Stop No. 1 on the Dream Tour would also see the rebirth of a new and improved Miguel Pupo. Pupo returned to 2014 injury free and looked sharp as a tack, decimating the Snapper Walls with newfound originality and precision while stampeding his way to the Quarterfinals.
ESPN recently took a look at the Brazilians' performance at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and talked about the possibilities of 2014 being the year of the first ever Brazilian ASP World Champion. This... is their story...
Poor Gabriel Medina's stepfather, Charlie. Over the course of an exhausting day that saw 15 heats of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in Australia (and three heats of the Roxy Pro) decided along Snapper's ever-shifting sand bank, the head of Medina's support crew was ever-shifting himself, and it was agony to watch. With a balled fist ground under his chin, supported by a forearm wrapped grimly around his own chest, Charlie spent every heat looking like the weight of an entire surf-mad nation was resting on his shoulders. Also, like he'd eaten a bad piece of fish.
But it wasn't his shoulders supporting the hopes of his native Brazil. That responsibility fell to 20-year-old Gabriel, who looked decidedly more stoic. Over the last 10 years, only four surfers have won the WCT Gold Coast event: Mick Fanning, Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson and Taj Burrow. On March 11, in temperamental 6-foot Snapper, Medina took down Fanning, Burrow, and Parkinson en route to becoming the event's first Brazilian champion.
"It's the best day of my life, for sure," Medina said to ASP commentator Rosie Hodge after being chaired up the beach. "It's an honor just to be competing against these guys. Mick was champ last year, Parko was champ as well, Taj -- all these guys I watch on videos ... It's weird, today I beat them."
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