Standing at the water’s edge at the 2014 Pipe Masters watching dozens – possibly hundreds – of Brazilians chanting, dancing, screaming, waving flags, and crying with tears of joy as Gabriel Medina was chaired up the beach as a World Champion, I did not fully realize what I was witnessing….
On the rock and around the globe it seems like there’s a lot of animosity towards Gabriel and towards Brazilian surfing as a whole leading up to, and after he won the World Title.
Heck, I’ve been in the water where – at the time – I thought Brazilian surfer(s) just sucked the fun out of an entire session with their ‘over-aggressiveness’.
Anyways, debate or not, Gabriel deserved to win the title one hundred percent (shit, probably the Pipe Masters too), but more importantly is that what he did is so much bigger than himself.
This 20-year-old STOMPED ON EVERYBODY’S THROATS TO WIN THAT TITLE FOR BRAZIL.
And today, I respect Brazilian surfers more than ever.
Many of the best surfers from all over the world come to the seven-mile miracle and compete for a chance to either launch their careers or keep the momentum going, and next to the Hawaiians, Brazilian surfers run these beaches.
The Hawaiians and the Brazilians, from my experience, are tight. Hell, they’re like cousins. They are not only the epitome of strength and fitness, they know how to use if it comes down to it.
These dudes are ready, and I mean READY.
How many people can honestly say they are ready right this very moment for whatever physically demanding challenges are thrown their way?
An elite athlete’s training regimen?
Surfing 12-foot (Hawaiian) Sunset Beach?
Defending yourself against multiple attackers?
It’s actually something everyone should strive to achieve and if not, definitely respect.
“Sparta, Rome, the Knights of Europe, the Samurai….all shared the lone ideal: the honor of strength, because it is strength that makes all other values possible. Nothing survives without it. Who knows what delicate wonders have died out of the world for want of the strength to survive. Civilizations highest ideas–justice–could not exist without strong men to enforce it.”Excerpt from Han, the villain in Bruce Lee’s ‘Enter The Dragon’
Oh, so that ‘Brazzy’ just paddled around you 37 times like you’re invisible???
Well, my friend, what the FUCK are YOU going to do about it??
Some of the best guys in the lineup everywhere I go are Brazilians and THEY ARE GETTING AFTER IT and I respect that.
So the way I see things, there are three options for the international surfing community and aspiring young surfers to handle themselves about Brazilian surfers moving forward:
1. Whine and complain
2. Tip your hat from the slow lane
3. Get on their level
Nobody is going to get any better at wasting time on number one, and what real winner would be stoked watching from the slow lane?
Brazilians and many other extraordinarily talented Latin & South American surfers may actually just be nature’s way of restoring the balance to surfing.
With surfing going ‘mainstream’, overly-packed lineups, blatant disregard for surfing’s etiquette, and pecking orders, this shift should come as a welcome sight.
Gabriel’s 2014 Wins:
- 1st place over Joel Parkinson at Joel’s home break of Snapper Rocks – The first backside surfer to wins since 2004 (Mick Lowe) and the first Brazilian surfer to win the event.
- 1st place over Nat Young in Fiji, where Nat Young came into the final surfing really well but Gabriel was absolutely unstoppable.
- 1st place over Kelly Slater in Tahiti. If my memory serves me correctly I’m pretty sure Gabriel only fell once in the whole event and changed his strategy in the final to pack the bombs in defiance of rumblings that he was only taking the longer smaller tubes up to that point in the event.