At the risk of being called Captain Obvious, I'm going to go ahead and say that this is the year the Brazilian insurgence matured into a legitimate force. The youngsters have been carving a niche for themselves while Adriano continues to be a potential event winner in any conditions. Between Adriano, Miguel Pupo and Gabriel Medina, the Brazilian flag has been waving on the podium at the last four major events (counting the O'Neill Coldwater Classic).
At the end of what must have been the strangest week in recent pro surfing history, Medina cut through the competition to win in San Francisco, drawing our attention towards the young Brazilian's talent on a surfboard and away from the ASP's monumental math mishap last week.
It was Medina who took down the now 11-time World Champion in the quarterfinals. Unlike their previous encounter in Round 4, where Kelly's floater/turn combo was favored by the judges over Medina's frontside aerials, the pendulum swung the other way this time around, putting Medina well out in front by heat's end.
Medina's victory over the Champ, much like their previous encounter in France, seemed to foreshadow another stroll across the finish line for Gabriel. Sure enough, Medina took down Taylor Knox in the semis and then beat Parkinson at his own game in the final. And by that I mean Medina executed big, powerful turns as opposed to the predictable air-reverse combos we've come to expect from this new wave of young surfers.
This marks the second event win for Medina out of his first four World Tour events, signifying one of the most impressive rookie starts in pro surfing history and a hint at where this incredible talent is headed.