An Unfortunate Update On The Medina Situation - Stab Mag

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Will he stay or will he go (to Portugal)? Photo: WSL/Nolan

An Unfortunate Update On The Medina Situation

Gabby fans, cover your ears.

news // Feb 25, 2022
Words by Michael Ciaramella
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Earlier this week, Stab received a hot tip that Gabriel Medina had ordered a fresh batch of boards from his Spanish-based shaper, Johnny Cabianca, just 10 days before the Portugal CT.

Armed with this info, plus some juicy workout videos posted to his IG, we made an educated guess that Medina would end his indefinite leave and return to WSL competition at Supertubos.

Well, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Not only is Medina’s name missing from the Portugal heat draw, but the WSL confirmed in a recent press release that the 3x World Champ would be replaced by Barron Mamiya in the upcoming MEO Pro.

We love Barron, but also, sad face.

Heats 10 and 12 have our attention.

Also missing from next week’s heat draw are Carlos Muñoz, Liam O’Brien, and Yago Dora, all of whom remain injured (shoulder, ankle, foot respectively).

These four full-time abstentions, combined with the two WSL wildcards that exist in every men’s CT, leave six spots open for the Portugal event. They will be filled by:

– Barron Mamiya (Sunset winner, current world number one, will probably have a wildcard through Margaret’s, after which point he’ll have a full-time spot on tour)
– Caio Ibelli (Placed third at the first two events, currently number four in the world, like Barron has earned enough points to qualify at the mid-year cut)
– Matthew McGillivray (didn’t do especially well at Pipe or Sunset, but as the first surfer outside the cutline of the 2021 Championship Tour, he has certain privileges)
– Vasco Ribeiro (highest ranked Portuguese surfer on the CS, has taken down big names in previous iterations of the Portugal CT)
– Justin Becret (WSL event wildcard)
– Afonso Antunes (MEO sponsor wildcard)

The women’s draw is perhaps even more interesting.

Caroline Marks is still out on personal leave, and she will be replaced by Australia’s Bronte Macaulay. The WSL’s single event wildcard will go to Tia Blanco, as part of her Ultimate Surfer prize package.

A noteworthy omission from the draw is Pipeline winner and current world #3, Moana Jones, who put up a hell of a fight at Sunset but was given short shrift by the judges. What a difference an event makes.

If you’re going off last year’s standings, Moana could earn her spot onto the tour by amassing roughly 14,000 points by Margaret River — that means she’d just need to show up to two of the three remaining events before the mid-year cut and make one heat to find herself on the back half of the tour.

It’s worth noting that, according to her Instagram story, Moana is currently somewhere cool, dry, and cliffy — to our eye, probably California — and is wearing a full suit for “the first time in six years”. This primes us to think that she could be gearing up for competition in some cool-water locale — if not Portugal, perhaps Bells and/or Margarets.

For fairness’ sake, let’s hope the WSL gives her the chance she deserves.

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