You can hear Brazil from here. And I’m not kidding. Before the sun rose today, a crowd of yellow and green had already gathered on the beach at Pipeline. They screamed when he walked by. They shouted when he stood up on waves. They jumped and they writhed with every heat and some even wore soccer (Yes, soccer. We’re not calling it football.) jerseys with Gabriel’s last name printed up top. And when Alejo Muniz beat Mick Fanning in Round 5 — clinching the title from Medina — they celebrated like a passion-driven nation declaring their first ever World Champion of surfing.
Gabriel ended the year right where he started it — on the top. He won three events (so far) this year simply out-surfed his opponents. At 20-years-old, Medina is now the same age that Kelly Slater was when he won his first title (though Kelly was younger by a matter of months). And as I frantically type this from the media room at the 2014 Billabong Pipeline Masters, a parade of the aforementioned yellow and green spills in get their frantic typing done. They are still screaming, still hugging, still celebrating with all heart and maybe even a hint of tear. One of the cheerers just offered me a beer — who am I to say no? Cheers to you, Gabriel Medina. And cheers to you, Brazil. —Brendan Buckley