Breaking: Gabriel Medina Is Back
Three-time world champ gets a season wildcard for back half of the year. And yes, he can get into the WSL Finals.
The WSL announced today that three-time world champion Gabriel Medina will be granted a 2022 season wildcard for the second half of the men’s Championship Tour, which gets him into all five remaining events this season and gives him an outside shot at joining the top five and winning another title at the WSL Finals at Lower Trestles.
“Gabriel Medina will officially be the men’s WSL Season wildcard for all competitions following the Mid-season Cut, starting with the Quiksilver Pro G-Land,” Renato Hickel, WSL Director of Tours and Competition, said in a statement. “With this wildcard, Gabriel will be eligible to qualify for the WSL Final 5, and he will also receive a spot in the 2023 CT season. We still have more wildcards to be determined: one more men’s WSL season wildcard for the 2023 season, the women’s 2022 WSL season wildcard following the Mid-season Cut, the women’s 2023 season wildcard, as well as the men’s and women’s wildcards for each competition. We are still reviewing these applications and will have a decision on the season wildcards by May 9.”
In January, Gabriel announced he was taking an indefinite leave from the tour for personal and mental health reasons. Now, after missing the first five events of the year and doing the mid-season guillotine, he has another shot at a fourth world title.
If you’re curious about how wildcards are selected and how many there are, check out Lachy McDonald’s expert analysis here. As he explains, the second half of the men’s year following the mid-year cut includes the current top 22 CT above the cutline, one event wildcard and one WSL wildcard.
The WSL season wildcards are given at the discretion of the WSL Tours and Competition team. According to the League’s statements, the wildcard selection process evaluates a variety of criteria, including past competitive performance, titles, rankings and results, as well as a medical status.
If you need a refresher, the last five events (in order) are G-land, El Salvador, Rio, J-Bay, and Teahupoo — all events that Gabriel could dominate. On the women’s side, might we finally see Moana Jones Wong at G-Land and Teahupoo after all? More news to come.
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