Medina Wins World Title; Wilson Claims Pipe
By MauiNow Staff
History was made Friday, the last day of the 2014 World Championship Tour (WCT) as Gabriel Medina won Brazil’s first world surfing title on his way to finishing runner-up to Queensland’s Julian Wilson at the Billabong Pipe Masters on Oahu.
Fans of WCT surfing witnessed the first Brazilian in Medina to win a World Title; and, with four nines on finals day, Wilson also won the Vans Triple Crown.
In the closing minutes of their 30-minute Pipe Masters final face-off, Wilson narrowly bested the newly-crowned Medina as officials awarded the Australian a 9.70 for his final wave to win 19.63 to 19.20.
Mick Fanning’s hopes of snatching the title from the world ratings leader Medina came to a halt when he lost to Brazilian giant-killer Alejo Muniz in round five.
Medina had already won through to the quarterfinals and the large contingent of Brazilian fans erupted on the beach when Fanning failed to advance past round five.
“This is unbelievable,” Medina said after being carried up the beach by his fans.
“So many have tried but I am honored to be the one to win it for Brazil.
“It is crazy, in Brazil and South America we have been waiting for someone to breakthrough. . . . Someone had to do it and I just want to thank God for choosing me.”
Medina began 2014 with a win in the first event on the Gold Coast and also scored victories in Fiji and Tahiti.
He is the first 20-year-old to win the world crown since Kelly Slater won his first of 11 titles in 1992.
Muniz, who was born in Argentina but now lives in Brazil, proved a great ally for his compatriot Medina.
Earlier he eliminated Slater in the third round, knocking the American out of the 2014 title race.
Muniz’s run came to an end in the quarterfinals when he lost to Australian Adrian Buchan.
Swept up in the euphoria of his world title win Medina missed the first 15 minutes of his quarterfinal against Felipe Toledo but did enough to progress to the semifinals, 4.30 to 3.27.
Then Medina beat Australian Josh Kerr in the semifinals to reach the Pipe Masters final, 13.60 to 9.43. Medina also beat Lahaina’s Dusty Payne in the third round.
Wilson advanced to the final by beating Buchan in semifinal heat 2, 13.16 to 3.17.
In a high-scoring final, Wilson posted a 9.93 for a deep backdoor barrel before Medina responded with a perfect 10, on another backdoor-door wave that covered the Brazilian for a few seconds before reappearing to the cheers of the fans on the beach.