Gabriel Medina wins 2014 Fiji Pro
Story by Craig Jarvis Michel Bourez is capable of making big numbers. He’s done it throughout this event, but he didn’t pull it off against Nat Young in the first semi. Nat, with an underrated forehand approach, found two bombs and got barreled across the reef to edge past the danger-man Michel and sneak into […]
Story by Craig Jarvis
Michel Bourez is capable of making big numbers. He’s done it throughout this event, but he didn’t pull it off against Nat Young in the first semi. Nat, with an underrated forehand approach, found two bombs and got barreled across the reef to edge past the danger-man Michel and sneak into the win. Michel, with two event wins under the belt and overwhelming confidence behind his surfing, opened up the heat with a good ride and cracked it off the top for an excellent opener of 7.33. He was looking like he was on his way to his third final in the first half of the year. Michel’s surfing has been tight and vertical throughout, and he wasn’t letting off at this late stage of the game. Without wishing to detract from Michel’s performance, however, Nat was surfing tighter and faster over the Cloudbreak reef, and the smaller and faster waves this morning seemed to favour the goofy-footer. His two scoring waves were longer, included barrel rides, and were completed with power hooks over the Shish Kabob sections, and he went into the lead with his second wave 7.83 score. In the dying moments of their semifinal, Michel hooked into a good looking wave that could have changed the game, and needing a six-plus score, Michel rode onto the back of the lip for a long and extended floater, but was unable to land it and rode off the back to blow the final wave and not get the score. A very ecstatic Nat young was the first finalist, leading the new crew charge with the support of his Santa Cruz boys. “To make it through to the final is amazing and I really want to win this one,” said Nat. “I had a board change but it didn’t make any difference to my heat, as I made it back out before the next set came though.”
Semi two was the ultimate charge of the new guard, with Gabriel Medina and Kolohe Andino representing the new crew. They started off their semi by paddling way up the reef in a competitive paddle battle that saw them both so far up the reef that they couldn’t even surf. Eventually Gabby got the first one from far across the reef and got tubed across the main section for an opening ride of 6.17. With a 3-1 historical victory advantage to Gabby, his confidence was there from the get-go and Kolohe was chasing after that first ride. Kolohe has found his legs in the last two events, and has started to fill the space expected of him as one of the best young surfers in the world. As his confidence grows, Kolohe will start finding himself with more big results and more higher finishes. In this semi, however, it was Gabby who remained in the lead all the way to the end, banking an excellent 9.07 score for an opening barrel and putting rail in the water for a few big inside cracks. Gabby finished off with another good score of 8.43 to edge his way into the final. No disgrace to Kolohe, slowly chipping away at the ratings and getting a good points base.
Nat got double-barreled on the first wave of the final and after the tube time hacked a number of turns and wraparound cutbacks for an opener of 8.17. Gabby’s opener however, had more. Two tubes and two massive hacks saw his awarded a nearly perfect 9.87 and awarded the lead. Gabby put in great variety and the judges loved him for it. Nat replied with a little tube and a few hooks, and looking like a trim Mick Lowe on his forehand, was awarded an average 6.60 for his open face carves.
Gabby’s final wave was an on-fire 8.53 for some huge cracks and a little tube ride, and he was subsequently awarded his second win of the year. “All the hard work pays off right now,” said Gabby. “I’ve never surfed at Jeffreys Bay before, but I’m going home after this to prepare.”
Two event wins to Michel Bourez and two event wins to Gabby Medina. Gabriel goes into the ratings lead; Michel sits in second, and Kelly in third. Shit just got real.
SF 1: Nat Young (USA) 14.00 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.10
SF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.50 vs. Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.57
Final: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 18.40 def. Nat Young (USA) vs. 14.77
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