The Case For A Brazilian World Champ

posted by / WSL / February 26, 2014

Gabriel MedinaGabriel Medina. Photo: Corey Wilson

It is not a question of “if”, but rather “when.” Every surf fan around the globe – even the harshest critics of Brazilian surfing – knows that a Brazzo will eventually win the World Title. It’s only a matter of time. Right?

Well, 2014 has arrived and a new era in pro surfing looms on the horizon. ZoSea promises big changes, Slater is close to retirement – yet when you talk about favorites to take the Title, the same names seem to come up: Slater, Fanning, Parko, Burrow. Maybe John John and Jordy get on that list now too. But very few would put their money on a Brazilian.

But competitive surfing is just as unpredictable as a Brazilian World Champ in 2014 is improbable. It could happen. This year. And this is why.

Candidate 1: Adriano de Souza

De Souza – or Mineirinho, as he’s called back home – is a grinder. A blue-collar surfers’ hero driven to the max. His dedication and relentlessness is second to none. He wants to win more than anything and is scared of no one. Not even Slater – who he’s beaten 5 times in World Tour events. It’s no wonder he’s achieved far more in his 8 years on Tour than surfers arguably better than him. He won four events and was in the Top 10 for 5 years straight (’08 – ’12), having dropped only a few spots over the last couple of years.

He’s won at 4 of the 11 stops on the 2014 Tour: Bells, Rio, J-Bay (‘QS event) and Portugal. He made the finals on the Goldy and semis at Trestles, Fiji and France. If can get similar results at these spots, he could very well arrive in Hawaii – which has always been his Achilles’ heel – with the Title in the bag. That would obviously be a difficult task, but all he needs is a couple good results to get on a roll – with a win and a semi in the last two ‘QS events in Australia, this might just be Mieirinho’s year.

Candidate 2: Gabriel Medina

Brazil’s wunderkind doesn’t have De Souza’s track record, but he’s got an arsenal that can trump experience. He makes backflips seem terrestrial and pulls massive air reverses in his sleep. He’s not even 20 years old, yet he can ride the barrel like a true master. He won twice in his rookie season. And most importantly, he’s got flair.

For Medina to clinch the Title in 2014, he needs one thing: consistency. Even though he made the semis in Rio and the finals in Fiji, last year proved to be a tough one for him. But Medina genuinely seems to have learned more from his recent losses than his out-of-the-gate wins. Having written off 2013 as a “bad year”, he arrived in Hawaii with his eyes already set in 2014. Maybe that’s why he shined at Pipe, demolishing Bruce Irons and barely losing to event finalist John John Florence. Medina has all the tools at his disposal – the surfing, the flair and that Brazilian warrior mentality. If he starts the year with a bang, he’ll be difficult to stop.

—Steven Allain, International Editor of HardCore Magazine, Brazil

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  • Ben

    Important point: If judges continue to overscore Mick’s surfing and underscore Gabriel’s (see France 2013) then it doesn’t matter how well a Brazillian surfs, cause Mick wins for doing what he does in his sleep.

  • ruco

    … Mick always over scored for doing what he does in his sleep
    everybody i know totally agree

  • Rob

    ^^^^ one of the most true statements i’ve heard in a while

  • Yoda

    Well, if style counts for anything anymore, neither should be world champ.

  • b

    Is this the year for brazil? lol I sure hope not

  • chris eaves

    what about adriano making finals at volcom pipe pro??? doesn’t make him a master but making final in firing pipe showed massive improvement. His stats are final, win, semi

  • Ed

    Adriano is a fighter and can very well be a world champ. Mick’s a terrible style, surfs like robocop and has won 3 titles already just because he’s a fighter too. The fact he’s aussie made things a bit easier for him, but he fought hard and left guys like Parko and Kelly behind. Can DeSouza do that? With a “little help” he sure can.

    Medina has just come back from an ancle injury and will either be injuried again and again or lose interest on the tour due to lack of results.

  • Luiz

    If you’re going to criticize ASP judges, don’t doit at their page on facebook. They will block you from posting afterwords. Very democratic…

  • Chris

    One interesting thing I’ve noticed on the statistics about Medina on the ASP web page: He has the 2nd best average score, losing only to you know who and the 4th higher heat wins percentage, behind Kelly, Mick and Joel. Considering all the other surfers, he is the only one at the same level of the 3 only world champs from the last decade, statisticaly speaking…

  • Alexandre

    Boa Stevão!

  • Hector

    De souza has a horrible style, no flow.
    On the other hand Medina is ripping.

  • turtle

    who bangs the hottest chicks on tour. this is the question we should be pondering

  • willie

    the brazils need to humble themselves and quit being so disrespectful and LOUD were ever they go no brazil chimp until that happens

  • Zbah

    Its not that a brazzo couldnt win, its that they shouldnt. None of them are good enough. Neither surfer is anywhere near micks level. Mick is not over scored except in the minds of people who don’t truly understand the difference between flat turns and putting it on a rail. Surfers who think mick is just doing cutbacks need to take a closer look. The judges have it right

  • Ben

    Mick rips, to be sure, but his ripping is narrowly conscribed. He lacks the repertoire of the Slaters, John Johns, and Jordys. Medina’s turns are getting much better, and Mick couldn’t match his progression in a million years.

  • willie

    power always and forever will dominate tricks enough said

  • Surfer

    In order to a Brazilian to win they have to beat the judges. Difficult task. They just gave CJ a win. Adriano got screwed in this one. How come one judge gave 6.1 and other 7.1? This is a big diference. This is not professional. ASP judge panel. What a bad joke.

  • Ztrois

    In fact, Medina was to have 4 wins in WCT because elém having won 2 in 201, he won the Julian Wilson in 2012 as Mick Fanning in 2013. If he was Australian or American would have been world champion. Brazilians are the Hawaiians of old, and as revealed, there is a “World Title Points”, which means that there is currently an ASP – Australian / American Surf Protection.

  • Alex Bichara

    Boa Steve!!! cara muito bom!!! parabéns! Abs

  • Cristiano Chiarello

    Excellent article!

  • Rod

    What about now, Zbah?

  • Tony

    History is one beautiful thing ain’t it.