Gabe Medina Rekindles Relationship With His Biological Dad - Stab Mag

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Gabe Medina Rekindles Relationship With His Biological Dad

After 20 years apart, Gabe shares a heartwarming father-son jive and social media unveiling with his father Claudio Ferreira (yup, Ferreira).

news // Nov 2, 2021
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 4 minutes

What a trip this year has been for Gabe Medina.

We’ve seen some new sides to him, from a more relaxed vibe around contest venues to relinquishing family ties and rekindling new ones. Mick Fanning assured us in Stab Unplugged that Gabe has been criminally misunderstood his entire career, “Gabe has always been incredibly loyal and generous to his friends and family. He would give you the shirt off his back. I’ve seen his courage and kindness countless times over the years.” 

And we learned that this year watching the graciousness in his victories and (handful of) losses, but first, let’s rewind a little…

Gabe already had two titles before 2021. The ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’ line of thinking didn’t stop Gabe from making major adjustments. Photo by Pat Nolan/World Surf League)

As you probably know Brazil is formerly a colony of Portugal. Brazil largely uses Portuguese naming conventions, which often gives people four names: their given name – which is often two to include a saint’s name and/or a preposition (da, das, do, dos or de); the mother’s last name; and then the father’s last name. So Gabe’s full name is Gabriel Medina Pinto Ferreira, kinda cosmically odd given that he shares the same last name as Brazilian Olympic gold-medallist Italo Ferreria. And, no, there’s no relation there. 

We learned about this via Instagram when we saw a video of him and his dad dancing to Joao Gomes – ‘Aquelas Coisas’. The caption reads: “Happy Birthday Dad! Love you.”

We’re used to seeing a taut jaw and steely eyes from Gabe, but this year he appeared visibly more relaxed and happy, and none of it was at the expense of his surf performance. We all witnessed his incredible lap this year.

Three event wins and six final appearances from eight events. One of the most dominant CT years in history, topped off with a commanding TKO victory over an in-form Filipe Toledo in the prize fight at the Rip Curl Finals. Two from two heats, a 16.33 in the first heat to Fil’s 15.70, a 17.13 in the second to Fil’s 16.13, when he had everything to lose. 

A lot of people compared Gabe and Italo’s surfing the last year, Gabe’s performance on finals day put a bit of daylight between the two. 

Performing like this when everything is on the line takes another kind of fortitude. Photo by Pat Nolan/World Surf League

So why was Gabe so relaxed? 

In the past year, 27-year-old Gabe has made major changes in his professional and personal life. He began working with coach Andy King, parting ways with his lifelong steward and step-father Charles Rodrigues, and traveled the entire year with his recently-wed partner, 33-year-old actress and model, Yasmin Brunet. Gabe also rekindled his relationship with his biological father, Cláudio Ferreira, who had been largely absent from his life for more than twenty years. 

“Family quarrels are bitter things. They don’t go according to any rules. They’re not like aches or wounds, they’re more like splits in the skin that won’t heal because there’s not enough material,” once said the great F. Scott Fitzgerald. 

Gabe’s story does suggest that there’s a finite amount of material to repair family wounds. As one bond healed for him, another broke away. 

Medina parted ways with step-father Charles Rodrigues last year. Photo by WSL.

According to Correio, the largest daily newspaper in the city of Campinas, state of São Paulo, where Gabe was born, his recent family feud with his mother and Charlie re: The Medina Institute, was a catalyst for bringing the biological father and son together again. 

“The fight between the three-time world champion and his mother, Simone, brought the surfer closer to his biological father Cláudio Ferreira, after 20 complicated years.

For the first time in two decades, Gabby will be spending Christmas with Claudio, as a family. According to Ferreira, Yasmin was one of the encouragers for Gabriel to look for his father, to re-establish the relationship.

“It was only this year that he came to talk to me. He didn’t know about many of the things that happened, because his mother always spoke very badly about me. We talked a lot, cried a lot.” says Ferreira. “He said to me, ‘Dad, forgive me. I’m sorry I was wrong all these years.’ I also asked for forgiveness,” he explains.

Cláudio, who leads a simple life in Maresias, works on a motorcycle in the region, also said that Simone Medina, who had control of assets acquired by her son as a surfer before the breakup, is trying to benefit financially from her son’s career. 

“The Institute building [Gabriel Medina] was bought with his money, but he trusted his stepfather and mother, and she still says it’s hers to this day. But she didn’t have the money to buy it, it was my son who bought it. Now, she wants to sell the land that belongs to my son, but which is in her name,” he continued.

The silver lining to the mess that can be families is that Gabe and his old boy are family again after two decades of absence from each other’s lives. 

That is Gabriel and Claudio Ferreira, to be sure.


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