When the final horn sounded yesterday at Pipeline, 20-year-old Gabriel Medina had successfully defended his lead in the ratings over fellow world title contenders Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater and emerged as the first ever Brazilian world champion. Shortly thereafter, 11-time World Champ Kelly Slater took to Instagram to voice his opinion on Medina's incredible year on Tour.
There's no denying it…this guy lit it up all year. A very deserving #WorldChampion in @gabrielmedina. Congratulations. He #SetTheStandard of straight up shredding and competitive savvy and in doing so switched his position from challenger to leader. With the weight of a country on his shoulders, he made all the right choices to keep his head on straight and achieve his dream. I think it's awesome how he has matched every challenge thrown at him both personally and professionally. If I was honest, I was pulling for @mfanno today to pull a magic trick but I'm very happy the win went to Gabriel in the end. To see the atmosphere around him is to see a rare situation playing out in sports and however intimidating it can be for his competitors, it's great for the sport and a big challenge for everyone he comes up against. He's definitely a more than worthy champion. Great job today also to #AlejoMuniz for a great event and good luck to the remaining competitors at the #PipeMasters. And thanks to everyone for all the support all these years. #Respect. @gopro #Selfie in Tahiti.