Goofyfooter Delight: Gabriel Medina Wins 2014 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks
“I still don’t know,” Gabriel Medina said afterward, still trying to put the past three heats and several hours into perspective. “I’m still trying to figure out how I did it.”
Mick Fanning. Taj Burrow. Joel Parkinson. All former Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast champions, all country favorites, all regular-footers, all victim of Medina’s unexpected march to the event title. He did it with gusto and supreme confidence and a ferocious backhand attack, and with it, Medina became the first goofy-footer to win at Snapper Rocks since 2004.
Medina was still in shock after riding upon the shoulders of his father and friends, while surrounded by his fellow countrymen turned expatriates in Australia, who were there to share in the festivities and shower Medina with songs of their homeland and make it feel all that more fitting that the setting at Snapper came to be called “Rainbow de Janeiro.” (Snapper Rocks is situated in Rainbow Bay.)
It was an unlikely result for the 20-year-old Brazilian, who had to rely on last-minute scores in three consecutive heats (quarters, semis and finals) on the final day of competition. In each instance, Medina was seeking at least a mid-range to excellent level score in order to keep his campaign in the opening event of the Samsung Galaxy World Championship Tour alive. Known primarily for his aerial prowess, Medina unveiled a powerful backhand game that catered well to the long, racy lines rolling into the Super Bank.
After eight days of no competition due to a lack of swell. the final two days of the window allowed the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro to be completed in phenomenal Snapper conditions, with huge hacks, airs and barrels on offer.
Coming into the final day of competition, only Medina and Adriano de Souza remained for Team Oakley. The pair put together some stellar performances that caused some of the biggest upsets of the event. Medina managed to best reigning world champ Mick Fanning, the hometown hero, in their quarterfinal clash, while de Souza was able to keep 11-times world champ Kelly Slater on his heels and unable to advance. In the semis, with the clock ticking down, Medina took off on a smaller wave mid-way down the bank and proceeded to tear the wave apart with power hacks and sweeping turns.
In de Souza’s semifinal with the other local favorite, Joel Parkinson, it was Parko’s comfort and understanding of the barrel sections at the top of the point that proved too much, with Parko posting the highest two-wave score of the event.
Parko started the final much as he had ended the semi, with a well-navigated barrel from behind the Snapper rocks, scoring a 9.0 before Medina had even sniffed a wave. The pair would trade waves throughout the 35-minute heat, before Medina took the lead with another inside runner, similar to the one that had helped him best Burrow in the semifinals.
As if the Brazilian environment wasn’t strong enough with all the green and yellow flags and singing on the beach, after the award ceremony, Medina’s camp asked the beach announcers for one last favor. In the fashion of Neymar, another famous Brazilan wunderkind and one of the most famous soccer plays in the world, Medina and his camp danced to “Lepo Lepo” while the crowd joined in. The party was just beginning and would carry late into the night. We’ll see if it is able to make its way to Margaret River.