Gabs brought the hustle all event. This kinda thing was real common in the final. ASP/Kirstin
Gabriel Medina wins the 2014 Quiksilver Pro, Gold Coast
Story by Craig Jarvis | All photos below by Andy Potts
A slow start, a gradual all-day build and then a dramatic final, as we witnessed a pretty epic final day to the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Here's 12 things that simply didn't go unnoticed...
1. Pirates in the morning: It's a cut-throat session every morning before the contest. Every local, every competitor and everyone else in the area arrive and paddle out with some sort of entitlement at the remarkably perfect Snapper sandbank. While the drop-in rule still applies amongst the 600-odd crowd, the snaking rule has fallen by the wayside as it just can't be applied fairly in such incredible crowd movements. One other rule that applies is that of ferocity. If you look fearsome and you make people a bit nervous, there's a slight chance you might get more room to move. Here's the Pirate of Coolangatta, preparing for the battle.
2. Slater, the winner: In heat three of the non-elimination round, it was Kelly, Adriano and Kerrzy. On paper it looked pretty positive for the world champ. While Josh had been showing form and determination, Adriano was kinda hovering on a lot of people’s shit list. Lemme rephrase that; he was very high on the Internet troll shitlist of every surf website the world over for his altercation with J-Flo, and there were mixed feelings muttered around the contest area this morning. Either way, the short Brazilian stuck it to everyone, beating Kelly and Kerrzy into second and third respectively, to advance straight through to the quarters and leaving the other two to battle another round.
After the heat, the media attention for Adriano was non-existent. The crowds wanted Kelly to sign a board, a poster, a tee shirt, a boob. A slim and beautiful young lady with a wisp of a flesh-toned bikini walked slowly past Adriano with unseeing eyes, and headed zombie-like for second-placed Kelly with a pen and a mag in hand, and a lopsided smile on her face. Even when he loses, he wins.
3. Crewsy, The Rookie: In round five, there was much attention around the Mitch Crews vs Mick Fanning heat, with most people non-committal, saying that either one of the surfers could win. However, it was the world champ who leapt to the forefront, with an 18.40 next to Crewsy’s 10.27. "Fanning just made Crewsy look like such a rookie," said an important person and possibly a surfing official as he watched the final moments of the heat. Then that person recognized me and finished by saying, "And don’t even think about quoting me on that, bru!" No shame to Crewsy, though. He's a rookie in the professional sense, and in his World Tour debut he powered through some perfect waves and put some huge scores on the board.
4. The more things change... The (not new) media rules that created such a ruckus at the beginning of the contest had a slight change of wording, and it still made no difference whatsoever to the assembled media who had been here and shooting the whole week. The post heat interviews have been a scrum, the TV crews and photographers have been jockeying for position and pushing lenses aside in the process, the journalists have been shouldering and elbowing each other to get prime access and everyone has been Instagramming indiscriminately. In other words, nothing at all has changed. And we love it.
5. Safety First: The powers that be have allowed jetski lifts after every ride, allowing the surfers to catch more waves and to alleviate the wasting of valuable time paddling up the point, against a current, and missing sets. Now the surfers finish their rides and literally surf onto the jetski mats. They then clamber onto the ski for a piggy-back ride back into the lineup. Before the jetski operator can open up, the surfer needs to put on a life jacket and strap up. There are obviously water safety laws in place, and the event safety crew does have to adhere to these, but it’s funny that the world’s best surfers need to put on a lifejacket for 30-second ride. These are the same guys that surf Sunset and Pipe.
6. I wanna be adored (and you are). With all the attention on the girls, there has been a lot of talk, maybe too much talk, about the girls and their sexiness. They wear tiny costumes, little bikinis and definitely get the attention of lot of people with their epidermis showing. Is it gratuitous? As the ASP Women’s world tour keeps on getting better and as more events and better systems are put in place, is ass really what's needed? We spoke to four-time world champ Wendy Botha about it. "I think it’s great," said Wendy of the girl’s overt sexiness. "They're fit and healthy, and they have great bodies. I'd be doing exactly the same. Look around on the beach. Everyone is wearing little bikinis. I just don't know how comfortable they are sometimes. It seems they're always pulling their costumes out of their bums. If they want to be focusing on the heats, they don't need to be worrying about their bikinis." Wendy Botha appeared nude in Australian Playboy in the September 1992 issue, and it is something that she is proud of.
7. I’m not a judge, but... In the third heat of round five, Kelly came up against Nat Young and after a tight little battle, beat him. In the process, Kelly caught one wave that opened up for him and he went to town. He slammed out six rad hits and got totally barreled and finished off with a clean air reverse on the shallows for an 8.33. "I think he had a pretty good heat," said Belly. "He was just getting over this morning's frustration."
"And that wave? Do you think he was underscored?"
"No," said Belly. "I didn't say that. Now don't go and put words in my mouth."
Kelly had some thoughts on it, though. "Well, there wasn’t much more I could do on that wave," he said. "I did all those turns on the outside and got that barrel on the inside and finished off with an air reverse. Actually, I guess the wave could've been better." Better waves were needed in his quarterfinal against Adriano as well, with the Brazilian getting the nod over The King for the second time in a day.
8. Dancing girls. The day started off with a squall, and there were rumours of rain. There are always rumours of rain in Coolangatta. As soon as the contest started, at 8am sharp, the sun came out and the people started undressing. As the Brazilian surf contingent continued to surge through, with Gabby and Adriano both advancing past Fanning and Slater respectively, the Brazilian spectator contingent seemed to grow and appreciate alongside. By the end of the day there was a gaggle of half-dressed Brazilian beauties parading for the assembled TV and newspaper crews, mag teams, website photographers and every single person with a camera phone.
9. Golden Voices. Overall, the new commentary team nailed it. The two best webcast callers on final day were Martin Potter and Joey Turpel. Pottz has the credentials of being the 1989 World Champion, and Joey Turpel has been an ASP voice for many years. They’re part of the A-Team now with the new ASP and we can expect their informed commentary to keep us company throughout the entire World Tour season.
10. Local Knowledge. As the final day progressed, the Rainbow Bay Surf Life Saving Club filled up. The beers were being poured down by the time Joel Parko took to the water in his quarter, and the roar that erupted from the balcony when Parko proceeded to get tubed across Snapper would have been heard in Sydney. The cheering squad kept going at full volume all the way through to the end of the final, screaming and cheering for Joel’s (possibly slightly underscored) tubes…
11. Two-hundredths of a point. Taj had the first semi in the bag for most of the heat, with Gabby trailing throughout. Taj was on fire, but Gabby is a tenacious little fuck and wasn’t going to give up for anything. With less than two minutes left and with Gabby starving for a score, a solution presented itself to him in the shape of a nicely lined-up wall, with plenty of scoring potential. It wasn’t a set wave though, and the big sets were giving the big scores. Gabby went to town. He smacked it seven times, each one a vertical powerful smash or hook. It was another one of those moments when some people thought that he had it in the bag, and others said no-ways.
He needed a 7.21 and he scored a 7.23.
Taj lost by two hundredths of a point. That’s gotta hurt.
"Medina deserved that score," said Matt Biolos. "If Taj hadn’t have fallen off on that earlier wave then it wouldn't have been so close."
12. Brazil! Medeeeena! The cheers went around the Quiksilver constructions, around the beach and all the way back to the podium. There were a lot of people on the beach celebrating with a very stoked Medina. The fact that he got the required score, a 7.83, for an inside wave caught down at Little Marley, meant nothing to Gabby, his family and his celebrating fans. He won, and he didn’t have a care in the world.