Here Comes Gabriel Medina
Words by Jed Smith | All photos WSL/Poullenot/Aquashot “I’m not thinking about a world title. I know Mick and Adriano are way up there but if they lose anything, I’m here.” That’s Gabriel Medina following his win at the Quiksilver Pro, France – an event he never looked like losing. Mick Fanning and Adriano De Souza […]
Words by Jed Smith | All photos WSL/Poullenot/Aquashot
“I’m not thinking about a world title. I know Mick and Adriano are way up there but if they lose anything, I’m here.”
That’s Gabriel Medina following his win at the Quiksilver Pro, France – an event he never looked like losing.
Mick Fanning and Adriano De Souza have indeed lost and lost big, with the pair bowing out in consecutive Portugal round three boil overs to local wildcards Frederico Morais and Vasco Ribeiro. They were joined by Owen Wright and Julian Wilson on the sidelines, meaning all four contenders in front of Medina were eliminated by round three. The shock losses see him rocket into title contention and, should he claim victory in Peniche, will see him lead the world title race over Fanning by 250 points heading into the Pipe Masters. It is a position he’s proved nearly unbeatable from, says Kelly.
“If he gets in a dominant place in a heat, if he is on the offence, he is amazing, he is as good as anyone I’ve seen,” Kelly Slater told the WSL morning show this morning.
It was a slow start for Medina in 2015, and who could blame him? A world title takes its toll at the best of times, let alone one that climaxes in a head-to-head with your idol, Mick Fanning, at the Pipe Masters. The win, Brazil’s first, saw him propelled to a level of stardom equal to any living celebrity in his homeland. All at the age of 20.
He was entitled to a hangover (Fanning said he may as well not have turned up for the 2008 season after claiming his first title the year prior) and that’s what Gabs got – informants tell us he celebrated well into the new World Tour season.
But that fog has lifted now. With Pipeline one of his strongest stops on tour and a dormant first half of the year in the tank, the momentum for an unprecedented back-to-back Brazilian world title is building.
“There is a certain flow in those world title years and you’ve gotta ride it, you’ve go with it,” said Kelly. “You don’t question what’s going on. You feel it, it feels good, you trust it, you go with it and you win heats.”
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