Gabriel Medina is three-time world surfing champion. The surfer from Maresias took the title by winning the second round of the decision against Filipe Toledo in Trestles, United States, at the WSL Finals, which defined the 2021 champion of the World Tour, organized by the WSL (World League of Surfing).
Medina had already won the first heat in the best of 3 against Filipinho and confirmed the world title with another victory in the second heat.
Gabriel was world champion for the first time in 2014, won the bi-championship in 2018 and now takes the tri in a year also marked by controversy at the Tokyo Olympics.
One of the big favorites to win the gold medal, the Brazilian was ranked fourth in his debut in the Olympic program. He ended up defeating Japanese Kanoa Igarashi in the semifinals. Medina led until just under ten minutes to the end of the heat, but took the turn. The Japanese fit a beautiful maneuver and received a high enough score to take the lead. The evaluation was decisive and generated a lot of controversy among journalists, fans and experts.
Medina’s title is Brazil’s fifth on the World Surfing Tour. In addition to Gabriel’s three, Adriano de Souza, Mineirinho, and Italo Ferreira were champions in 2015 and 2019, respectively.
“I’m really happy. I’m crying because there are so many emotions at the same time, happiness. The other guys encouraged me,” said Medina, crying, still in the water.
Drums that earned the title even had shark
The second heat among the Brazilians started hot. Filipe got a 7.83. Shortly thereafter, Medina responded with an 8.50 and narrowly missed completing a giant aerial following.
The sea calmed in the next few minutes, and the battery was paralyzed by the presence of a shark in the water. The two surfers remained at sea, but on watercraft. The area was searched and, after a 15-minute break, the competition was again held.
Right after the drums resumed, Medina took the title with a backflip that earned a 9.00 note. Filipe even tried with an 8.53, but he still needed a note above 9 to turn, a note that didn’t come. Victory and party for Medina, who scored 17.53 points in the total, against 16.36 for Filipinho.
Still at sea, Filipe hugged Gabriel and congratulated him on his achievement. Once out of the water, the surfer from Ubatuba greeted his fellow countryman again.
Medina confirms favoritism
Medina made it to the WSL Finals as leader of the rankings and title favorite after an almost flawless season. In seven stages, he reached five finals, won two and quietly secured the first place in the ranking, which brought him closer to the world title.
In the WSL Finals, Gabriel has already gone straight to the grand final and just waited for his opponent, in this case, Filipe Toledo. Before the decision, Filipinho was third in the ranking and had to beat Conner Coffin, from the United States, and also Brazilian Italo Ferreira before crossing with Medina.