When you’re a young surfer capable of completing near-impossible aerial tricks with ease (like a backflip[above]), the YouTube community is going to stop and take notice. When you’re capable of transitioning that limitless aerial repertoire to the contest scene, which is being broadcast to millions around the world, and taking down the top surfers in the process, everyone will stop and take notice. Such is the story of Gabriel Medina, the wunderkind from Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Upon qualifying for the WCT during the 2011 mid-year reshuffle, he immediately he established that he belonged, winning two events. In the time since, he’s proven that he’s more than a young surfer who likes to do airs, he’s also demonstrated a powerful rail game and comfort in big, heaving, reefbreak barrels. With a skillset that doesn’t seem to have a glaring weakness, Medina could well become the first Brazilian to win a WCT world title. Keep watching.