This year's TIME 100 Most Influential People includes Gabriel Medina (BRA) in its list of Icons, a category that last year included Academy Award winner Robert Redford and Pope Francis. So while Medina may be out of contention for the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro title, it appears reigning as the first Brazilian World Champ still carries a lot of weight.
When Medina won Brazil's first surfing world title last year, he did more than become the second youngest champion ever. He showed that his country was now a serious player surfing. From 2001 to 2011, the total number of surfers jumped 35 percent, to about 35 million, and the sport is projected to become a $13.2 billion global industry by 2017.
By shaking up a sport typically dominated by Americans and Australians, Medina has become an icon in Brazil and is inspiring a new generation to make some waves. (Full article)