Surfing Today With Rip Curl – Wave Pool Blow Out With Gabriel Medina

Surfing Today With Rip Curl – Wave Pool Blow Out With Gabriel Medina

The Wave Pool Vibe

The feelings and emotions towards the Kelly Slater Wave Pool in Lemoore, California, are hard to quantify. For one undoubted, the wave is undoubtedly incredible. For the second solid fact, the wave is incredibly dull to watch.

Some of us managed to watch a few heats. But, at the same time, other people, die-hard fans of professional surfing, chose either the FOSTER Jol or the Red Hot Chilli Peppers jol instead of watching the contest.

Surfing and F1

I managed a few heats, but watching the men getting into a tiny, wrapped-up crouching yoga position on their surfboards and remaining in that one position for as long as they could, became beyond mundane. I had to turn off the tv. It is not in any way a viewer-friendly event. Maybe if you’re there in person, it would be pretty exciting, but remember that the wave is very long, so for a spectator parking off at one spot, it would be a bit like watching F1. You get to watch the cars for one split second every lap as they whizz past you.

Drive To Survive

At least in F1, you have several vehicles. With the wave pool, one person is riding at one time, and if you’re sitting on the left when they go over to the right-handers, you may as well be sitting on the toilet. Unless the toilets have an elevated view and have a window facing the pool. Then the toilest would be better than the grandstands.

The crowd during the Final at the Surf Ranch Pro. photo by Aaron Hughes/World Surf League)

So it’s quirky, but the contest does find winners, and these winners might or might not use the victory points to make a slot in the coveted top 5 as the competitive year starts to wind down. 

Make Or Break

What the contest, as well as the surfers, do need, though, is consistency from the judges, and according to Gabriel Medina, this wasn’t happening at all, and this is exactly what led to the Wave Pool Blow Out With Gabriel Medina situation. See below

The three-time world champ Gabriel Medina posted an open letter to the WSL complaining of kak judging following his shock loss to Ethan Ewing in the quarter-finals of the Surf Ranch Pro.

Dear WSL,

Please understand the importance of this discussion.

Surfing has been my life and my love for this sport is unconditional. I have put all my heart into and and want to leave a beautiful legacy one day when I look back at it.

However the surfing community, especially in Brazil, is mesmerized with the poor clarity and inconsistence of judging for many years now, but lately it has been even more shocking.

It is quite clear that judging is now rewarding very simple surfing, seamless transitions and have taken critical turns in critical sections off the criteria. This is very frustrating and is stagnating the sport.

Fans and sponsor will not accept this to continue and will in a near future be draw away once all they want is equal and fair judging to the sport.

Also, important to note that many coaches and managers have had the opportunity to speak to WSL after heats/events to ask about PROGRESSION and VARIETY in the criteria and the lack of reward for this space. The response given by them is always quite defensive by giving poor examples to illustrate THEIR point.

WSL needs urgently to clarify judging and apply equal and fair judging to save the progression of the sport.


Gabriel Medina and Brasil

Wave Pool Blow Out With Gabriel Medina. Photo by Aaron Hughes/World Surf League)


To see what Stab Mag thinks, check this out here – STAB And The Thing With Medina


Surfing Today, presented by Rip Curl South Africa.

Surfing Today, presented by Rip Curl South Africa.

Two Major Surfing Contests Just Wrapped. The first is the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger. 

John John Florence claimed victory at the World Surf League  Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger. It was the final stop of the 2021 Challenger Series. Still, after overpowering XL swell at the iconic North Shore reef break along with Jack Robinson (AUS), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), and Samuel Pupo (BRA). A thrilling, action-packed Final. It was Florence’s ninth North Shore, Oahu victory in his career to tie the late 3X WSL Champion Andy Irons (HAW). 

Two Major Surfing Contests Just Wrapped. John John won the first one.

“I’m feeling good, really good, and it’s just so much fun being here and competing again,” said Florence. “After those injuries the last few years, it just feels good to be here. I just want to say thanks to my wife, my family, my whole team, and everyone who’s there supporting me. It’s been huge going through these last couple of years, and to be here winning again is awesome.”  

Perfect 10

An early start from Pupo got the attention of eventual winner Florence. The North Shore, Oahu surfer, unleashed an array of his signature power and progression on a wave at the midway point of the Final for a perfect 10. So, it had the crowd erupting in cheers and applause. The 29-year-old, 2X WSL Champion, wasn’t to be stopped – holding the highest single-wave score and heat total throughout the event – and placing all of the remaining finalists in a combination situation.

It was Jack Robinson’s first-ever Finals appearance on the hallowed grounds of Haleiwa, and he surged through the competition on his way to a runner-up finish. The 2021 CT Rookie will return to compete against the world’s best with renewed vigour following dominant performances at Haleiwa.  

Paddle Battle

 “That was a good run, and it was funny because John and I were in a paddle battle before he just turned and went on a wave,” said Robinson. “I think that put him in a good rhythm with those two waves, and I turned around thinking what just happened. But it was such a fun event and a good tune-up for next year. It’s funny. It’s been two years since I’ve qualified now, and everything here feels so different. Still, at the same time, it’s the same beautiful place, and I’m just excited to be back here.”

 A third-place for Igarashi kept him atop the Challenger Series rankings to close the 2021 season as Pupo’s fourth-place notched a career-best in a major WSL event.

The Alaïa Open Winter Cup in Switzerland

 Sion, Switzerland – The snow and rain stayed away. It was a beautiful and fresh day for the finals of the Alaïa Open Winter Cup finals at the Alaïa Bay wavepool facility. It was the first event of this magnitude to be held at the wavepool. To celebrate, the opening day saw light snowfall throughout most of the day’s competition. 

Two Major Surfing Contests Just Wrapped. Alaïa Open Winter Pro was the second

It was top action all the way on finals day, as the surfers fought out some fierce battles to be in the cash and prizes. The day featured progressive surfing, some big aerial moves, and speed, power and flow scoring high from the judges.

Jamie Veselko was victorious in the Kids Division, beating Alejo Valedi and Fransisco into minor positions. In the junior Division, Kai Odrozola took the win from Hans Odriozola and Axel Domingues.

The Ladies Division was dominated by an experienced Maud Le Car, who beat dynamic Nadja Erostarbe Beiser into second and Lucia Martino into third place.

The Winners

The Men’s Division saw the Brazilian contingent rise up for the win, with power surfer Pedro Menezes taking the win from fellow Brazilian Franklin Serpa. Justin Becret had a great day on the opening day at Alaïa Bay. Still, had to settle for third place in the finals. 

Pedro Menezes taking the win from fellow Brazilian Franklin Serpa. Justin Becret had a great day on the opening day at Alaïa Bay but had to settle for third place in the finals. 

Last week’s column right here


Decisive Day Unfolds at Corona Open China hosted by Wanning

Former Championship Tour (CT) competitor Joan Duru started Round 2 off with a bang at the Corona Open China hosted by Wanning. – Credit: © WSL / Tim Hain

RIYUE BAY, Wanning/China (Wednesday, January 8, 2020) – The men’s Qualifying Series (QS) contingent took over Riyue Bay once more at the World Surf League (WSL) Corona Open China, a men’s and women’s QS 5,000, and continued their assault on the left point lineup. A slight decrease in swell still pulsed with two-to-three foot (1 – 1.5 metre), occasional plus, surf making its way for competitors to take advantage of and those who showed their patience excelled. Round 2 was finished in its entirety as the women’s competition was called off for the day.

A few of the former Championship Tour (CT) elite are present and accounted for and Joan Duru (FRA) made that presence known in today’s proceedings. The Frenchman overpowered the left point with his decimating forehand attack to accrue the day’s best heat total, an impressive 14.50 (out of a possible 20), on the way to his Round 2 Heat 1 win. Now Duru has his eyes set on the horizon moving forward after surviving a decisive day of competition. (Interview in video)

The Japanese contingent also continued to impress with Shun Murakami accruing the day’s best of a 14.93 heat total along with Shuji Nishi and Hiroto Ohhara both delivering the goods. Josh Moniz (HAW) matched Ohhara’s  top single-wave score of the day with an excellent 8.17 as the event moved into tough afternoon conditions.

Positive Vibe Warrior Turns it Up A Notch

Duru’s fellow former CT competitor found his next gear in the smaller conditions and relished his heat win. – Credit: WSL/ Hain

Patrick Gudauskas (USA) is known around the world as one of the “Positive Vibe Warriors” along with his brothers Dane and Tanner, and brought that mentality to China for this event. The 33-year-old was most recently on the elite CT in 2018 after competing among the world’s best for four years between 2010-2013 and now looks to rejoin the Tour by getting things started early in 2020. Gudauskas overtook the lead from an in-form Ohhara with his pre-studied knowledge of Riyue Bay as he looks to improve further.
“I’m really excited to be here on Hainan (Island) and the wave is really beautiful,” Gudauskas said. “I’ve been enjoying my surfs out there. It kind of reminds me of Churches near where I live if you go left there but it’s surprisingly powerful here with all the reef. That heat was pretty slow but I got my two waves, Hiroto got that eight and didn’t get a second one so today’s a good day to make it through.”

Keanu Asing (HAW) rounded out the former CT elite in attendance with another clutch heat win as he heads into Round 3 with plenty of momentum. 

Latin Americans Thrive in Round 2 Showdowns

: Mexican competitor Jhony Corzo came back from a close Round 1 heat and left no doubt in a big Round 2 performance. – Credit: WSL/ Hain

One of Mexico’s most esteemed surfers Jhony Corzo (MEX) delivered their first-ever Gold Medal in surfing nearly three years ago and brought that form into his Round 2 heat here with a 14.00 heat total. Hailing from Puerto Escondido, Mexico, Corzo is able to train at a nearby left point known as La Punta and showed that training paid off as he progresses forward.
“You just have to wait for the good waves, there’s always a set so I just tried waiting for that good one,” said Corzo. “Luckily I got one that let me pass through to the next round and I’m feeling super confident. Where I live is a left too so I trained a lot on that wave before coming. It’s great seeing more Mexicans on the QS like Alan Cleland at these events. There’s not many of us traveling around but hopefully we can break the ice and become the first-ever Mexican on the CT.”

Peru’s Lucca Mesinas felt right at home on the running lefts on offer in both his Round 1 on opening day (pictured) and Round 2 today. – Credit: © WSL / Tim Hain

2018 North America Regional QS Champion Lucca Mesinas (PER) has a big year ahead of after nearly finding his way into the Top 100 last season and also prepares for the 2020 Olympic Games Tokyo. This notes Mesinas’ second visit to Riyue Bay after competing in the QS and ISA events, and showed that experience with notching the two best scores in his Round 2 heat using smart wave selection.
“This wave is very similar to my hometown so it’s really nice to be surfing here,” said Mesinas. “It’s smaller than yesterday but there’s still a lot of power so you can still hit all the waves. I wanted to start really quick since it was slower and then wait for a good one and hopefully it would work so I’m happy it did. Last year I qualified for the Olympics and this year that’s my goal is to my best there and also have the focus on the QS as well to get a better ranking than last year.”

Event organizers will convene at 6:45 a.m. CST to determine a possible start to either men’s Round 3 or women’s Round 3 of competitione QS as well to get a better ranking than last year.”

JBay’s Matt McGillivray Qualifies For WSL Championship Tour 2020

Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii – After advancing through round three of the Vans World Cup 10,000 Qualifying Series (QS) event at Sunset Beach yesterday, word came out from the World Surf League (WSL) that JBay Surfer Matt McGillivray was a confirmed qualification for the 2020 Championship Tour (CT).

McGillivray on a Sunset bomb yesterday © WSL/Heff

Rip Curl surfer McGillivray was placed 6th on the international QS ratings prior to this contest, and his advancement into round four will see him replace one of his lowest counting results. He now cannot be bumped out of the top ten, and qualifies for the premier CT for next year.

The CT comprises 22 surfers from the current tour, as well as 10 surfers from the QS, combined with wild cards and injury replacements, to make 36 surfers. In order to qualify from the QS you need to be within the top ten at year-end.

McGillivray will join fellow South African Jordy Smith on tour next year. The CT commences with the Corona Open Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks in Australia on 26 March 2020.

“I just want to say thank you so much to everyone back home for the support,” said McGillivray from Hawaii. “I got so many messages I still have to reply to, I didn’t realize how many people followed what was going on, and it has been amazing to experience the support.”

McGillivray will come up against Nolan Rapoza (USA), Morgan Ciblic (AUS) and Jesse Mendes (BRA) in the second heat of round four when surfing commences again in Hawaii.

The event can be viewed live here and should go live between 7 and 8 PM tonight South African time.