Mick Fanning and Gabriel Medina are staying in the same Hawaii house
Every year, those in contention for a world title stroll red carpet c/o their sponsors. The biggest bedroom in the team house is a given, complete privacy, zero distractions. Kelly is an exception (when isn’t he though?) because he owns his own house on the North Shore. But it’s the one time of year that […]
Every year, those in contention for a world title stroll red carpet c/o their sponsors. The biggest bedroom in the team house is a given, complete privacy, zero distractions. Kelly is an exception (when isn’t he though?) because he owns his own house on the North Shore. But it’s the one time of year that any other title hopefuls can be completely selfish in their requests. Joel Parkinson stayed top floor in the master bedroom of the Billabong house when he won in 2012. And Mick Fanning has ruled the penthouse in Rip Curl’s Hawaiian digs every year that he’s won.
But for the first time in 10 years, two marquee riders on the same team are number one and two heading into Pipeline. Mick Fanning trails Gabriel Medina by just 3,450 points. And, both gents are Rip Curl pin-ups.
Which creates a real interesting dynamic. Mick is older, a three-time world champ, who’s been riding for Rip Curl since he was 16. He literally signed with them when Gabriel was five years old. But Gabriel is youth, he potentially has multiple world titles ahead of him, he is the future of Rip Curl and all their marketing.
And so, a decision had to be made about sleeping arrangements in the team house.
The property sits just past Off The Wall and Mick has won three world titles staying in the main room. It’s also the same room Andy Irons won a world title from. Gabriel had a front row seat to Mick’s third title while staying under the same roof last year. Although, his room was much smaller, and downstairs with the hustle and foot traffic that comes with any team house.
But the fact remains that Mick is second on points to Gabriel.
You can’t see him, but Gabriel watched this unfold from real close. Photo: Laserwolf
This year, the 20-year-old is best placed to win the title and could, understandably, expect the best environment to do so. But how would that sit with a 14-year tour veteran, and an old-school operating brand? At a wave like Pipe, it’s not a matter of making the right decisions, it’s about making less wrong decisions.
It’s understood Gabriel was offered his own house to stay in this winter, but politely declined. Instead, he’ll roll out of the same bed as last year for the Pipe Masters, a level below Mick, but a position above. It’s unconfirmed where his mini-bus entourage will be staying. Stab must, at this point, offer the highest of props to Gabs for his ability to put selfish motives below his obvious respect for Mick, despite being ahead of him competitively at present.
Owen Wright landed on the North Shore two days ago before the two bulls arrive, and as another Rip Curl surfer (but with the benefit of perspective due to no title pressure), he told Stab: “It’ll be bacon and eggs on one side of the kitchen and chicken and rice on the other. There’s going to be energy everywhere, and plenty of mind-games, it’s going to be intense. I’m just going to stay out of it and hide down the bottom and try and get the Pipe Master title.”
There’s certainly something in there about keeping your enemies closest.
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