Gabriel at his best to claim World Title number two.
Close observers of Gabriel Medina are well aware that the Brazilian goofy footer was always going to win more than one world title. He possesses too much raw talent, too much ambition; too much competitive drive. In short, he’s just too good.
When Gabriel Medina’s powerful internal engine is running on all cylinders it’s an incredible sight to behold. Today he claimed the world title with a display of Pipe Mastery that was unrivalled on finals day. Medina’s quarter-final victory over Connor Coffin will be remembered as the moment where he put one hand on the crown.
For a moment it seemed Connor Coffin might play a disruptive role with a couple of mid-range Backdoor barrels. However, in the space of five minutes Medina reclaimed control of the narrative in the world title story. The two directional-blitzkrieg raid began with a Pipe, barrel-to-air combo for a 9.43.
Minutes later Gabriel hunted down a growling Backdoor chunk and sledded his way out of a baseball bat barrel that got wider as it grew down the line. The tens were unanimous from the judges. Shortly after webcast viewers witnessed Gabriel’s super-mum, Simone, blow Kaipo Guerrero away with a display of unrestrained emotion.
Against Jordy Smith in the semis Medina again conjured a miracle. Needing an 8.66 Gabriel turned contortionist to maximise his time inside a Backdoor barrel. The judges dropped a 9.1 and there will undoubtedly be some debate about the scores for Jordy and Gabriel, but no one could deny it was brilliant. In such circumstances the decision usually goes the way of the surfer showing the most courage and commitment in addition to technical expertise.
“He just flicked on the freak button,” commented Ross Williams astutely.
Jordy Smith had no response to Medina’s sorcery and the clock did the rest for the Brazilian magician.
Despite going into the event at number one on the Jeep Leaderboard and being odds-on favourite to win, Medina had left nothing to chance; claiming the title on his own terms and ensuring he would not subject himself to a situation where he had to wait for someone else to lose.
Immediately asked by Rosy Hodge to summarise his emotions after the victory, Gabriel commented.
“That means a lot to me… it was an intense year… I can’t find words… I’m really happy right now… It’s all about god’s plan.”
Whether he is blessed by god or not, Medina emerged as the most deserving of world champions on a day when Pipeline delivered everything a surfing fan could hope for.
Full wrap up of day’s events to come…