Coming into the 2019 Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Gabriel Medina was wearing the yellow jersey and had a chance to clinch his third World Title at the event. Similar to the 2018 scenario, he was in a position where he had the opportunity to win the Title by reaching the pointy end of the event. If his close competitors fell out early, the Title could be his in Portugal.
Towards the start of the event, the odds were stacked in his favour and Gabriel looked unstoppable. Every air, every turn, every wave choice, was calculated and precise. It was clear he was not going to let anything get in the way of making it through to those Final rounds of the event.
Until he made a mistake. This is a sentence, and a word, very rarely said in relation to Gabriel Medina. He doesn’t make mistakes.
But in the Round of 16, that’s exactly what he did. Gabriel didn’t look at the priority board, and although he was well in the lead, he paddled for a wave to block Caio from bettering his score.
That interference cost him the yellow jersey, and put him in a position where he will have to fight for the Title at Pipeline.
But here’s the rub. Winning a World Title ain’t easy. Winning multiple World Titles is even harder. And going back-to-back? That’s a whole other league. And no matter how bionic or superhuman a surfer might be, mistakes, to some extent, are inevitable. It’s how we learn.
To help put some perspective on the inner workings of Gabriel Medina, we asked three World Champions – 11x World Champion Kelly Slater, 7x World Champion Stephanie Gilmore and World Champion Martin Potter – about their thoughts on Gabs, from the perspective of someone who understands what it takes to achieve what Gabriel is attempting to do.
Watch as we follow Gabriel Medina through his campaign at the 2019 Rip Curl Pro Portugal, and listen as Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore and Martin Potter narrate through the eyes of World Champions.