Stab Magazine | Gabriel Medina Can Win The Title In Portugal

Gabriel Medina Can Win The Title In Portugal

Kolohe Toledo is the unluckiest man in surf and more from today at Supertubos. 

news // Oct 19, 2018
Words by Michael Ciaramella
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Supertubos ain’t perfect, but it’s a wave to which most of us can relate.

A typical beach break just on a grander scale, Supertubos consists of 90 percent shitty-to-average waves and 10 percent gems.

Those 10 percent just happen to be pretty spectacular.

Day three or four or whatever we’re on (that damn European leg all blends together) had several great rides but, perhaps more importantly, a shitload of competitive drama.

Which begs the question of what is more important to you, the professional surf spectator – is it that surfers ride great waves, or that there’s ample competitive tension?

You know what I mean by tension.

I’m talking Slater taking off on a bomb with 10 seconds left, needing something in the high-eights, causing your hands to clam and heart to beat staccato. Tension.

Now, there’s no debate that a combination of wave quality and drama make for optimal surf viewing.

For instance:

John John Florence tying with Kelly Slater at perfect Chopes. Mick Fanning rolling into a Second Reef bomb to beat Yadin Nicol and steal the World Title. Or perhaps the best heat of all time, at the 2012 Volcom Pro, when after a congratulatory embrace between John and his apparent victor, Jamie O’Brien, the teenage Florence darted away to catch a last-second Backdoor bomb and steal the Pipeline crown.

Goosebumps every time.

To this day, I recall jumping up and down in my kitchen when that happened, screaming like a fucking lunatic. That was professional surfing’s peak, for me.

But if you had to choose one to spectate, good waves or good drama, which would it be?

I’m sure most of you will choose the former, but before you do, consider this: if it’s truly the vision of great waves that we seek, then why do we waste our time watching these long, typically-held-in-mediocre-conditions events when we could exponentially increase our efficiency by viewing a 30-minute surf flick with all the fat pre-trimmed?

Because I reckon we care a lot about the drama – maybe even more than the waves. Which is good, because today Supertubos offered plenty of the former.

flores j0382PRT18masurel mm


The first three heats were decided by less than a combined half’a point

In the first clash of the morning, Italo Ferreira landed the most perfect full-rotation air reverse. The spin wasn’t remarkably high nor its landing dynamic (as suggested by the 7.33 score), but in a world full of Jaddy-grabs and flailing appendages, this air was truly stunning.

Despite Jesse Mendes’ efforts to bore the judges into submission with repetitive backhand whacks, Italo snagged a last-minute right and power-punched it for a decimal victory. 

Next was Kolohe and Zeke and surely you’re aware of the context.

Before the start of last event, Stab courageously promoted Kolohe Andino as its projected winner. This was all going great until the speed of sound slapped Kolohe across the face with its notoriously belated whip, taking Andino out of contention for reasons which he could not control. It was objectively unlucky and debatably unfair.

Therefore we declared a do-over in Portugal.

So Kolohe, this is your shot,” we said. “Wear a watch and don’t fuck it up.”

And must we recount what happened against Zeke Lau today? Are you really that sadistic, you sicko?

lau e7745PRT18poullenot mm

Get Zeked.

Well here it goes: Kolohe and Zeke tied at 13.40 points. On. The. Fucking. Dot. And as per WSL rules, Zeke advanced on account of having the single highest score.

By that measure, we declare Kolohe Andino the unluckiest man in surf.

In the last heat of the flurry, a 28th-placed Matt Wilko beat Jordy Smith by less than one-tenth, holding onto hopes of requalification by nothing more than a frayed leash string.

The Medina Code

Medina has no “morals” in his competitive approach. He takes the criteria and rulebook as his sole guiding forces and leaves those pesky things like social contracts and integrity on the beach.

It reminds me of how soccer players dive and subsequently writhe in agony in order to get a call against their opponent. Ironically Neymar Junior, world’s second-best footballer, first-best writher, and great friend of fellow-Brazilian Gabriel Medina was on-site at Supertubos to watch his surfing equivalent compete.

Medina Neymar9084Peniche18Poullenot

Neymar is a richer man but he’s also never been tubed. Advantage Medina.

Inspired by Neymar’s presence and already leading his Round 3 clash, Medina did his damndest to bearhug the second-prioritied Ryan Callinan in the dying minutes. Every move Ryan made to create space, Medina was with him – rail-to-rail, arms entangled, the whole bit. It was reminiscent of Medina’s paddle-battle with Jordy at Keramas, except that in this case there was no race for priority. They were just sitting out the back waiting for a wave.

Ryan’s attempts to evade Gab proved more fruitless than white rice separating itself from a deep, dark soy sauce, eventually leading to a paddle-related interference (on Ryan) and a Medina advancement.

Filipe lost!

You might have noticed that we didn’t include Filipe Toledo in our Portugal Picks. There were a number of reasons for that, none of which are important at this juncture, but what matters is after a back-and-forth heat with the tube-tickling Frenchman Joan Duru, Filipe came up short.

duru j0125PRT18masurel mm

Like a fart in the wind are Filipe’s current Title hopes.

He’ll be forced to keep a 13th in his end-of-year scoreline, which will certainly not help Toledo’s chances of securing the Title. Nor will the last event’s location. Also, if Gabriel wins this event, he will win the title. 

Julian and Owen are keeping Australian competitive hopes alive

In two of the last heats in Round 3, Owen Wright and Julian Wilson displayed the type of dominance we’ve come to expect from veteran (feels weird writing that, but it’s true) Aussies in heavy, hollow surf.

Medina’s in the quarters, Jules has yet to surf

Travis Logie called the competition off with one heat left run in Round 4. The conditions were a little funky and with World Title implications in the upcoming heat, Trav didn’t want to risk anything.

A respectable decision that I disagree with. 

Here’s why: 

The waves were certainly contestable and frankly it could be more unfair to have Julian in the first heat of a day with unknowable conditions than to give him (more or less) the same playing field as Medina, who surfed two heats prior.   

wilson j8836PRT18poullenot mm

Despite an overly-theatrical claim in Round 3, Julian looks more composed than ever.

Nevertheless the Title Race boils on, with Medina 2,000 points and one heat ahead of Wilson but plenty of waves left to be surfed.

I’d be shocked if Filipe is still in the top-two come Saturday.

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.66 def. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 13.30
Heat 2: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.40 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.40
Heat 3: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.83 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.77
Heat 4: Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.33 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.40
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.33 def. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 11.14
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.60 def. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 7.33
Heat 7: Joan Duru (FRA) 12.50 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.10
Heat 8: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.60 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.77
Heat 9: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 10.17 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 5.30
Heat 10: Owen Wright (AUS) 15.27 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 6.97
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 9.66 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 7.03
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.90 def. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 7.17

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 4 (H1-3) Results:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.60, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.30, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 6.00
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.67, Michel Bourez (PYF) 7.84, Frederico Morais (PRT) 3.63
Heat 3: Joan Duru (FRA) 11.50, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 9.10, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 7.93

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Remaining Round 4 (H4) Matchups:
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS) 



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