Brazilian Gabriel Mendina takes ASP World Title at Pipeline
GABRIEL Medina, 20, made history today, becoming the first Brazilian to claim the prestigious ASP World Title, besting an international field of world-class athletes on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT).
The young Brazilian secured his remarkable world surfing crown at the final stop of the season, the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons on Oahu's North Shore.
"Winning the World Title was my dream and now it's reality - I'm seriously shocked," Medina said. "Brazil is partying right now I think. I'm so thankful to be part of this, a lot of guys have tried to do this and I feel honored to be the one. I don't know why it's me but I'm really happy it is and I'm so proud to be Brazilian."
Medina commenced his historic 2014 season run with an impressive win on Australia's Gold Coast before posting respectable results in Margaret River and at Bells Beach. Despite a slight stumbleat home with a 13th in Rio, Medina rebounding with an emphatic win in Fiji. Medina's South Pacific form was not limited to Fiji, as the young Brazilian scored a sensational win in deadly conditions at Tahiti's Teahupo'o over rival Kelly Slater (USA).
"Teahupo'o could have been a turning point," Medina said. "We had serious waves and to beat Kelly (Slater) there in the Final, it made me believe that this could be my year."
Heading into the European leg, the surfing world assumed that Medina would lock up the title before the Hawaiian season, but competitive stumbles in France and Portugal were capitalized on by opponents Mick Fanning (AUS) and Slater, sending the title race to Pipeline.
Posting a solid win over lethal wildcard Dusty Payne (HAW) in Round 3 of the Billabong Pipe Masters this morning, Medina successfully eliminated Slater from title contention. Fanning's elimination in Round 5 by compatriot Alejo Muniz (BRA) sealed Medina's fate and the capacity crowd at the beach erupted for the young Brazilian.
"It feels so amazing to win and I don't know what to say right now," said Medina. "I have great support there. Alejo (Muniz) just helped me win. I just love the crowd, I love this sport, everything has paid off right. I can't wait to see the trophy."
"I always look up to Kelly (Slater) and Mick (Fanning)," Medina said. "Kelly won his first world title when I was born maybe, I don't know. Mick is an inspiration for me, I always look up to him. How he his, so focused, just how he his. Kelly is a great guy as well. I don't know man, I don't know what to say, it's my best day ever!"
Today's title clinching places Medina in the rarefied atmosphere of not only becoming the first Brazilian to claim the world surfing crown, but also the first 20-year-old to do so since Slater in 1992.
"I trained hard and did everything that I could to get here," Medina said. "I worked all year to try to improve and I reached my goal. I'm stoked, I just love everything! I still can't believe it, I think you guys are lying! Maybe tomorrow it will seem more real but right now I can't event think about it."
"I want to thank everyone so much for their support," said Medina. "This is a really special day, not just for me but for my family, the fans and the sport. The crowd and the fans make this all so special, so thank you."