Gabriel Medina Is Taking An Indefinite Leave From Competition - Stab Mag
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Gabriel Medina Is Taking An Indefinite Leave From Competition

The 3x champ has decided to put his well-being first.

news // Jan 24, 2022
Words by Michael Ciaramella
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Over the past week, rumors have swirled around the North Shore about whether or not Gabriel Medina would arrive in time for the Billabong Pro Pipeline.

After winning his third World Title, Medina mentioned in an interview with Lance that he was considering taking some time off from competition. Since then, we’ve seen very little surfing from Gabe, in the flesh or on Instagram. In fact, the last surfing clip he posted was of an air he landed almost a decade ago.

Today, Gabe announced on his Instagram that he will be taking an indefinite leave from competition.

Just yesterday we spoke with a source at the Rip Curl Hawaii house, who said that Gabby’s room was all ready for his arrival (and even had his name on the door), which makes it seem like this was truly a last-minute decision from the 3x World Champ.

He wrote:

The past few months have been a difficult time for me personally and it has taken a toll. As such, I’ve decided to withdraw from the start of the 2022 WSL Championship Tour.

I had every intention of competing for the full season, had made all the preparations medically (I took my Covid vaccination during my holidays) and mentally and physically, but I’m not in a place where I believe I can perform against the world’s best surfers right now and I need to focus on my well-being. I don’t know how long it will take, but I aim to return to the Championship Tour as soon as I am ready.

I very much appreciate everyone’s ongoing love and support. I’ll be back when I am able. Love. 

The Portuguese version of Gabby’s post is even more insightful, as he mentions extra details like a slight hip injury and states directly that he’s dealing with mental health issues.

Back in 2021, multi-Olympic Gold medalist, Simone Biles, opted out of an event in the Tokyo Games due to mental health concerns. This decision sent shockwaves through the world of sport, as athletes have historically been expected to “suck it up and compete”, no matter the circumstances.

Prior to the 2020 Championship Tour season (which never came to be), defending World Champ Carissa Moore announced she was taking the year off from compeitition. Kelly Slater also “retired” for three years between 1999 and 2001, following his five straight world titles from ’94-’98.

We appreciate the fact that modern sporting greats, like Simone, Carissa, Kelly, and Gabby, have the support and wherewithal to take a break when needed. The average person can’t fathom the toll it takes trying to be the best in the world at something, even if that thing is as wonderful as surfing.

The WSL has said that Caio Ibelli will replace Medina at the Billabong Pro Pipeline.

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