Gabriel Medina Wins The Fiji Pro

The young Brazilian dominated the competition at Cloudbreak

When he woke this morning – presuming he went to bed…he may not have – I’m certain Stuart Gibson never expected to be naked, in a boat, waving a Brazilian flag in front of an indeterminate but significant global audience, but yet there he was. “Gibbo” is the resident photographer/barman on Namotu Island, a Tasmanian, mad, and possibly the most Australian man in the world. And yet here he was, pipe in the breeze, waving the Brazilian flag in support of Gabriel Medina, who was paddling out to surf the Final of the Fiji Pro. An Australian showing such enthusiastic support for a Brazilian surfer is rare. An Australian showing any support for a Brazilian surfer is rare. But Gabriel Medina is a rare surfer.

Gabriel’s foamball-wrestling 9.87 put him out of range of Nat Young, who looked like the only guy capable of getting near him this morning.

Gabriel dominated the Final of the Fiji Pro this morning. His foamball-wrestling 9.87 put him out of range of Nat Young, who looked like the only guy capable of getting near him this morning. After the shock of seeing Stu Gibson swinging in the breeze, Gabriel had taken off waaaay up the reef, past The Ledge and almost down to Vanuatu. Nat followed. They were miles out of position but Gabriel never wants to give up the first wave of the heat and if that means paddling off to New Caledonia then so be it. But he is so comfortable on this reef that it’s hard to believe he only first surfed here four years ago. Nat had been the wave magnet all event, but this morning it was Gabriel in the sweet spot. When asked afterward about where his affinity with the reef comes from, Gabriel replied, “When I’m feeling it, I don’t think about it.”

Gabriel was feeling it all the way back to Namotu Island, where he’s staying. The contest boat followed him back, the PA blaring South Pacific disco, Gabriel standing and sambaing all the way back to the island. The Brazilian flag was flying at the bow of the boat, but Gabriel was flying a few flags today.

His win here today means he leads the ratings by a fair margin, and if he can hang on until December and become the first Brazilian world champ you’ll hear a million Brazilian voices from over the horizon.

He was, of course, surfing for Brazil. There was a lone Brazilian spectator in the channel today in a beaten up ol’ sloop that looked like it had a date with the bottom of the ocean, but he was flying the Brazilian flag on the stern and Gabriel made a point of circling our boat back around to acknowledge him. But Gabriel’s win will be huge news back home, and will even cut through the World Cup noise. His win here today means he leads the ratings by a fair margin, and if he can hang on until December and become the first Brazilian world champ you’ll hear a million Brazilian voices from over the horizon. “There’s never been a Brazilian world champ and this is the chance, so I don’t want to waste it.”

Gabriel was also surfing for Namotu. When we turned up two years ago and he was staying on the island it was an odd cultural billet. Namotu is Australian-owned and over the years has earned a reputation for Aussie surfers going wild in and around the contest. Suddenly here was this young Brazilian upstart, the only Brazilian on the island, in amongst the piracy. But after making the Final that year, Gabriel came back to the island and skolled a ritual Skulldrag (essentially a whole bar in a glass) and partied as hard as any of the Aussies. The Aussies, the Fijians, and the island itself have adopted him ever since. “The Fijian crew are great they always smile and are positive and I feel just like home, I have a family here.” Gabriel is the first Namotu surfer to win the event in 15 years, the last winner being Occy in 1999. Occy went on to win the world title that year.

Ever since he won the first event of the year, the theme has been generational renewal. A decade of 30-and-over dominance is finally being challenged.

But Gabriel was also flying the flag today for his generation. Ever since he won the first event of the year, beating Joel Parkinson at his homebreak of Snapper, the theme has been generational renewal. A decade of 30-and-over dominance is finally being challenged, and while Gabriel’s Snapper win came with a few question marks over it, there was no doubt at all today. He owned it. “It’s great. The new generation is coming…I’m happy to represent my generation but it’s not just me, it’s Kolohe, Nat, they’re all going strong.” Gabriel heads to J-Bay having never surfed it before, and questions are already being raised about whether he’ll be able to surf it. The same questions were asked about him of Cloudbreak two years ago and we all know how that ended up.

Gabriel is still over at the presentation on Tavarua but is due back on Namotu any minute. The Fijians are decorating the place and firing up the barbecue for a big party this afternoon. And Gibbo is back behind the bar – shorts on – preparing Gabriel’s Skulldrag.


2014 ASP Fiji Pro Final Day Results

Semifinal No.1: Nat Young (USA) 14.00 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.10
Semifinal No.2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.50 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.57

Final: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 18.40 def. Nat Young (USA) 14.77

  • RICARDO

    BRAZILIAN STORM

    • norman

      Sorry, it’s Medina storm.

      • James B

        Just like it was always Slater Storm for USA in the last 25 years

      • MichelAngelo BuonaRoti

        Filipe Toledo missed the opportunity to go direct to the QUARTERFINALS because of ONE mistake in the best wave of the heat (and he’s just a kid!). Adriano made the wrong choice letting Kolohe Andino alone catching all the inside waves. And I wouldn’t discard guys like Pupo, Muniz, Jadson, Dantas and others coming from WQS. Brazil never had so many guys in CT events. I would say there’s a kind of “storm” indeed… ;)

  • matt obrien

    Always a Slater fan, but stoked to see group of new blood surfers willing to take the reigns. Not ready to call it a “changing of the gaurd”, but surfing’s pro future looks promising. KS is still in the title mix, and IF the ocean can cooperate for upcoming events, the “old” gaurd just remind these kids whose house it is! Bring on Jbay.
    Congrats Medina, you earned it!!

  • Mik

    Bummed that nat lost, but stoked for Gabriel. Brilliiant surfing; Gabe , Nat and Kolohe were all surfing at a higher faster level than anything I’ve ever seen… And Michel with a power command never seen since Pottz at his peak, in his era. J-Bay is going to be amazing given the talent on Tour!

  • Jonah

    He’s freaking good and got the flow but I don’t like his style, stance or attitude. But he deserved the win this time.

    • Nuts

      Ok for you not to like his style or stance, as these are personal opinions or choices. It is actually surprising to hear a concern about his attitude. Gabriel is such a nice kid, super easy going, very family & friends oriented. So, are you talking about his attitude in heats ? If so, well, he is a tough competitor, yes, but does not play agains the rules or bending them. Just a thought.

    • Daniel

      what’s wrong with his attitude? dude’s super humble and friendly.

    • Leandro

      Your attitude, style and stance are for sure better than his…or maybe not. That’s why you are sitting in your couch giving your opinion about Gabby while his winning CT contests. The kid’s got a crazy talent, commitment and sportsmanship even to have KS talking about his capabilities often.

  • Reilou Teibol

    Bela matéria

  • Leandro

    Great news for an entire nation…we are very proud of the boy, he rips and will be a very tough guy to be beaten all year long…and Mineiro as usual did very well. A pity Kolohe broke in that hit. Peace to all…

  • DGCOVA

    Gabriel Ripped!!!! but, people, stop to say the same thing…..that his game is not only airs!!!!! even though its true!
    JBAY will be awesome!!!!

  • Flavio Marcilio – Boiçucanga

    All brazilian surfers are really proud of you. Thanks to put our brazilian flag on the top !!!

  • Yassine

    Congrats Medina and Brazil. I’ve rarely seen a more dominant win. Maybe Kelly last year in Fiji.

  • Alexandre Melo

    this year is ours ahahahhah. Brazil surfing and football worldchampion blokes :)

  • WRG

    No comments??…………Why???………..The subject do not raise interest for you guys??……………Cry boys, Brazil is comming!!….Fighting like a MMA champ!! Be aware!!

  • Diego

    Great article. Congrats Sean! Medina was surfing for everybody who likes good surf!

  • gtjr

    please god don’t let a Brazilian win the world title please

    • Luciano Predebon

      sorry, our prayers are louder than yours and god now is on our side LOL

    • DonQuarta

      cry baby

  • Luciano Predebon

    As a Brazilian I am stoked and happy with Medina’s victory, not only the win but the way he got there. But, my opinion maybe biased because I support him, however what I saw yesterday and the day before was his total dominance over anyone he surfed against. His contenders were scared to surf against him, Florence seemed like he had frozen in the heat totally paralyzed, almost did not surf. Kolohe threw the towell even before the end of the heat when he surfed a wave in a goofy position, I laughed! Nat after losing the tactical paddle battle started a reaction with a great wave, but seconds after Medina came on fire ripping an excellent wave and all Nat did was look to the horizon hoping Neptune could rescue him. I think it will be really hard to stop him, he is one level above the others technically, but psychology plays an important role on the road to the top, if he focus and controls his emotions one day the title will inevitavbly come to him. Go Medina!!! Brazil is supporting you!!!

  • Marcelo Henning

    BRAZILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • freerider25

    NO CONTESTS=NO PROS=NO EGOS=NO WINNERS OR LOSERS=NO TEENIE BOPPER SURF STAR GROUPIES.

  • ct

    no way that was an 9.8. Pushing the Brazilians through the contests in time for the world cup. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ clever marketing

    • Nuts

      Go to bed, you are dreaming.

    • Gustavo

      Really? Go back up and read the article, or let me makes things clear for you, “foamball wrestling” he was super deep in the biggest wave of the heat. It hurts to see so much hate for brazilians giving the fact the Australians and North Americans are heroes to brazilians, and always have a warm reception any giving time when visiting Brazil. Having opinions like that is no greater than stupid!!

    • Daniel

      so Brazil’s nationwide market is bigger and richer than America’s?

    • Leandro

      Cry out louder you bitch…

  • freerider25

    NO CONTEST=NO PROS=NO EGOS=NO WINNERS OR LOSERS=NO “TEENIE BOPPER SURF STAR GROUPIES”.– That leaves just you and a wave- the way it was meant to be.

  • Alexandre Cobra

    Medina was born to surf. He’s a simply guy with an incredible talent such as Pele and Garrincha. His father has supported him more than a coach or a mentor. As Luciano sad, Medina has the power to frozen his competitors. I hope Medina became our first WC with Slater pushing hard …

  • Daniel

    Cultural clash. Understanding why the average brazilian sport fan behave like the ones who have posted in this thread is a heroic feat. It’s like trying to explain to citizen from a country ruled by dictatorship why Californians in general are open-minded and freedom lovers. Once this is an American publication I think it must suck to see all these overpatriotic comments here. If it were the other way around and one brazilian surf site somehow allowed americans or aussies speak out their minds and come up with aggresive remarks then maybe brazilians would realize how ludicrous their attitude is. So, I wish I could apologize on behalf of my country but I hate collectivism and I guess every single person should respond for their transgressions. That being said, I congratulate Nat on his second place and respectfully foresee Medina as the next world champion.

    • Leandro

      WTF??? country ruled by dictatorship? apologize on behalf of your country? talk for yourself man…and stop saying bullshit…wrote so much to say nothing…

      • Daniel

        Sorry if your reading comprehension is poor and you didn’t understand the comparison I made. Pq alguns brasileiros vem aqui falar em nome do Brasil e jogar comentário arrogante para todo o lado eu disse que eu gostaria de me desculpar ( se eu pudesse) por isso, mas não posso fazer pq nós respondemos por atos individuais quando comentamos não por uma nação inteira. Certamente tu não entendeu o que eu escrevi acima por isso acha que eu não disse nada.

  • freerider25

    Well guys, about 17 positve replies, not sure if thats enough to keep zoo-at-sea afloat. Without dirk ziff, zoosea would probably be almost dead in the water by now. When volcom pulled out as the sponsor of this event, all the prize money is now coming out of ziff’s pocket. Wonder how long he will foot the bill for Harder, Speaker and zoo-at-sea?