Stab Magazine | Math Says Gabriel Medina Is Not Actually Leading The World Title Race

Math Says Gabriel Medina Is Not Actually Leading The World Title Race

What do you believe, Yellow Jerseys or numeral objectivity?

news // Oct 14, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

What a contest, that Quik Pro France.

Looked great from the replays, at least.

Because for most of us on the American supercontinent, watching the Europe events live is a chore that forsakes both sleep and sanity, on account of the midnight start times and constant tide/wind/fog hold-ups.

But it’s not all bad missing the live comps. Every morning you wake up excited to discover which of your favorite surfers have flown or fallen. I was shocked, for one, to rub my sleepy eyes and learn that Filipe Toledo had lost in Round 3, opening the door for a hungry Gabriel Medina.

ScaleWidthWyIxMjAwIl0 Filipe Toledo 2833ProFrance18Poullenot

Fil has done himself a great disservice in France. Luckily, math is on his side. Photo: WSL

Even more shocking was that Medina eventually fell to Julian Wilson, who went on to win the event and place himself back in the World Title race. The great talent that Julian is, I didn’t think he had the competitive fortitude to make his presence felt against the dominant Brazilians.

Yet here we are, with two events left in the season and three surfers within 4,000 points of the Title.

And the craziest part is, Medina, Toledo, and Wilson even closer than the numbers would have you believe.

Think I’m crazy? Please indulge some blatant nerdery below.

Screen Shot 2018 10 13 at 2.48.13 PM

Is the WSL lying to us?

Medina is leading the Title race, right?

Gabriel Medina will wear the yellow jersey in Portugal – this much is certain. But it’s important to remember that World Champions are chosen based off their best nine of 11 event scores throughout the season, which is to say they have two “throwaways”.

With just two events remaining on the schedule, we can now look at the scorelines of Medina, Toledo, and Wilson and extract (what will probably be) their two worst results of the season, allow us to get a more realistic picture of the World Title Race.

Gabriel: 51,770 points – his worst two results (1,665 points + 3,700) = 46,405 actual points

Filipe: 51,450 points – his worst two results (1,665 points + 1,665) = 48,120 actual points

Julian: 47,125 points – his worst two results (420 points + 1,665) = 45,040 actual points

When you consider these as the actual numbers, Filipe Toledo retains his status the top surfer (with Medina nearly 2,000 points behind) and Julian Wilson becomes much closer to both of them than the gross numbers would have you believe.

ScaleWidthWyIxMjAwIl0 Julian Wilson 5542ProFrance18Poullenot

Jules’ done good. Photo: WSL

The truth of it all…

A Stab commenter by the name of Piers Forrester noted these concepts in our “Julian Wilson Wins Quik Pro France And Gabriel Medina Claims Ratings Lead” article, which he prologued by saying: “Weird how having the worst lowest results can actually help you get ahead when the season reaches its penultimate event.”

And on a surface level, this is true.

By having two 13ths in his scoreline, Filipe will get a 2,000 point advantage over Medina, who is holding a 13th and a 9th as his lowest scores. Meanwhile Julian Wilson is able to make up ground against both his competitors on account of the 25th in his scoreline.

But the way I see it, this is the professional surfing equivalent of a student changing their single-spaced essay to double, thus revealing the true length of their academic masterpiece. Five pages turns to ten and just like that, the paper is complete.

medina g3131FRA18laurent mm

Medina crosses his t’s, dots his i’s. Photo: WSL

How closely CT surfers monitor these nuances is truthfully unknown, but I can imagine that someone close to Julian, Filipe, and Gabriel is aware of the realistic World Title picture, and depending on their headspace, has probably clued them in.

But at the end of the day, these nitty gritty analyses are moot. Due to the relative proximity of Gabe, Fil, and Jules, it seems whichever surfer performs best at the year’s penultimate events will be crowned champion.

Which is, frankly, just how it should be.

See you at Supertubos!


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