The year has already begun in Gabriel Medina's professional calendar. The 2x World Champion is currently competing at the Oi Hang Loose Pro -- the first QS 6,000 event of the season -- in Fernando de Noronha (PE), Brazil. Medina recently visited the WSL headquarters in Santa Monica and answered some fan-submitted questions. The Brazilian star covered a range of topics -- everything from his training regime to his greatest inspirations.
How does it feel to be the new hero of Brazil?
I am very happy to have won my second World Title for Brazil. I spent the year traveling and it's a lot of work training ... an athlete's strict routine is difficult but it's worth it in the end. It's really cool to be able to make other people happy doing what I love the most. So, it's a pleasure to represent my country, to give this happiness to the people. I'm so grateful for all the love and support. Let's keep this going, because we'll have more this year.
In the time span between the two World Titles (four years), what did you do to prepare? What has changed in your training regime?
Last year was very difficult for me because I had a lot of ups and downs and it was a year that I had to keep my focus and learn to be consistent. So, I worked a lot more out of the water. I trained a lot to get through the moments I needed while being comfortable. I think that's why everything worked out.
The biggest training effort was definitely out of the water. Inside the water is the most fun. It's the time that we put everything out there, do what we know how to do. Thank God everything worked well for me.
What is the biggest challenge of being a top level athlete? Any restrictions?
It is your responsibility to always be the best, above others. You have to train hard, try hard to be the best. It is the day-to-day routine. You have to have a strict life, which is very difficult. I'm 25 years old, I have the desires of anyone else my age. So sometimes I have to say no. But that's it, it depends on the purpose of each person. For the past few years, I think everything has been worth it. As my father says, "The effort is momentary, but Glory is forever".
If you were not a surfer, what would you be?
If I was not a surfer, I think I would be a soccer player.
What was the worst wipeout you've ever had?
The worst one was in Fiji. The waves were huge. I knew it was going to be big but I did not imagine it would be THAT big. I was with Owen Wright. We paddled in together and took it on the head. Actually when I looked at the wave I was already out of breath. In the end everything was fine, but I was very scared.
What's the secret to winning Pipeline?
My secret is to eat a lot of chocolate ... LOL!
Do you ever fear the ocean?
Yes. The ocean is an element that always surprises you. The force of the sea scares anyone -- currents, big waves, etc. There are lots of fears when it comes to the ocean. You cannot play with nature, it's much stronger than us. I think that's what makes our sport so special. Because we never know what's going to happen. So we have to be prepared for any situation. I am very happy to work in the ocean.
Who are you inspired by?
My biggest inspiration is Ayrton Senna. From what I've seen in the movies - particularly in his movie and in his book. He's a person that I identify with a lot, so he's a great inspiration to me.
What would you tell yourself 10 years ago?
I would tell myself to keep believing in my dreams. I'd tell myself to fight until the end. I mean, it has no ending, right?! I would tell myself to work hard, to always give my best, so I can fulfill my dreams.
Watch Gabriel Medina at the Oi Hang Loose Pro Contest - Live from Fernando de Noronha, PE, Brazil on Worldsurfleague.com, App and Facebook Live.