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


World Title to be decided in Hawaii

Contenders – John John Florence (HAW), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Julian Wilson (AUS)

For 35 years, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing has been sharing and celebrating one of the most significant sporting series in the world. The Hawaiian Pro, the Vans World Cup of Surfing, and the Billabong Pipe Masters make up the three-event series that crowns the World Surf League (WSL) Champion, determines the new WSL Championship Tour (CT) roster and names the best professional surfer of the Hawaiian winter season in dramatic fashion. This year, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (VTCS), which takes place November 12 – December 20, will bring one of the tightest World Title races in recent history to the North Shore of Oahu.

All four title contenders – John John Florence (HAW), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Julian Wilson (AUS) are confirmed to compete in one or more events in the VTCS. These top professional athletes represent a geographically diverse scale of surfing’s global reach and its infiltration into mainstream big-league sports, with four different countries characterized in the World Title race.

Florence will wear the yellow Jeep Leader jersey heading into the Hawaiian Pro, event No. 1 of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Image: WSL/Masurel

Heading into Hawaii, Florence holds the no. 1 spot on the Jeep Leaderboard rankings, but with only 3,100 points separating he and Medina, the competition will be intense as Florence fights to defend his 2016 World Title at his home break.

“I’m really excited to go surf Pipe and hopefully we get some good waves,” commented Florence after his Quarterfinal loss at the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal in October. “If I win at home it will be even more meaningful.”

The VTCS encompasses three different and equally storied wave venues along seven miles of hallowed coastline – Haleiwa Ali‘i Beach, Sunset Beach and Pipeline, the latter being Florence’s literal backyard. The first gem of the series, the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, begins November 12 – 24 and will showcase a mix of 128 local and international athletes including Florence, who will look to back up his 2016 Hawaiian Pro victory and warm up for the winter season at home.

A win at the Hawaiian Pro is a strong indicator – approximately 30 percent – that the victor will go on to claim the VTCS title. Ten surfers have secured the series win after finding success at Haleiwa including Hawaii athletes Florence, Sebastian Zietz, the late Andy Irons, Sunny Garcia and Kaipo Jaquias. The wave at Haleiwa is the best venue of the three for progressive surfing and with 26 of the CT’s top 32 athletes confirmed to compete, the Hawaiian Pro will serve up a sensational kick-off to the celebrated series.

Jordy Smith Perfect 20

Current equal No.3 on the Jeep Leaderboard Jordy Smith of South Africa

The VTCS boasts a combined prize purse of more than one million dollars across all three events with a hefty $50,000 going to the surfer who wins the series title. Hawaii athletes have dominated the North Shore’s competitive surf season and in 35 years, 60 percent of VTCS champions have hailed from the “Aloha State”. However, each year the competition gets fiercer and there are plenty of shake-ups to elevate the drama of qualification for both the Qualifying Series (QS) and CT.