Priority aside, is this really what a 3-point turn on the Championship Tour looks like? If so, sign us up! Photo: WSL
WSL Reveals Their Side Of The Medina/Ibelli Priority Scandal
"No resurf. Caio was in the lineup first, further down the beach, and was rightfully rewarded priority."
Roughly a day and a half after Priority-Gate transpired, the WSL has finally come forward and offered an explanation.
Via their Instagram, the WSL issued an official statement and breakdown of the Medina/Ibelli interference scandal. It went like this:
"No resurf. Caio was in the lineup first, further down the beach, and was rightfully rewarded priority. We can clearly hear the beach announcer say 'Priority is with blue."
The clip then cuts to the beach announcer, who says, "Caio with the first priority in blue, chasing a 9.37 for the lead."
A whole two minutes passed from that moment to the moment that Medina got tangled up with Ibelli in a paddle-battle, leading to Medina's interference and subsequent loss.
The WSL then cuts to time-coded footage, which shows Medina and Ibelli paddling out simultaneously after their rides. Ibelli clearly gets past the impact zone before Medina and even sits down on his board for a moment, before deciding to head north toward the peak where Medina was settled.
That's probably why Medina didn't realize that Caio had priority all along.
This is what Caio's fiancé and former CT surfer, Alessa Quizon, had to say on the matter:
"It’s unfortunate how much heat @caioibelli has already taken from this situation. I’m glad that clarity was justified on the interference. It is what it is. But what I found disappointing to me, was how some fans reacted to the call. At the end of the day both athletes are born and bred from the same country. Where I come from in Hawaii, we support our locals equally and back them 100%. one should never be pitted against the other. regardless of the situation. Caio's been taking some unnecessary hits/ comments that no human deserves. It’s amazing to see how much passion fans have for their idols but it should come from a good place. No hate or malice. Both athletes are fighting for their dream/place on tour. The perspectives are different but both severe and equally important. Wishing all the athletes this year good vibes and positive energy from here on out. Thank you @wsl for giving us surfers the chance to make the dream happen."
While most level-headed fans will admit that Medina was responsible for checking the priority flag, and that his failure to do so correlated directly with his demise, some remain adamant that Caio's 3.1 score for a one-turn right should have come under the 2.78 requirement, meaning that Medina should have won the heat despite his interference.
That is a completely different argument, and in my mind, one that holds an ocean to the priority's puddle. However, the WSL has never been in the business of changing their scores, even when mocked, threatened, or under direct muffin fire (keep fighting, Sunny!).
So that's that. Medina's tactical error has breathed new life into the 2019 World Title race, and we're all better for it. Stay tuned for a detailed analysis of the current Title scenarios vis a vis Medina's untimely departure.