Gabriel Medina is the winner of the 2017 MEO Rip Curl Pro held at Peniche Portugal. The Brazilian World Champion had to grind his way to winning the event as he faced Julian Wilson, the Australian star who has proven to be a formidable opponent. In their 35-minute battle, both surfers used different strategies. Medina was going for every wave that he could paddle into while Wilson waited patiently for the right waves to come. Medina had over a dozen waves while Wilson had less than ten.
Medina’s strategy helped him build his rhythm. Although he had several incomplete aerials, he did not stop trying. He was able to establish the lead by going for every wave and trying to get a better score than his last. Wilson needed a 6.17 to gain the lead with only 5 minutes left in the Final and he pulled off a nice barrel ride earning a 6.27. This left Medina needing a 5.28 to win, with only less than two minutes left in the heat. But a nice set approached over the horizon and Medina wasn’t done fighting just yet. He took off on a wave with 90 seconds left in the heat and managed a huge frontside air, and this time he landed it right.
While waiting for the scores there was a minute left, so Wilson tried to get into another wave and it was a short barrel ride that did not have much to offer. Medina made sure he secured the win by going for another wave in the last 35 seconds where he landed a solid tail high reverse aerial maneuver as the clock wound down. Both surfers waited for the final scores and Medina earned a 6.93 and a 6.33 on his last two waves, sealing his second event win for the year, a back-to-back win coming off from his recent Quiksilver Pro France victory.
John John Florence is not taking the 2017 World Title home today. In an interesting event full of surprises, John John Florence couldn’t seem to find any solid wave in his Quarterfinals battle against Kolohe Andino. Andino, recognizing who he was up against, applied pressure early on by securing a 7.17 wave in the opening minutes of the heat. Andino kept going at it until he found a good backup score of 6.83 to secure his lead by putting Florence in a combo situation needing 14.00 to gain the lead with five minutes left. Florence never found his rhythm and ended up getting knocked out earlier than expected.
It wasn’t John’s day today; he finished with an equal 5th place earning 5200 points that will help advance his lead in the rankings. But that lead has become quite slim considering that Gabriel Medina won the Finals and stacked up another 10000 points.
With this turn of events, Medina becomes the biggest threat to Florence’s world title campaign, sitting closely in second place in the Jeep Leaderboard post MEO Rip Curl Pro. With only one event left for the season, everything comes down to the Billabong Pipe Masters.
Based on historical data, Gabriel Medina had better performance at the Pipemasters with two 2nd place finishes in the past three years. Florence had a 5th, a 9th and another 5th place finish in the past three years. This could spell out as trouble for John John Florence because as previously projected, if Florence does not go beyond the semifinals in the Pipemasters and Medina wins the event, Medina can snatch the World Title by only a few hundred points.
Could Gabriel Medina repeat the same results and win back to back events this year to win a second World Title? Could John John Florence pull off a stellar performance at the Pipemasters and win the World Title for two years in a row?
There is definitely a lot at stake as both surfers race to determine who will win his second world title first. All that is about to happen very soon, and the entire surfing world is watching closely.
Who will win the 2017 World Title? Share your thoughts with us below.
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