Gabriel Medina became the first surfing world champion from Brazil at Ehukai Beach on Friday in the Billabong Pipe Masters.
Medina captured the ASP world title when the only other two contenders were beaten in the early rounds. Alejo Muniz, a fellow Brazilian, knocked out the two others with a chance –Kelly Slater in the third round and then Australia’s Mick Fanning in the fifth round.
A mob of Brazilian fans who were part of the approximately 5,000 watching on the beach, carried Medina, who was getting ready for his quarterfinal heat in the Pipe Masters, high in the air up the beach for a TV interview.
Medina made it to the final of the Pipe Masters, but lost there to Australia’s Julian Wilson, who wrapped it up in the final minute with a 9.7 wave. Medina, who had a 10-point ride earlier in the heat, scored a 9.2 a few seconds after Wilson, but it wasn’t good enough.
By virtue of the Pipe Masters victory, Wilson passed Maui’s Dusty Payne to earn the distinguished Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title that goes to the top surfer in the three North Shore season-ending events — the Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach, and the Pipe Masters.