Breaking: Gabriel Medina Reveals His Unvaccinated Status, Pulls Out Of Tahiti Event On Live Twitch Stream - Stab Mag

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Gabriel Medina has made 5 of the east 6 finals in Tahiti. Not this year. Photo: WSL

Breaking: Gabriel Medina Reveals His Unvaccinated Status, Pulls Out Of Tahiti Event On Live Twitch Stream

More surfers to follow.

news // Aug 5, 2021
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Gabriel Medina confirmed last night, during a live Fortnite gaming session, that he isn’t going to Tahiti for the last event before the WSL Finals, the Outerknown Tahiti Pro, later this month. 

“I’m not going to Teahupo’o because I haven’t taken the vaccine,” Gabby explained. 

Medina’s casual announcement comes less than 24 hours after we opined that he should take the next two events off, albeit for different reasons. It also hearkens back to a story we recently wrote about how difficult competing on the World Tour will be for unvaccinated surfers.

Why Medina has to pull out (and why other surfers will follow suit)

Since the Corona Open Mexico ends on August 19th and the Outerknown Tahiti Pro begins five days later, the window between events does not accommodate a 10-day stint in a hotel room in Papeete — which is mandatory for all unvaccinated visitors.

This rule will presumably impact other Tour surfers. From what we understand, Medina is not alone in being unvaccinated. Of the 54 surfers on Tour, at least a handful have opted out of the jab.

Like Gabby, these surfers will have to make a decision about which of the last two events they want to compete in — Mexico or Tahiti. Timing-wise, it’s impossible to do both. Considering Tahiti has a 10-day quarantine, it’s likely most will choose Mexico.

“There’s no way around it, it’s a bummer,” Medina said about the situation. “But all good, I can discard a result anyways, so all good.”  

Gabriel Medina kick out
Silver lining: Strider will not need a helmet at this year’s event. Photo: WSL

What impact will this have on the CT standings?

Missing the Tahitian stop of the Tour won’t hamper Gabe’s Title Run, as he’s already secured a spot in the Rip Curl WSL Finals, comfortably sitting at the top of the rankings with 46,720 points. Current World and Olympic Champ, Ítalo Ferreira, is in 2nd place with 33,555 points, and he would need to win both of the remaining events to overtake Medina. World number 3 Filipe Toledo would also need to make the final of both Mexico and Tahiti to steal the number one spot going into Lowers.

However, we’d wager that there are other unvaccinated surfers who aren’t in such a fortunate position. Some might be vying for spot in the top-5, while others could be fighting to requalify for the recently announced 2022 Tour. This situation will force surfers to evaluate what’s most important to them — their career or their personal ideals.

Medina said in the same video game sesh that he plans to go to California directly from Mexico and prepare for the finals at Trestles. A sensible idea if we’ve ever heard one.

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