France: Final Day

Young Brazilian Gabriel Medina takes out Julian Wilson in an all-rookie final

| posted on October 12, 2011

No one had any doubts about Medina's talent, but an event win this early in the game is huge for the young Brazilian. Photo courtesy of the ASP

The beauty of surfing is that the ocean is always changing. And with that change, the surfers best suited, or not suited, for the conditions rise and fall. For instance, one of the worst surfers on the first day, Gabriel Medina, became the standout and eventual winner when he suckered Julian into a horrible wave and then a perfect left appeared for him just in the nick of time. During this competition—as is the case with most—the waves, wind, and momentum quickly changed from favoring one group/style of surfers to another. And nobody was better suited to the changes than Medina.

When presented with his favorite conditions—lefts into the wind with crumbly lips—Gabriel sees no section he doesn’t have the perfect move for. Gabriel may have no chance at the world title this year since his One World Rankings points from Prime and Star events don’t carry over to the World Title race (strange how the system benefits guys already on the WT, with their points carrying over from WT events to the qualifying race of the Primes and Stars however), but what he has done, by destroying Kelly in the Quarters, is left a glimmer of hope for Owen Wright. Owen can potentially rebound from the worst-surfed heat I’ve witnessed from him (a severe thrashing at the hands of what looked to be Jordy Smith at about 75 percent of his ability). Kelly, theoretically, may not have been able to get past the best surfer over the last two events, Julian Wilson, if they had met in the Final. But if Kelly had finished second here, then Owen would have surely been left in the dust—just as Taj, Mick, Parko, Jordy, and anyone else who may fancy themselves a world title-contender has fared this year when pressed to keep up with Kelly.

Looking at the charts and listening to Kelly talk about next week’s comp in Portugal, we may see the pendulum swing back in favor of Kelly and Owen in the thumping barrels of Supertubes. We should also get a chance to see Medina show us his ability to ride the tube as well as he rides above the lip. Only a few days before all the action and drama begins again. Should I put Gabriel back on my Fantasy Surfer team for Portugal? It was definitely a mistake to take him off my team on the first day here.

  • Danny

    I told you Shea, as soon as you took him off! lol

    For me the best thing of Gabriel’s victory was Snake have a taste of his own venom. That was a beauty “right Spencs”!?

    BTW, great article as usual. You and Pottz are one of the few guys that is worth read/listen.

  • http://capixabafeelings.blogspot João Paulo Lyrio Izoton

    so he was lucky, that´s what you sayin? tsc

  • Daniel

    What a crappy article. The boy is unreal and you truly sound that he only won because all factors came together and somehow favored him. You also talk more about predictions and “ifs” than Gabriel’s performance which was nothing but brilliant.

  • Fishboard Twin

    Dane made ​​the tour worth watching. Today Medina did the same. I’m glad there are surfers like him.
    I´ll put Medina on my Fantasy Surfer team because he is such a great barrel rider. However John John and Slater will be at the top of the list.
    Despite the biased judged, One World Rankings etc the future of surfing seems well assured in the hands of the rookies. And soon we will see Kolohe Andino, Peterson Crisanto, Conner Coffin, Caio Ibelli, among others. What a bright future lies ahead surfing.

  • Bruno

    What you all don´t know is that Medina is from Maresias, one of the best barrel waves in Brazil, and he´ll about to show his skills in the barrel very soon. The kid´s got it all!

  • Henry

    He is only 17 years old, many things to improve, made a horrible mistake in the final that could turn an interference against him…bla bla bla

    But lets be honest, he won twice from Kelly in this event(KS didn’t need that), you clearly see his surf improving from contest to contest. He has the ability to make crazy tricks seems like trivial turns, easy and simple (like Iron used to do).

    Shea you’re in denial yet! You’re biased by the fact none of the Kelly’s replacements are coming even close to what this kid is doing. Is time to admit that a storm is coming and surely Medina will become( soon) a dominant force in the WT.

  • Major Pain

    Respect For Brazil: When Rob Machado is not in The Line – up,” I am always hanging – out with “Da Boyz From Brazil.” Consequently, I am NOT surprised regarding Medina’s Performance. Perhaps, with Pupo‘s Performance at The 2011 Nike Pro, Toledo‘s Performance at the 2011 Nike US Open, “Cyborg” Alves’ Performance at The 2011 Hurley Pro, and now Medina’s Performance in France, FINALLY Brazilians will Publicly – Receive The Respect which They have already Earned…., Now, please excuse me; I have to get back at Drooling at ESPN Photographs of Stephanie Gilmore and Gretchen Bleiler (Dayum !!!!)

  • shea

    For anyone that thinks I’m not a fan of Medina’s surfing, that couldn’t be further from the truth. He is the best young surfer in the world right now and a very real threat next week in Portugal. Here’s an excerpt straight from the above piece from me: “We should also get a chance to see Medina show us his ability to ride the tube as well as he rides above the lip.” I’ve seen him get seriously barreled before and was letting people know he’s a very good tube rider as well. Don’t be so sensitive people.

  • Luis Carvalho

    Well Shea, at least you can say everyone is doing pretty much the same: trying to find excuses for Medina´s victory (Surfline’s article was all time).
    Same happened with Jadson´s a while ago.
    We could all remember that Medina would have beaten Kelly surfing only the rights.
    The conditions that suits him is good waves.
    Hollow, fat, rights or lefts, he is ripping. He came second to Julian on a right point-break (smashing JJ Florence on the way to the final).
    He also did good at Ballito (in some of the most amazing waves of the year, second only to Teahupoo, in my view).
    Just hope Pupo wins the next one as he is almost in the same level of Medina.

  • Danny

    I’m brazilian and have to admit that brazilians are so passionate that sometimes over reacted. As I said in the first comment here, I think the article is right on. I mean Shea says that Gab could even win a world title next year! What statement more do you guys need?

    And the guy blasting Kelly ‘cos he said that “I think he surfed well, but I did not really see anything form the line up”. Well, after Kelly said that Gabriel will win multiple world titles.



  • jeff

    I wonder what would happen if Dane actually displayed some of the passion and dedication we’ve seen from this young Brazilian?

  • Danny

    You guys got to know who to pay attention in the Surf media. Example: Snake Patterson proved to be a complete racist moron. Pottz on the other hand, as Shea, very down to earth and non biased. Not every every american/australian media are biased and/or racist. This Mag is. Shea not

  • chris

    Something heavy went down today, very heavy. I wish Derk Hynd was still involved in the pro tour, he would write an insane article. Shift of powers, changing of the guard, …… The Brazilian Juggernaut is coming whether you like it or not and our boys are making designer towels instead of manning up…. Shame.. shame….

  • Danny

    That’s a good question Jeff. I thought about that a couple of times. But not comparing this 2 surfers.

    First if all I don’t waste a lot of time on Dane…don’t get me wrong, he’s an amazing talent. But I just don’t have patience to the whole “too cool for school” of Dane that people buy it. I’m sure he would love be world champion (Jordy said that once) but you have to commit for that, for more talented you are, and commit is not cool.

    But, to your question I’ve already thought about it comparing Adriano and Taj…Adriano is crazy talented, but he’s not in the same league as Taj or Medina for example. But he’s crazy committed and strong mentally. I’m pretty sure that If Taj was more like Adriano in these 2 features he would be at least once world champion by now

  • Macca

    Does anyone else think that a perfect 10 should never be given for a wave with only one manoeuvre completed?

    I’m just interested to see what everyone thinks.

  • ricardo

    of course he has to prove their skills on the wave and not only in the air, and i bet that he will over the time, but more important is a new era of surfing, not changing from “on the water” til the air, but a combo of both, i don”t want to see him go fast and fast to jump, but go bottom to top and fly when the lip calls !!!!!

  • mike

    glad Medina won….seeing as he got robbed in that heat with slater……i m not a huge fan on non-power surfing , and tail flicks…but when the conditions call for is neccesary to win…that being said…Medina rips….and would crush all his critics in the water…..kid is 17…..won his second comp on ASP tour…even slater can t claim that

  • jose

    Shea thanks for the commentary. But shoots…. I guess you have to throw the Dane (best surfer in the world) comment out the window. Looking forward to your next article. The new guard is now.

  • mike

    why is dane considered the best surfer in the world? because he does sick snaps in 3 foot surf? airs in 3 foot surf? never ever seen Dane pack a 10 ft chopes barrel…or even 10 foot pipe….doesnt surf mavs, doesnt surf macking puerto…….just wondering…i mean obviously he rips and i consider top 10 in the world…but the best…im calling that a stretch…maybe the best in small surf

  • http://capixabafeelings.blogspot João Paulo Lyrio Izoton

    competition ruins surfing. here we are, talking about 0,0001% of world surfers, as they were our brothers. they´re not. they sell thing to their sponsors. to us. neither of them – surfers or sponsors – are interesting about keep the lifestyle. just keep surfin´ that´s what should be all about.
    but it isn´t. and is very sad that the moment when brazilian surfers reach the top happens just at the time when all the surf industry is colapsin. here are all of us, bangin heads while the corporations decides the next marketin moves, the next magazine articles, the next competition arena. the economy all around the world is colapsing. except in the bric world. now, the tour “looks” at brazil not as a great surf country (as brazil really is!), but a huge market to be explored. everyone sees it. that´s why aussies got mad, that´s why americans got mad. ´cause when they finnaly decides that the tour model is getting over, an entire surf nation – and Brasil is a surf nation – got a role in the tour play.
    just sad that this happens this way.

  • Luiz

    Macca… They gave it to Kely (a 10) for a one manoeuvre in NY. Why not give it to Medina?

  • Bushy

    Great article, but just for a giggle, can you or someone else write it over but assume the conditions hadn’t changed and Taylor Knox had won, which what I was hoping for?

  • leave britney alone

    How fucking dare anyone out there make fun of Dane after all he has been through.!

    HE’S A HUMAN! (ah! ooh!) What you don’t realize is that Dane is making you all this money and all you do is write a bunch of crap about him.

    LEAVE HIM ALONE! You are lucky he even performed for you BASTARDS!
    LEAVE HIM ALONE!…..Please.

    Perez Hilton talked about professionalism and said if Dane was a professional he would’ve pulled it off no matter what.

    Speaking of professionalism, when is it professional to publicly bash someone who is going through a hard time.

    Anyone that has a problem with him you deal with me, because he is not well right now.


  • Whamo

    Surfing has turned into entertainment for a sports audience. These skateboard moves in small surf have little to do with functional surfing. I like Dane’s attitude and surfing, but he does seem to avoid the bombs. So to call him the best in the world is a stretch. On the other hand, the guys and girls riding Chopes and Cloudbreak have pushed surfing to a higher level than its ever been. High fives to them.

  • dgcova

    even though the judges tried to stole for Kelly, Medina showed the NEW Braziliian charge!!!! It s not only him, but Alejo, Adriano, Pupo, Ibeli and Crisanto…..stay care for this guys folks…….it’s the next generation putting Brazil at the top…..they’re already able to surf the chopes and the bombs too……because they were prepared in the best waves around the world, what were missing for brazos…….
    Congrat Snake for your SHITMOUTH……i think you are in silence now……bastard!

  • David

    This kid is going away, aged just 17 is kicking ass in this way, a few years, will be a big name in world surfing.

  • Marcelo

    MEDINA AND ALEJO ARE THE DEAL, THE other brazos don´t have style, don´t have english and claim too much, and I am brazilian..

  • Fabio

    Just a tip for your fantasy. Gabriel may not be ready for big Pipe, but he grow up at one of the best waves in Brasil, and knows how to ride barrels for sure.
    But for Supertubes Raoni is the best bet from Brasil.

  • Trombone

    Sorry Shea, but I couldn’t read pass the second line.

    If you want to say Ranzy, Davo, Kieren Perrow, Dusty, or even Kerr, Daniel Ross and Pat G were one of the worst surfers of the first day, I’m ok with that.

    But Bede, Kai Otton, Medina, Lacomare, Pupo, Parko with final scores 2 or even 3 times higher than those guys? No! You can’t put them on the same group. Unless you deliberately want to talk crap about a specific surfer instead of recognizing the herculean achievement he’s just done.

    You fucking blotted your copybook mate!

    And Danny, take your hands off of Shea’s balls, will ya?

  • Macca

    Luiz I am questioning giving a perfect ten for one manoeuvre in any scenario. Not just this contest, I am also talking about Kelly’s and any other contest you have seen it in. I am not sure what part of my question made you think I was specifically talking about Medina’s perfect 10. As Shea said please stop being so sensitive.

    My reasoning behind the question was I just don’t see how doing one monouvre can be consider a perfectly ridden wave?If the wave only allows for one move it still should now be a 10, what do you score someone that in the same heat pulls a move as good as the one just made but then goes on to pull another ridiculous move later in the wave? (obvioulsy a 10 but do you see what im getting at?) I do however understand it from a barrel riding perspective.

  • matt

    I think that Medina deserved to win %100.
    Does anyone else think that it looked like Kelly threw the quarters?
    I haven’t seen him surf that badly in years.
    Maybe he was feeling bad about his round 4 scores against Medina.
    (Once again, I am in NO way saying Medina didn’t deserve or was given the win. so please don’t heap me with hate. I’m just curious)

  • To leave britney alone

    LOL… Classic!

  • Trombone

    I agree with Macca, it’s just nonsense where the judges are going with scoring right now. A single insane air should be a 8.5, 8,8 max.
    If they keep judging this way eventually one day the shit will hit the fan, in other words, (like Macca kinda of said) someone in the same heat will pull a move as good as the one just made but then will go on to pull another or even 2 more ridiculous moves later in the wave and then… ?

  • Luiz Freire

    Everything came together, brilliant performance, congratulations Gabriel. Now wake me up for the Triple Crown in Hawaii with real hawaiian waves.

  • Guga

    Guys, Gabriel born in Maresias. Wanna see the power of this beach?

  • Junior

    I also agree with Macca, only one manoeuvre doesn’t deverses a perfect 10

  • Matt O’Brien

    YO João Paulo Lyrio Izoton, if it such a waste of time (i.e. about 0,0001% of world surfers) why do You bother to waste your time commenting on a board about such trivial $#!T? You are the who seems to be wasting time – we are talking about this because we care and we devote time to it – you know waste or time caring about 0,0001% of world surfers. You dig where Im coming from. good day….

    p.s. Thank YOU Danny for some balance regarding Brazilians and the rest of the “surf” world. I am from the USA and can’t stand any of the “racist” crying from ALL SIDES.

    I will say – I find it funny that when a Brazilian wins, there is no crying “foul judging”, “racist calls” or “ASP can’t get anything right”, yet if they lose all hell breaks loose! funny funny funny
    p.s. great insight as usually Mr. Lopez.
    cheers all…

  • zeno malan

    Maresias look heavy. Unreal footage! Gracias.

  • Carioca

    viva os brasileiros!!