by Tracks September 19, 2015 3 min read
After clinching his – and Brazil’s – first world title in December last year, 21 year old Gabriel Medina has been lavishing in the spoils of his seat at the top with an elaborate cocktail of VIP parties, TV appearances and lucrative contract offerings. But, juggling his new found celebrity status whilst defending his title in 2015, hasn’t been easy. With lack lustre performances and controversy at the first stop of the year, Medina has struggled to find form. Tracks caught up with the Brazilian super star to chat about the current world title race, achieving his dreams and beyond.
TRACKS: Tell us what it was like for you in Brazil after winning the world title, especially with all the media attention and focus?
Gabriel: Yeah it’s been fun, a lot of things changing in my life. Now I have to work a little bit more, inside of the water and outside of the water. Because we (Brazil) never had a world champion in surfing, so it feels good to be the first one. I had a dream you know to win a world title, and I’m stoked I’m just 21 and I already made my dream come true. Some people they have a dream and they cannot achieve it. Me, I’m only 21 and I already got my dream. It’s amazing! (Big smile).
TRACKS: Your family must be very proud of you?
Gabriel: Yeah that’s the best part of it, you know, make my family proud of me.
TRACKS: How much does it help having your family around to support you and cheer you on at events?
Gabriel: Yeah it helps me alot. I love to travel with them. I feel I’m at home always so I just feel comfortable with them and that’s why I bring them. And it’s a dream as well. Since I started surfing, we didn’t have much money. Now, I can bring them to California, Australia or whatever. Yeah it’s really good, I’m just enjoying life!
TRACKS: You had a slow start to the year but it looks like you’ve started to find your rhythm again at these past few events (since J-Bay). What’s changed?
Gabriel: The last few events have been really good for me, you know, compared to the beginning of the year. I try to not think about making heats, just surf and try to do my best and be smart in the heats too because I kinda felt like in the beginning of the year, I was just, how can I say, not paying attention, just surfing, if I make it it’s all good, if not it’s all good as well (laughs). Now I’m putting more attention in the heat and trying to be smart. And it’s been working since J-Bay. It’s been good.
TRACKS: What are your goals for the remainder of the year?
Gabriel: Just surf, that’s my goal. I want to be really good, pay attention to everything you know. Hopefully I can make some more heats, just don’t think about it – just surf.
TRACKS: Tell us your thoughts about the current title race, especially with Adriano in the lead.
Gabriel: Adriano is doing great you know. He’s been leading the rankings since Australia. Yeah I mean, it’s going to be tough but he’s got everything to win it. There’s Filipe as well, there’s some guys close to him, Mick all these guys. But he (Adriano) is doing great, a good job, he’s been working a lot. I’ve been watching him. He’s doing the right things so it should be good at the end of the year.
TRACKS: How exciting is it to see the Brazilians doing so well on the tour?
Gabriel: Yeah it’s sick, it’s really good. I think we have three in the quarters already [at Trestles]. It’s good to see my culture doing good in the sport we love. I’m just stoked to be part of this.
Gabriel Medina will face Nat Young in the quarters of the WSL Hurley Pro when competition resumes.