Gabriel Medina Wins The Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco
"The champ, the champ!" a small contingent of Brazilian fans chanted as 17-year old Gabriel Medina took to the stage after handily beating Joel Parkinson to win his second world tour event in just four tries. "I don't know what I did," he said coyly from the dais. He didn't say much, but his smirk told the story; a small upward curl at the edges of his lips, that of someone who didn't seem all that surprised they'd just won another event.
And the final wasn't even close. He opened up with a 7.5, then minutes later unleashed a vertical backhand hook in the pocket of a frothy right, followed by a series of gaffs for a 9. Parko seemed stunned from the barrage and never recovered.
Parko was far from the only guy that Gabriel Medina tore through in San Francisco, an event favored to be won by a fit, wave-savvy power surfer like Slater, Parko, or Taylor Knox. Medina took all three down, and then some.
There have been Brazilian world title contenders in the past. This time is different. For anyone who thought the mid-year reseeding of the tour was a waste of time, Medina's world tour results beg to differ. His secret? "No secret," he says, "I've been training a lot, competing a lot, getting more experience." If his answer sounds a little stock and boring, well, it is. But in the water, he's a sinewy bolt of electricity, so we'll forgive the understated answers.
Some have wondered how he'll do in the heavier stops on tour. We'll find out in almost exactly a month at Pipe. Medina isn't messing around with the rest of the Triple Crown; he's already got his sights set on doing well at Pipe. "I'm going straight to Hawaii, no Triple Crown, just Pipe," he says. "I will surf Pipe every day."
Between Miguel Pupo winning the Coldwater Classic last week in Santa Cruz (who happens to travel with Gabriel), and Medina taking out the Search event, plus Adriano DeSouza winning in Portugal, and Medina winning France before that, it may be time for the surfing world to learn Portuguese.—Casey Koteen
Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco Final Results:
1st. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
2nd. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
=3rd. Taylor Knox (USA), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
=5th. Kieren Perrow (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA), Brett Simpson (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS)
ASP Press Release
Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco
ASP World Title Event No. 10 of 11
Ocean Beach, San Francisco, California USA
November 1 – 12, 2011
Gabriel Medina Wins Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco
OCEAN BEACH, San Francisco/California (Monday, November 7, 2011) – Gabriel Medina (BRA), 17, has won the Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco, defeating Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, in firing three-to-five foot waves at Ocean Beach to secure his second elite ASP World Tour victory this season.
Stop No. 10 of 11 on the men's ASP World Title Race, the Rip Curl Pro Search saw Kelly Slater (USA), 39, officially secure his 11th ASP World Title yesterday while several surfers looking to secure a result prior to the ASP Top 34 end of year rotation put in stellar performances.
Medina, who joined the ASP Top 34 after the midyear rotation, has been in amazing form thus far, winning two events after competing in just four as an official member of the 2011 roster. The highly-touted Brazilian wasted little time in his Final campaign against Parkinson, belting a 7.50 and a 9.00, both out of 10, in the opening minutes with critical backhand blasts and controlled the heat throughout its entirety.
"This has been incredible," Medina said. "This is my second World Tour win and it has been great. I'm having fun on the Tour. I don't know what I did out there, I just try to go big and it was great to have a final with Parko (Joel Parkinson). He is one of my favorite surfers."
Medina's run on the Final day of competition was nothing short of amazing, as he took the day's highest heat total of 17.33, out of 20, while defeating freshly crowned 11-Time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 39, and Taylor Knox (USA), 40, before topping the Stylish Australian in the Final.
"I feel good and confident and I'm really happy," Medina said after his Semifinals heat win. "It was hard with Taylor (Knox) and Kelly (Slater) and I'm just stoked. That was a tough heat and I knew it'd be hard. I just got my last wave and it saved me. Conditions are kind of fun, it's cold, but it's really fun and I just tried my best."
Parkinson quietly navigated through the opening rounds of competition, but lit up the high-performance beachbreak conditions on the final day, threading several technical barrels and unloading his patented carves en route to the Final, but was unable to put a stop to Medina and finished runner-up overall.
"It would have been nice to have won that won but I couldn't find a wave out there," Parkinson said. "Gabriel (Medina) has been absolutely ripping this whole event and congratulations to him. He's got a huge future and I'm excited to watch him over the next few years. I just want to thank everyone here in San Francisco, it's been amazing."
Taylor Knox (USA), 40, was impressive in the powerful beachbreak conditions on offer at Ocean Beach, besting high-flying Brazilian Miguel Pupo (BRA), 19, veteran Australian Kieren Perrow (AUS), 34, and Bede Durbidge (AUS), 28, to match his season-best result of an equal 3rd place finish after he fell to Medina in the Semifinals.
"I'm happy to be in the Semifinals and be one of the last four standing," Knox said. "I've really felt like my consistency finally came around, at age 40. I've been finding my zone and having fun and been enjoying the city and surfing as well and enjoying the culture a little."
Alejo Muniz (BRA), 21, 2011 ASP Dream Tour rookie, matched his best result of the year today, cracking the Semifinals for the third time this season. The young South American blitzed an in-form Brett Simpson (USA), 26, in the Quarterfinals before going down to Parkinson in the Semifinals despite vaulting some solid aerials.
“I’m frustrated to not make the Final again,” Muniz said. “I feel like my surfing is there and I’m ready but it didn’t happen again. It’s okay. This is another good result for me and Joel (Parkinson) was surfing very well. I still have a lot to learn but I know I will keep improving.”
Slater fought hard in his Quarterfinals matchup against young Brazilian Gabriel Medina, but was unable to find the score needed to advance out of the heat and is now changing his focus towards the final stop on the ASP World Tour at the iconic Banzai Pipeline.
"At this point I'm just going to be focused on Pipe," Slater said. "I'd love to win Pipe. Every year Phil Roberts makes an amazing trophy. Gerry Lopez shapes it and Jeff Divine puts a photo on it and Phil Roberts paints it up. In my eyes that's the prized possession in surfing. It's really a piece of surf history. I won three years ago, but two years ago Taj (Burrow) got me and last year I gave Jeremy (Flores) that wave and I didn't get the chance to make that Final. It's exciting to have that chance."
Rip Curl Pro Search San Francisco highlights can be found at www.live.ripcurl.com
The next and final stop on the 2011 ASP World Tour will be the Billabong Pipe Masters, which unfolds from December 8 through 20, 2011. For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH SAN FRANCISCO FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.50
2 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.90
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH SAN FRANCISCO SEMIFINALS RESULTS:
SF 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.33 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 14.27
SF 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.97 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 14.34
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH SAN FRANCISCO QUARTERFINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: Taylor Knox (USA) 14.96 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 12.83
QF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.50 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 11.10
QF 3: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.83 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 11.83
QF 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.76 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.93
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH SAN FRANCISCO ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taylor Knox (USA) 14.67 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.83
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.93 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.70
Heat 3: Brett Simpson (USA) adv. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) *Gudauskas withdraws due to injury
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.60 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 6.40