Just when you thought you had a handle on this air force of Brazilians who have shelled the ASP this year and stormed the usual Aussie/American stronghold of pro surfing, another war hero steps to the front lines. That soldier today was Gabriel Medina, who just won the SuperSurf World Prime presented by Peugeot in Imbituba, Brazil.
The surf continued in the overhead range, though more manageable than yesterday. Many waves were challenging with a drop and only enough juice for one real move. With more favorable winds, it was a pretty solid day in Santa Catarina, as the beach swelled for the final.
This event marks the end of the 2011 Brazilian leg of the ASP tour that has included the Billabong Pro Rio, the Saquarema Surf Pro International, and the SuperSurf in Santa Catarina. Two of the three were won by Brazilains, and the third had a Brazilian in the final. Brazilians winning in Brazil, in itself, is not a stretch, but consider that the best surfers in the world are scrambling for the Prime event points right now, it becomes clear how significant this is.
Just look at Medina's numbers in this contest. There were three perfect ten scores thrown in this event and he had two of them -- one for a stunning air reverse in the quarterfinals against Damien Hobgood, and another to scorch Tom Whitaker in the final. The forth, fifth, and sixth highest wave scores of the event also went to Medina, a 9.87 in the semis, a 9.73 in the quarterfinal, and another 9.73 in the semi. He had the top three heats with over 19 point totals!
Brazil's Miguel Pupo notched a 9.57 in the round of 48, and right behind that on the leader board, Medina had the eighth, ninth, and tenth highest waves of the event. He had a 9.33 in his semi against New Zealand's Richard Chirstie that didn't even count.
Medina did solid turns where needed and took to the air when the situation called for it. Today was a clinic of precision frontside surfing.
Medina and Hizunome Bettero were the last remaining Brazilians in the quarterfinal. Bettero went down to former tour surfer, Whitaker, who marched to the final by taking out Gabe Kling by half a point. The rest of the story was all Medina.
Take a minute to get to know Medina, because he's right there with Montiero, de Souza, Pupo, Santos, and Andre. The 17-year-old won the Quik King of the Groms world title in 2009 and this year he was awarded a wildcard into the Bells event. He's goofy-foot and has the whole repertoire. Don't be surprised to see him in more world tour events this fall.
2011 SuperSurf World Prime Results
1-Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19.10
2-Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.66
SF 1: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 13.77 def Gabe Kling (USA) 13.10
SF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19.60 def Richard Christie (NZL) 15.20