HUNTINGTON BEACH, California / USA (Monday, September 26, 2011) – Gabriel Medina (BRA), 17, has turned heads in the surfing world over the last two years as an absolutely dominant force on the international stage of ASP PRIME and 6-Star events. Medina's valiant effort has earned him the right to compete among surfing's finest despite his young age and last week saw the young Brazilian put on an impressive opening performance at the Hurley Pro at Trestles. Medina's future continues to look bright and the high-flying goofy-footer just locked down a new multi-year contract with his main sponsor, Rip Curl.
International surfing company Rip Curl is thrilled to announce Brazilian teen sensation Gabriel Medina this week signed a new sponsorship deal with the Australian-based company. Medina – as he likes to be known – committed himself to the new multi-year contract with Rip Curl on the eve of his official competitive debut as one of the world's top 32 pro surfers in California this week.
"It's been a great few weeks," Medina said, adding: "To qualify for the World Tour has been my dream for a long time and I really want to thank Rip Curl for helping me a lot so far. It's a really big honour for me to represent the same company as my favourite surfer Mick Fanning, and I'm really happy to know I have Rip Curl to support me for many years ahead."
The now 17-year-old from Maresias in Brazil first announced himself as an extraordinary talent at age 15 in July 2009. In a field that included most of South America's best adult surfers, Medina set a new mark as the youngest male winner of an open age pro competition by taking out the Maresia Surf International in Brazil. (That victory broke one of pro surfing's longest-standing records, held by Australian Nick Wood, who won the 1987 Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach as a 16-year-old.)
Since breaking through, Medina has consistently shown his prodigious ability and equally rare competitive maturity by emphatically winning two major international series for surfers aged 16 and under, plus the 2010 World Under 18 Boys Championship, and in recent months standing on the champions' dais at two more major open pro contests in France and Spain.
The pro victories in August and early September cemented Medina's position as the leading mid-season qualifier for the five remaining ASP World Tour contests this year and that remarkable achievement makes him the youngest male qualifier for pro surfing's elite group since the mid-1980s.
"We're really excited to extend our relationship with Gabriel Medina," Rip Curl International Marketing Chairman Neil Ridgway said. "He's clearly proven himself as one of the best young surfers in the world and by qualifying for the World Tour so young, he's shown he's ready to step up to this new challenge. With Medina on the ASP World Tour alongside other Rip Curl surfers Mick Fanning, Owen Wright, Taylor Knox and Matt Wilkinson, we're really looking forward to the rest of 2011 and the next few years."