|Gabriel Medina’s win not only jumpstarted his World Title campaign but meant a goofy-footer earned the CT victory in J-Bay for the first time since Mark Occhilupo in 1984. This is the 13th CT win of Medina’s career and the first of 2019 after failing to move past the Quarterfinals so far this season. The 25-year-old took down Italo Ferreira (BRA) in the Final, Kolohe Andino (USA) in the Semifinals and Owen Wright (AUS) in the Quarterfinals.
“That felt so good!” said Medina. “This is a hard contest to win. I had a lot of fun this week, it was amazing and I wasn’t expecting that. I’m really happy right now. Something clicked in that heat that was really special. I knew I could match up with Italo (Ferreira) or Filipe (Toledo), both of them were ripping. I just want to thank God for giving me the waves and I’m so happy I did the job.”
Although Medina only moves up one place to 7th on the Jeep Leaderboard, he is heading into the five events that he has previously won and three of which where he is the defending event winner (Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o, Freshwater Pro, Billabong Pipe Masters). Medina is known to clinch results in the back-half of the season and will be a threat in his hunt for a third World Title.
“It feels so good to get one over Italo (Ferreira),” continued Medina. “He surfs so well, even when he was combo’d I wasn’t comfortable because I know he can do anything. Being in the Final with another goofy-foot was amazing. All the Brasilians are doing so well and to share a Final with Italo means so much. It means a lot and this contest was really special because it’s hard to win out here. I’m back and I feel amazing. I just want to surf and do my best. The year is still long, so I’m happy with a win here.”
The CT event in J-Bay had never seen an all goofy-foot Final before today. The all-Brasilian battle was a momentous clash between Ferreira and Medina. Ferreira opened with a 9.10 (out of a possible 10) to set the tone, but Medina replied with a near-perfect 9.73. It took a while for both surfers to find a winning backup score. Ferreira got a 7.67 and with Medina only requiring something in the 7-point range. He didn’t hold back and matched the speed of the wave, completing his turns in the critical part of the wave with a smooth, flowing rhythm. Medina scored a barreling section to the roar of the crowd and came out flying for a 9.77, capturing 19.50 two-wave total (out of a possible 20) to place Ferreira in a combination situation in the dying minutes.
Ferreira dominated the event with some of the biggest scores in his first run past a 13th place result in J-Bay. The 25-year-old was responsible for the eliminations of J-Bay standout Filipe Toledo (BRA) in the Semifinals, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) in the Quarterfinals, and 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in the Round of 16. Ferreira now sits at World No. 4 on the Jeep Leaderboard behind No. 3 John John Florence (HAW), who withdrew from this event due to injury, No. 2 Toledo, and No. 1 Andino.
“It was a long week, but I was glad to be in the Final with Gabriel (Medina),” said Ferreira. “It was a good heat, I started with the 9.10, but after that Gabriel smashed me. It was so fun to surf that wave. I came here early and tried to surf it without a crowd and tried to test my boards and everything. I’m so happy, it’s a good result and let’s keep it ripping.”