A year ago, the praise being sung about Gabriel Medina was falling on deaf ears. Blame it on a Portuguese language barrier, an age-old prejudice in the surf world, or just being obsessed with Kolohe Andino, but for some reason, most of us remained oblivious to the prodigy coming out of Brazil. Fast forward six months and Medina claims a spot on flash players of websites the world over. Two 10s—he claimed that he would do it before the heat by the way—in the final of the Quiksilver King of the Groms event in France will do that for you. At last check, the YouTube video of his now legendary final had a few thousand hits from the SURFER staff alone.
And now, nestled underneath an overcast Aussie sky, Medina's doing it all over again—well, almost. In his heat against Australia's Dean Bowen in the third round at the Billabong World Junior Championships today, Medina once again had us salivating when he punted back-to back rotations mixed with high-speed floats to the tune of 10s. It was surfing so fluid and progressive that it made the rest of the world's finest juniors feel, well, old. Medina dispatched Bowen with a 19.57 and earned himself another round of swooning admiration from the media.
"I'm just happy to be here in Australia and competing in this event," Medina said. "I'm very happy to get through this heat and I hope I can keep going. It is a big event, the biggest, and to win here would mean everything."
Equally explosive and paralleled in lack of hype, Brazil showed up to the games with yet another phenom, Jadson Andre, who will be surfing on the World Tour next year a la a third-place finish on the 'QS. Today, Andre looked primed and ready to make the leap to the Big Leagues when he systematically cut down Aussie Ryan Callinan with a 17.93 and the second-highest heat score of the day.
"Gabriel [Medina] was going nuts out there today," Andre said. "It's great to see the Brazilians surfing really well and I'm excited to keep going in this event. I want to start my year out right before the World Tour season."
But it wasn't all Brazilian whips and 10s in Narrabeen. A healthy chunk of the day's comp was met by 3-foot slop and mid-range scores. Clay Marzo, who's coming back into the spotlight, has been looking sharp throughout the contest and took down Dillon Perillo in his heat. Between Kai Barger winning the event last year and the entire Maui contingency blowing up, a lot of eyes are looking at Clay to be a contender this year. In the fourth round, Marzo goes up against Brazil's Wiggolly Dantas.
We're getting damn close to crowing a new World Pro Junior champion, so stay locked to Surfermag.com