Fiji Champ Gabriel Medina and the dFK model that took him all the way to the podium. Photos: Joli

Fiji Champ Gabriel Medina and the dFK model that took him all the way to the podium. Photos: Joli

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

SHAPER: Johnny Cabianca
LENGTH: 6’0″
WIDTH: 18 3/4″
THICKNESS: 2 7/16″
VOLUME: 28.5L (+/- 1L)
NOSE WIDTH: 12 3/8″
TAIL WIDTH: 14 1/2″
TAIL ROCKER: 2 7/16″
TAIL: Thumb
CONCAVE: Full single throughout
GLASSING: 4 oz. bottom, single-layer 4 oz. deck, tail patch (E-glass)

FINS: FCS Performer II
HEIGHT: 4.55″ (115mm)
BASE: 4.37″ (111mm)
AREA: 14.81″² (9554mm²)
SWEEP: 33.7º
FOIL: Inside

Did Gabriel ride this board for the entire event?

Yes, he rode the same board from his first heat through the final.

Was this a pretty standard dFK, or did you make some tweaks for Cloudbreak?

Well, Gabriel is growing up and because of that I needed to make many changes on this model, but it’s still the same concept. Mostly just the volume and the foil changed, but I also changed the fin positions and fin angles for Fiji. It must have worked!

How many boards did he take with him to Fiji and what kind of variety was in his quiver?

He packed three board bags with six or seven boards in each, ranging from 5’11” to 6’6″. Half of them were dFKs, the other half of them were MEGAs.

Does he change fins very often or does he use the same template in most conditions?

He uses the same template throughout the year and only in Hawaii does he sometimes change his fins to adapt to bigger conditions.

It seems like Gabriel has grown a lot in the last year. Has this brought about any changes in his boards?

Yes, a lot of changes. He needs more volume in the nose and tail, but he doesn't like full rails or aggressive details, so the changes are well disguised.

How does it feel to see Gabriel reach No. 1 in the rankings on your equipment?

It's good to see him at No. 1 for the second time this year. I’ve been making surfboards—shaping, laminating, and sanding—for 34 years, and surfboards really are my passion. It's not easy for a Brazilian shaper to get much credibility in the surfboard industry. Over the last 15 years, I’ve probably been better known among surfboard builders than surfers, but Gabriel has helped my work become more recognized among surfers as well. I would like to say thanks to all my friends and mentors, to Pukas for the support over the last 10 years, and of course to Gabriel and his family, who have been my friends long before his success.