Brazil’s Gabriel Medina clinched the world surfing championship today at the Billabong Pipe Masters.
The deciding moment came in his semifinal victory over South Africa’s Jordy Smith and it came in clean, 8-12 foot waves in front of an estimated 4,000 fans at Ehukai Beach.
Medina entered the day with Australia’s Julian Wilson as the only competitors left with a chance at surfing’s biggest prize that is determined by the year-long points title.
Medina then went on to capture the Pipe Masters title in the event final against Wilson.
Medina, who also won the world crown in 2014, delivered all day. After winning his fourth-round heat, he came up with two huge scoring waves, a 9.43 and a perfect 10.0, within 60 seconds to put an end to Conner Coffin’s upset bid in the quarterfinals.
Medina’s victory over Smith put him in the Pipe Masters final against whoever wins the second semifinal heat, either 11-time world champion and seven-time Pipe Masters winner Kelly Slater or Wilson, who has one Pipe Masters victory on his resume.
Smith’s exit in the semifinals handed the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title to Brazil’s Jesse Mendes. That title goes to the best surfer in the final three season-ending contests. Mendes placed fifth in the Triple Crown opener, the Hawaiian Pro, and was the runner-up at the second leg, the Vans World Cup, before finishing ninth at Pipe.