Gabriel Medina (BRA) claimed victory today at the Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o, Stop No. 7 of the World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Championship Tour (CT). An exciting Finals Day witnessed Gabriel take his first win of the 2018 season in clean three-to-five foot (1 - 1.5 metre) waves at the famed South Pacific reef pass.
The 2014 WSL Champion earned his big win today by defeating Owen Wright (AUS) in the Final, Jeremy Flores (FRA) in the Semi Finals, and Italo Ferreira (BRA) in the Quarterfinals. Since his first Tahiti Pro win in 2014, Gabriel Medina has never dropped below third place, and today the Brasilian superstar stamps his second win at Teahupo’o.
“I’m just so happy to win here again and, first, I just want to thank God, I came here and trained a lot, and I was just waiting for the victory. I love Tahiti and I’ve had some great Finals here. I’ve won here before, two second-place finishes, and another win now. I have a great family here, which is incredible. Now I can kind of start thinking about winning a World Title. I think anything is possible. There’s a couple of events to go and I just want to keep giving it my best.” Gabriel commented post win.
Gabriel’s victory moves him up from 3rd to 2nd on the Jeep Leaderboard, 6,300 points behind World No. 1 Filipe Toledo (BRA). In last year’s World Title race, Gabriel fell short of the win against John John Florence (HAW). Now, with a win in Tahiti and second on the rankings, the 2014 World Champion is well within striking distance of capturing a second WSL Title this year if he maintains strong results in the final four events.
Current Jeep Rankings Leader Filipe Toledo fell just short of his third Final to eventual runner-up Wright in a hard-fought Semifinal bout. Filipe’s impeccable form throughout the event, including a brilliant Quarterfinal win over rookie Michael February (ZAF), finally gave way during his Semifinal matchup. The Brasilian will retain the Jeep Leader Jersey into the next stop, the Surf Ranch Pro.
“I feel really happy and proud of myself with all the hard work I put out here, and a Semifinal result in Tahiti is definitely a keeper,” Filipe commented. “I’ve been on the Tour for six years now and this is one of those years where everything is clicking and everything’s happening. I’m just making sure to capitalise and get the job done. It’s important to just keep the focus on what I’ve been doing - my training, my surfing and not worrying about the outside world.”
The next stop on the 2018 WSL Championship Tour will be the Surf Ranch Pro presented by Hurley in Lemoore, California from September 6 - 9, 2018. Visit the WSL website for more information.
Photos © WSL / Poullenot