Stab Magazine | Should Gabriel Medina Have Won His Round Three Heat?

Should Gabriel Medina Have Won His Round Three Heat?

Splitting hairs on the cobblestone. 

news // Sep 11, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The top three are out. They didn’t push past the third round, and the judge’s motives are being questioned. Script this? Can you? Well, it was the hot subject of convo after round three on the beach and in the scaffolding today. 

But first, what a beautiful day it was down on the Orange County/San Diego border! It’s September in Southern California, which means the kids have gone back to school, the tourists have left the coast, and the local crowd got their beaches back. However, at Lowers today, it felt like mid-July. The beach was packed with people from all over, Californians, Brazilians, Portuguese, Aussies, and a few notable Arizonians. Surfing’s global, and it shows through its spectators. There was barely room to stand above the cobblestone today, and as the tide rose, it washed iPhones, coolers, speakers and children down the beach; the crowd was forced into compressed Slinky formation. Around noon the sun split the marine layer, and blue skies, lighter (than yesterday’s) northwest winds and 80-degree weather kept anyone outside of an umbrella pink and crispy.

In round three the remaining two title contenders dropped to the wildcards. Brett Simpson’s in form. And although John Florence did two of the most aggressive (and stylish) turns of the heat, he wasn’t able to complete either wave. He tallied up two four-point rides, each with one turn; all the world number one had to do was finish the two waves with a few additional maneuvers. Hell, a foam climb probably would’ve raised both rides to sixes. In a slow heat, John looked out of sync, Simpo found the best waves and had Mr Florence combo’d by the final eight minutes.

With John out, it was Gabs chance to close the point gap. The next heat was local wildcard, and after his performance today, the man to beat, Tanner Gudang vs Gabby. They went head to head, wave for wave. The two goofy foots gripped the Lowers’ walls and threw water to the heavens. Tanner caught four waves, and they were all scored in the mid-eights. His vert approach pleased the judges, but the case could be made that Gabs was robbed.

Here are the two waves in question, side by side.

Midway through the heat Gabriel was trailing. He needed an 8.5 for the lead. He found a soft right and tore the bag out of it with seven turns, the only problem was, only one could be noted as critical. Gabs thought he had it, he kicked out, claimed it and looked towards the judges, arms outspread saying, what do you make of that. It seemed to be enough to take the lead over Tanner. The scores came in, and an 8.3 was all that was made of that. Gabby turned towards the scaffolding and slapped in palms together sarcastically. He smiled in disbelief, shook Tanner’s hand and accepted his round three exit.

In round four, Jordy Smith, Kelly Slater (the only remaining competitors in the top ten) and Michel Bourez hit the pedal of a power driven heat. Jordy was untouchable; he put up two nines and Michel and Kelly will head into round five elimination. A winning or semi-final result from Jordy or Kelly will be enough to join Wilko, John and Gabriel in the title race.

Filipe Toledo also threw up two nines in round four. Kolohe Andino surfed the way we’ve expected him to at home, but his seven and eight point rides wouldn’t be enough to overtake the Filipe at his adopted home break.

Tanner, after a questionable win over Gabs, solidified his spot in the quarters by going to the lefts and sent Stu Kennedy and Joel Parko into round five.

And, Alex Ribeiro! After a sad two total heat wins this season, the young Brazilian’s been on a tear at the famed cobblestone point and looks like he deserves to be on tour. He will see his first quarterfinal come Monday.

Due to State Park rules, the event will be off tomorrow. Although the surf will be about the same quality as today, tomorrow; contests are not permitted for the duration of the weekend.

Round Three Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith 10.27 def. Kai Otton 9.83
Heat 2: Michel Bourez 12.83 def. Miguel Pupo 11.17
Heat 3: Kelly Slater 16.27 def. Jack Freestone 9.34
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino 15.70 vs. Conner Coffin 10.50
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo 18.10 def. Caio Ibelli 10.40
Heat 6: Brett Simpson 15.16 def. John John Florence 8.74
Heat 7: Tanner Gudauskas 17.34 def. Gabriel Medina 17.13
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson 16.23 def. Wiggolly Dantas 13.00
Heat 9: Stuart Kennedy 16.37 def. Mick Fanning 13.94
Heat 10: Jadson Andre 13.84 def. Italo Ferreira 13.66
Heat 11: Josh Kerr 15.67 def. Kanoa Igarashi 9.67
Heat 12: Alex Ribeiro 15.47 def. Adrian Buchan 14.70

Round Four Results: 
Heat 1: Jordy Smith 18.50, Michel Bourez 14.50, Kelly Slater 13.16

Heat 2: Filipe Toledo 18.97, Kolohe Andino 15.60, Brett Simpson 14.14

Heat 3: Tanner Gudauskas 14.84, Stu Kennedy 13.67, Joel Parkinson 10.90

Heat 4: Alex Ribeiro 14.56, Jadson Andre 12.80, Josh Kerr 11.26

Round Five Match-ups:
Heat 1: Michel Bourez vs. Brett Simpson

Heat 2: Kolohe Andino vs. Kelly Slater
Heat 3: Stuart Kennedy vs. Josh Kerr
Heat 4: Jadson Andre vs. Joel Parkinson 


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