Less than two months ago, Gabriel Medina was one heat away from winning the 2018 World Title. It was Finals Day at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal and all he had to do was win his SemiFinal heat against Italo Ferreira.
The conditions had been changing all day – the ocean was small, the tides were shifting and Supertubos was as fickle a beast as she has ever been. Italo sat on the inside, picking off shorebreak drainers and finding air sections in front of the crowd. Gabriel sat on a peak out the back, waiting patiently for a wave that allowed him to open up. That wave never came, and by the time he realised what had happened, it was too late.
It was so close he could smell it. And when Gabriel smells victory, his focus sharpens.
Coming into the Final event of the season – the Pipe Masters – Gabriel is calm. He knows what he’s there to do, and the clarity is relaxing. The scenarios are simple…
- If Gabriel Medina finishes 1st or 2nd at Pipeline, he wins the World Title.
- If Gabriel Medina places 3rd at Pipeline, Julian Wilson and Filipe Toledo will need a 1st to win the World Title.
- If Gabriel Medina finished 5th or worse at Pipeline, Julian Wilson and Filipe Toledo will need to make the Final to win the World Title.
In 2017, Gabriel had a shot at the World Title, but the scenarios were muddy. The odds weren’t in his favour, and if John preformed, it was out of his hands. John won the Title in 2017.
This year the situation is different. 2018 is Gabriel’s to lose. The ball is in his court, the odds are in his favour and it will come down to his performance – no one else’s. If he makes it to the Final, he wins.
The focus is clear, the goal is just six heats away, and Gabriel has never been more ready.