What He Rode: Gabriel Medina

Johnny Cabianca breaks down Gabriel Medina's winning Teahupoo board

Medina and his winning sled. Photo: Thouard

Medina and his winning sled. Photo: Thouard

GABRIEL MEDINA
HEIGHT: 5’11” (180 cm)
WEIGHT: 164 lbs (74.4 kg)

SHAPER: Johnny Cabianca
MODEL: DFK
LENGTH: 6’4″
WIDTH: 18 3/4″
THICKNESS: 2 3/8″
VOLUME: 31L
NOSE WIDTH: 12 3/8″
TAIL WIDTH: 13 5/8″
NOSE ROCKER: 5 5/8″
TAIL ROCKER: 2 7/16″
TAIL: Thumb
CONCAVE: Full single throughout
GLASSING: Single 4 oz. bottom, double 4 oz. deck (E-glass)

FINS: FCS Performer II
BASE: 4.48″ (114mm)
DEPTH: 4.67″ (118mm)
AREA: 15.58″² (10054mm²)
SWEEP: 33.7º
FOIL: Inside

What was the model that Gabriel rode during the final in Tahiti?
His normal DFK (da freak kid) model with some adaptations for Tahiti. In some heats he was using a 6’2″ or 6’3″, but always the same model and same dimensions besides length.

How many boards did you make him for Tahiti?
We prepared 22 boards for Tahiti and Lowers. Gabriel had 12 of those with him in Tahiti, and the rest are waiting for him back in California for the Trestles event.

According to the webcast commentators, Gabriel was riding thicker, wider boards than most of the other competitors. What is the advantage of that?
Well, the webcast isn't always correct with their information about the surfers’ board dimensions, or at least Gabriel's. I don't believe his boards are especially thick or wide for waves of that size. That said, the board that he rode in the final is very unconventional. The boards I make for Gabriel have a lot of subtle details to help him be comfortable in every type of wave. Gabriel's talent is obviously the most important factor, but the boards needs to complement that talent.

Has Gabriel ever surfed waves like that before, or was this a trial by fire?
There aren't too many waves in the world you can call similar to Teahupoo, especially at that size. But it was his third time competing there, and he’s already proven himself in big, powerful waves on the North Shore and Fiji. Gabriel is from Maresias, which is good training ground for hollow and powerful waves. But of course nothing to be compared with the conditions during the finals in Tahiti.