The plot to one of the most unexciting years in recent world tour history has thrown in the deus ex machina to end all deus ex machinas and I for one am now licking my chops with delight. The title is going to Pipe! Being a fan of competitive surfing has meaning again! Supertubos isn’t just the disjointed close-out it appears to be!

But just to recap: Round 4, Heat 5 of the Meo Rip Curl Pro Portugal and Gabriel Medina is wiping the floor with Caio Ibelli like the hiding he gave him at the King of the Groms back in the day just wasn’t enough. Medina is in beast mode, landing everything, shying away from nothing, and looking every bit like world title number three is about as close at hand as a sardine sanga and a stubby of Super Bock. Ibelli, on the other hand, is woeful, landing nothing, falling on everything, and looking every bit like sharing a sardine sanga and a Super Bock with Medina is as close as he’ll ever get to a world title. But then a strange little scenario plays out. Medina goes left, Ibelli goes right, Medina lands a big air-reverse, Ibelli races a quarter-mile down the beach, tries an air and falls off, and priority has to be reassigned.

To the casual observer, it looked every bit like Medina’s three or four strokes back to where he and Ibelli had been sitting were more than enough to give him priority, but that’s why we’re not priority judges. Priority clearly belonged to Ibelli, despite the fact he had to traverse three rips to get there and arrived a full minute later.


Gostaria de explicar oque aconteceu na minha bateria. Eu e Caio pegamos a mesma onda e cada um foi pra um lado. A minha onda foi mais curta e a dele foi mais longa. Tanto que enquanto eu voltava pro outside, ele ainda estava surfando a onda dele. Quando cheguei no fundo, tinha tanta certeza que a prioridade era minha que não olhei pra a placa de prioridade. Pra minha surpresa, quando veio a onda seguinte, acabei indo porque estava seguro que a prioridade era minha. Acabei levando a interferência. Quando saí da água fui falar com os juizes. Olhamos as imagens abertas, de nós dois voltando remando para o fundo, com um angulo da câmera aberto. Ficou bem claro que eu cheguei bem antes. E mesmo que eu tivesse chegado junto com ele e tivesse um empate, a prioridade seria minha pela regra. Porque na onda que surfamos juntos antes, o Caio tinha a prioridade 1. Tenho a esperança que a minha bateria seja reavaliada pois ocorreu um erro. ll I am still very hopeful that my heat will be reviewed.

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For all his talent, Medina is obviously not priority judge material either, or even adept at deciphering basic symbols, because despite the priority board displaying a big number one in the blue square representing Ibelli, when the next wave rolls in Medina paddles for it like he’s got every right to clash shoulders with Ibelli and fuck up the wave he’s paddling for.

Some confused and angry gestures follow, Pottz admits to needing to have a look at it again, and next minute Medina’s second scoring wave disappears into thin air.

Ironically, with an 8.17 in his scoreline, he was still in the lead, but a slightly inflated 3.1 for an Ibelli close-out bash soon took care of that. A few minutes later the two-time world champ was out of the contest.

Much hoo-ha followed. Medina stormed the tower and took to social media. Ibelli gave an awkward post-heat interview. The commentators yabbered on about it on the post show and fans went apeshit online.

But I don’t care about any of that, because Toledo, Jordy, Italo and Kolohe got through, the title will go to Pipe, and the B-grade yawn-fest that has been the 2019 world title race might just turn into an epic blood-soaked shoot-em-up after all.

Who’s got the popcorn?