PRAIA DA VILA, Brazil — The young Brazilian, Gabriel Medina, 17, wins the ASP PRIME Supersurf Internacional Prime with a perfect 10 in spectacular conditions with sunny skies, no wind and long left-handers breaking in the 6-8 foot range along Praia da Vila in the final day of competition against veteran Australian surfer, Tom Whitaker, 31, states a press release from the Association of Surfing Professionals.
Boosting two big airs in the Final heat, an emotional Medina thanked the crowd on the beach for cheering him on.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Gabriel Medina. “I won the event two years ago in Florianopolis when I was 15, but this is unbelievable! It’s the first time I surfed here at Praia da Vila and I wanted to do well. I brought my entire family and I felt right at home. I just wanted to thank everyone here in Imbituba and my sponsors, because without them, I wouldn’t be here.”
Tom Whitaker (AUS) started off the final heat scoring a 6.83. But Medina came back by paddling into a wave and began by throwing a big frontside air, followed by consecutive turns ending in another big air, scoring a 9.10 out of a possible 10 points. With the support from the crowd on the beach, an inspired Medina added on a perfect 10 point ride on a wave that saw him start off by boosting another big frontside aerial followed by a cutback and another series of sensational turns at Praia da Vila.
“Gabriel was the best surfer of the event, without a doubt,” said Tom Whitaker. “Nobody was able to beat him today. It’s nice to see a young surfer winning such an important event as this one. I think the future of Brazilian surfing is guaranteed and I think everyone should be proud to have such a talented surfer. I love this place, I’ve had good results here (Whitaker was the runner-up at the Brazilian ASP World Tour event in 2004) and so I’m happy with a good finish.”
In the semifinal heat against Richard Christie (NZL), Gabriel Medina was able to show his speed and vast repertoire of progressive surfing by throwing a “Superman” and several stylish laybacks, carves and off-the-tops.
“I really wanted to make it into the Final, but there wasn’t much I could do with Gabriel (Medina) surfing the way he did,” said Richard Christie (NZL). “I watched his heat against Damien (Hobgood) and he was throwing one crazy air after another. I knew he was going to do the same thing against me. He deserves congratulations and I’m happy with my result here because I earned some valuable ranking points.”
Christie went from number 55 on the ASP World Ranking to number 44. Gabe Kling (USA) who also made it to the semifinals jumped from 47th to 41st with the 4,225 points he received with his equal 3rd place finish at Imbituba.
“It was a tough heat,” said Gabe Kling. “I even thought I won on that last wave I caught. I think maybe I needed a stronger first turn, but a 3rd place is great for me. The waves were great the whole day and I think it made up for the difficult conditions yesterday (Saturday).”