What we’re beginning to learn about Gabriel Medina is that, despite his perception as a win-at-all costs competitor, it’s not actually the winning part that gets Medina off. Rather, it’s the competition itself. It’s becoming clear that Gabriel loves the art (…sport, war?) of competing more than he relishes in victory.
Hear me out:
You really think that this freakishly talented, tactically brilliant surfer couldn’t take the gold jersey at Snapper and run with it through Pipe if hereallywanted to?
Because he pretty much did that in 2014 and, besides becoming the first Brazilian World Champ in the process, chances are he found it a little boring.
The ‘truth’ is, Gabby doesn’t come close to his potential until he sees someone worth chasing – typically John, but this year, Filipe and Julian. It’s then that he puts on the competitive blinders and goes into Terminator mode, which is one of the most incredible things to watch in professional surfing.
Gabby’s demeanor goes dark, his tactics becomemorally ambiguous, and his surfing, well, the guy doesn’t fucking fall.
This typically happens right around Teahupo’o, when the season passes its halfway mark and a World Title looms over the horizon. Then, with his prey clearly in vision, Medina begins the hunt.
He’s come up just shy in years past, but this season Gabby looks invincible.
With Julian out in the quarters in Portugal, Medina could have won the Title by winning the event. While it would be ludicrous to say Gabby threw his semi against Italo (which saw Medina surf 10+ waves to a 14-point total, with several passionate gesticulations thrown in for good measure), it wouldn’t surprise us if he’d prefer that the Title goes down at Pipe.
Because without some external force driving him to compete, Gabby becomes lifeless and lethargic.
He wants blood, and hell, so do we.
As it were, here are the Title scenarios heading into Pipe:
-If Gabriel Medina finishes 1st or 2nd at Pipeline he wins the World Title.
-If Gabriel Medina places 3rd at Pipeline, Julian Wilson and Filipe Toledo will need a 1st to win the World Title.
-If Gabriel Medina finishes 5th or worse at Pipeline, Julian Wilson and Filipe Toledo will need to make the final to win the World Title.
It ain’t a sure thing, but with Medina’s track record at Pipe and an ample lead over his competitors, things are looking damn good for the future 2x Champ.