Eighteen year old Gabriel Medina has been one of the brightest young stars coming out of the Brazil for about as long as our attention spans will allow. Following in the path laid by current WCT #3 Adriano De Souza, the most successful Brazilian surfer to date, Medina is leading a new movement from below. The passionate people down in South America have really taken to surfing over the last few decades, almost turning it into their own sport.
A much more aggressive, competitive, interpretation of the classic soul that surfing was built on, but to their credit they have taken surfing very seriously as a real sport. Much like soccer or futbol, the youths of the country now see surfing as a legitimate career or at least a way out of the ghettos or ‘favelas’ in the big cities, which has led to a massive charge of young Brazilians in the ASP. They are young, trained, fit, ultra consistent, and far hungrier than your average aussie or american surf star that has been pampered since grommethood.
Yesterday in France, for the Airwalk Pro Jr event, which coincides with the 6-Star Sooruz Lacanau Pro, Medina established himself as the best of this young Brazilian crop. He absolutely smoked the field, winning his final 7 heats by combo-ing the field, and scored three perfect tens, including 2 in the same heat for a perfect 20 heat score. He even pulled a rodeo flip in the final, a maneuver that has only been landed in competition handful of times.
The waves suited Medina all event, with small punchy beachbreak lefts that looked a lot like Medina’s native surf spots in Maresias.
Today the 6 star main event started at Lacanau, which Medina is also seeded in. His brilliance continued where it left off in heat 5 of the round of 96. He started off the heat with an 8 and a 7.5 before anybody else got to their feet, combo-ing the other 3 surfers. He would then proceed to drop a 9.27, 9.70 and a 9.93. His 4 highest throwaway scores could have taken 2nd and 3rd place in the heat.
This event is a 6-Star Prime event, though Medina is already poised to join the WCT after the mid-year cutoff in September, as the highest rated WQS surfer on tour right now. Expect more highlight reels out of this comp in the days to come..