Gabriel Medina Wins 2014 Fiji Pro

posted by / ASP, Photos / June 5, 2014

Tavarua semi finalists check out the previous day's action.

Tavarua semi finalists check out the previous day's action.

Did we say this is the best place ever yet?

Did we say this is the best place ever yet?

Michel Bourez straight up into 2nd place in the ratings.

Michel Bourez straight up into 2nd place in the ratings.

Medina and Alejo Muniz checking out the lineup.

Medina and Alejo Muniz checking out the lineup.

Nat Young had #teamtavarua going nuts all week.

Nat Young had #teamtavarua going nuts all week.

Best follow-up result of the year following a win. Michel with a third.

Best follow-up result of the year following a win. Michel with a third.

Guys on jet skis. A common site.

Guys on jet skis. A common site.

Kolohe Andino looking pretty safe to re-qualify through the WCT for his first time.

Kolohe Andino looking pretty safe to re-qualify through the WCT for his first time.

You don't have to like him but you better get used to seeing Gabriel Medina take fools down.

You don't have to like him but you better get used to seeing Gabriel Medina take fools down.

Last ditch effort for Brother Andino in the semis.

Last ditch effort for Brother Andino in the semis.

Pre-final, Natty Ice rocking YG on the headphones.

Pre-final, Natty Ice rocking YG on the headphones.

Breath so fresh it cools wax in a single second.

Breath so fresh it cools wax in a single second.

Nat Young starting off strong with an 8.17.

Nat Young starting off strong with an 8.17.

Medina with a 9.87 that had all of us in the boats thinking he wasn't coming out.

Medina with a 9.87 that had all of us in the boats thinking he wasn't coming out.

...and on the same wave.

...and on the same wave.

Would you like to make your chicken sandwich a combo?

Would you like to make your chicken sandwich a combo?

Three finals for Nat Young nearly mid-way through his second year on tour. No wins yet but they will come. This ain't Buffalo.

Three finals for Nat Young nearly mid-way through his second year on tour. No wins yet but they will come. This ain't Buffalo.

Little playful ally oop for the hell of it.

Little playful ally oop for the hell of it.

Old Charles tears up.

Old Charles tears up.

Hey buddy how bout a new flag? Looking kinda haggard there.

Hey buddy how bout a new flag? Looking kinda haggard there.

Brother and Chief Druku love the money!

Brother and Chief Druku love the money!

Shower time.

Shower time.

Tavarua employees are great sports. Still singing after losing their first time ever to Namotu.

Tavarua employees are great sports. Still singing after losing their first time ever to Namotu.


All Photos: Jimmicane

Farewell, paradise
With another week of waiting period and a narcoleptic swell forecast, a 2014 Fiji Pro champion would be declared today. And he would be declared quickly. There were only three heats left to run, only four ponies rounding the final bend. Despite a stressful uncertainty in the conditions at first light, an incoming tide produced a wave good enough to convince everyone that it was time to leave paradise.

But before we say our goodbyes…
The podium is only big enough for two people. And with four left in the draw, you do the math. The first heat starred Michel Bourez and Nat Young. Michel had a decent wave — deemed a 7.53 — but wasn’t able to support it with another. He now sits in 2nd place in the ratings, but dangerously so. When you toss away his 13th and 25th place results, Michel’s tally is an overwhelming 1st, 1st, 3rd. See, dangerous. But with six events left and his two throwaways already accounted for, Michel has left himself with no room for error. So essentially, he is his own biggest threat to a potential world title.

In semifinal two, Gabriel Medina took on Kolohe Andino. And took him out. Gabriel showed Kolohe that comboland is a place that exists roughly 2.5 miles off the coast of Tavarua and isn’t quite as lovely as the heart-shaped isle. But Kolohe can’t feel stung. After a shaky start to the year, Brother backed up his 2nd place at Rio with a 3rd here and clawed himself into the top 10. More importantly, he’s surfing like he belongs in the top 10. He’s surfing like he believes in himself. And we kind of do, too.

One last kiss
The final started out with a dick-measuring contest as Gabriel Medina and Nat Young paddled each other foolishly far up the reef. Turns out, Nat’s is bigger and turns out, that doesn’t matter. From the top of the reef, Gabriel caught an average wave and disinterestedly rode it as far as he possibly could — he was basically just hopping through flat water by the end of it. It was confusing, until less than a minute later when he spun around (from an actual good spot in the lineup) and locked in his first score of the heat while Nat was still paddling back from no man’s land. There’s no way of telling if this was a setup play, or just a smart competitor recognizing a big opportunity. Either way, it worked. Gabriel controlled the pace the entire heat. At one point, Nat breathed hope with an 8.17 — but Gabriel was on a wave right behind him and got a 9.87. After that, the ocean slowed and Nat never really had a chance to respond. Nevertheless, Santa Cruz’s finest should be totally happy with his result. But he’s not. Nat wants to win so badly — he’s over the bridesmaids. And given the way he’s surfing, it’s only a matter of time…

Back to Gabe. The biggest change in his surfing this year is in the way he’s competing. So smart, so collected. In his heat against Kolohe, Gabriel almost pulled a page from the book of Mick Fanning and surfed with reservation. And even in the final against Nat, Gabriel only did what it took to win — which is nothing too fancy. Until, of course, he had Nat comboed, in which case he stuck a full rotation alley-oop then attempted an air reverse without so much as a pump in between. And now he’s back in the ratings lead. Looking at his scoreline — 1st, 5th, 9th, 13th, 1st — he only has one throwaway. The next event is at J-Bay, a wave that can be rather difficult for goofy-footers not named Mark Occhilupo. Because after Jeff’s, the tour’s backend features all waves where Medina could shine. Gabe sees you, 2014 world title.

They say that tomorrow…
Tavarua will be back open to privileged newlyweds from all over this big, blue earth. And Jimmicane will be hung over.

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  • paulo

    The victory was the best surfer throughout compeonato, Gabriel is showing that today dictates the rules in the world, strong and intelligent circuit and an incomparable talent.

  • Ben

    Deserved victory. Best surfer of the event. Too bad the waves weren’t bigger though.

  • DGCOVA

    Medina is da CALIBOYS asss kicker….. smoked Andino and Nat!!! both surfed awesome ….butt Medina was oooooon fiiiiiiire!!!!!

  • John Macble

    Excellent comments!

  • Paulyboy

    Medina’s rail surfing is very impressive. His barrel riding skills are beyond his years. His air game is ridiculous. KS claimed Gabe would be the first Brazo world champ a couple of years ago and he doesn’t make those types of claims. Looks like it could be this year. Once KS retires it will be John John and Medina taking the torch….Kolohe and Nat are not going to be in the equation for world titles anytime soon.

  • frothdog

    don’t write nat off, he’s got what it takes to be a champ. just needs that 1st win

  • Chico

    Cant wait to watch Gabriel dig rail at JBay. This place is going to UNVEIL how bad his style is as well as Brother being unable to hold rail. Both will be bogging if JBay is doing its thing.

  • Luciano Predebon

    I disagree, Medina said he never been to JBay, and it doesn’t matter at all, he can surf any wave on earth and you’ll see him heating up the cold water in SAfrica putting pressure on everyone in front of him.

  • mateo

    yep, Medina will shine at J-Bay. He knows how to speed down the line, bottom turn hard, and hook just below the lip, or speed arc if the situation warrants. And he will get tubed.

    His minimal weaknesses are rapidly evaporating.

  • mateo

    Nat will obviously be well-suited, as well, while Kolohe will have to dig a little deeper for the kind of composure necessary @ j-bay. Ironically, I don’t quite see Michel’s brand of muscle quite fitting the long walls, but I could be wrong.

    That said, Fanning and Parko link together arcs of flow and beauty out there – the proper inheritors of Curren’s technical mastery. Then there’s the more eclectic staccato flair that Kelly, Taj, and Jordy bring…

    If the old guard is going to reimpose dominance for one more year, J-Bay would seem like the place to do it.

  • mateo

    Ooh, sorry, i don’t think Jordy would like to be lumped with the old guard. I bet he gets a title at some point, but no dynasty for him. That’s what happens when you come in hot but before a dominant generation (+ Slater’s trans-generational dominion) is ready to pass the torch.

  • mateo

    What I find interesting – the new ASP will no doubt be torn between the
    kind of publicity that a sweet dozen titles for Slater would bring and
    the need to set a course for the post-Slater era. It is starting to seem
    like the next generation is going to shine on its own merits — Medina,
    Nat, Bourez, Wilson, Smith, Florence, and Toledo (Pupo and Zietz?), whether they formally ‘take’ the title from Slater or not.

  • freerider25

    NO CONTESTS=NO PROS =NO EGOS=NO WINNERS OR LOSERS=NO TEENIE BOPPER SURF STAR GROUPIES

  • Fábio Menegat

    waiting for Miguel Puppo.

  • Fábio Menegat

    Your style is cute

  • Michael S

    Yeah Medina’s surfing is incredible. He can do it all. Remember this year Quik Pro he beat Parko at Snapper! He will grab another good result at JBay.

  • Paulyboy

    Sounds like you need a trophy for finishing DFL when you were surfing comps.

  • Jeffrey

    I like how I’ve seen the same pictures on other websites of the same people doing the same stuff, yet jimmicane’s shots are so much better

  • JB

    Kelly has another ten years before he is going to slow down and hand the show over to the next generation. Kelly is in phenomenal physical & mental shape there is no doubt he will keep winning titles because he has the skill set and the experience that will keep him on top!