Tahiti.

  • Lau Tri

    that sounds quite small boards for that size of waves and his size…

  • bill555

    I really
    don’t get the objective of these “what they rode” articles. They’re pros and
    they ride whatever they feel will help them win the contest. What they ride is irrelevant
    to us non-pros… does any non-pro really think they would paddle into 8ft Teauhupoo
    on a 6’4? 18 ¾ is wider than usual? Haha. Or a 5’8 (or whatever length Kelly
    rode) at Pipe. Perhaps the mags have run out of ideas and start drilling down to
    nonsensical topics.

    • Luciano Sarinho

      Thanks to manage to write down what many of us, normal surfers have been thinking about those articles, at least me. Why we really need to know the exact measures of board that a pro surfer rode in those “I will never have the chance (or talent) to surf those waves” conditions? Besides, the mags should do a break down in those “average joe´s surfboards” such as the shred show guy is doing on youtube, to be more precise why we need to know so much about the surfboards? I would compare having a article of those F1 cars for a average driver. Those guys go to an event with 10 boards! how much would cost that cost for us? I just want surf! By all means I don´t want to discredit the talent of the surfers or shapers by expressing my opinion.

      • Jeff

        Shred Show is cool and shows a lot of different boards/fins, but a good review should shows the product in use. Shred Show completely misses the mark in that way. IMO, Timmy Curran did a much better board review.

        We saw Gabe do his thing at Teahupoo and it’s interesting (to me at least) to hear from his shaper and get some insight.

        • Luciano Sarinho

          Thanks, I will check IMO and TCurran. Due to the curiosity I also want to know what the pros ride, but let´s quote the text: “…His normal DFK (da freak kid) model with some adaptations for Tahiti.” what that means? My point here is yes, I want to know if it is a quad, tri-fin, swallow, v-bottom or whatever works for those kind of waves, specially coz the shaper will never reveal his secret ingredient of his recipe. I guess otherwise it is only specs. Aloha!

    • flashorton

      It’s a classic topic. Pros represent the cutting edge of the sport, and their equipment likewise. Regardless of what it is, your non-pro board probably started out as new technology surfed by a pro and featured in a story in a surf mag.

    • brazzo

      I’m not a pro and find these articles super interesting and relevant – what equipment the best are using to push the limits… what I don’t get is someone like you taking your time to complain about it…

      • bill555

        because my preference is to read articles that i feel would be more relevant to me versus these types of articles. in what way do you find it relevant to you? will your next board have similar dims? do you ride slabs on a regular basis, thus, knowing what a pro rides will help you with your next shape?

  • bill555

    you obviously didn’t understand my comment. perhaps your last two words applies to yourself, which accounts for your employment status.

    • Dirty Mike

      your comment is just a well written version of ” I don’t like what I’m reading and this is not ok”
      Nobody here gives a fuck about bill555’s opinions on what they should ride and surfermag won’t give a fuck that you don’t like this article, so why are you here?
      Close the door on your way out