Friday, November 7, 2014
Updated: Friday, December 19, 2014
Gabriel Medina (BRA) at the start of the biggest season of his young career on the World Championship Tour.
Medina stormed into the 2014 World Championship Tour season, topping all his heats at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.
Medina earned a 9.40 in the Quarterfinals at the Gold Coast.
Medina defeated Joel Parkinson (AUS) in the event Final by a margin of just 0.03.
With the win at the Goldie's Snapper Rocks, Medina overtook the No. 1 spot on the rankings.
At the men's next event, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, Medina broke out his air game.
After starting the season on fire, by the final stop of the Australian leg Medina had cooled slightly: He finished ninth at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
At the event that followed, the Billabong Rio Pro, Medina slipped again. In a rare misstep, he was eliminated in Round 3.
With two poor finishes in a row, Medina tried to refocus for the Fiji Pro in May.
Back to the form he showed at Snapper, Medina tore through heats at Fiji's Cloudbreak, topping every opponent.
Medina was cheered on by No. 1 fan Ulei as he won his Semi heat.
Medina won in Fiji, and with the event title he tied Michel Bourez's for 2014 wins, with two apiece.
Fiji victory leap.
Medina began the J-Bay Open with the yellow jersey on, signifying his renewed status as World No. 1.
Despite his status on the men's WCT rankings, Medina was eliminated in the J-Bay Quarterfinals.
At the Billabong Pro Tahiti, Medina won his opening heat and advanced directly to Round 3.
In Tahiti's Round 4, he and Bede Durbidge (AUS) climbed a wall as a massive swell prevailed.
Medina showed no hesitation in the face of the monster waves, earning eight nine-point rides during the event, including three in the Final against Kelly Slater (USA).
Medina defeated Slater, an 11-time World Champion, in the Final.
At the Hurley Pro at Trestles several weeks later, Medina appeared less confident. He was defeated in Round 1 when wildcard Carlos Munoz (CRI) overtook the lead on his last wave.
But Medina answered back when he defeated Munoz in Round 3.
In Round 4, Medina began to get his rhythm back and scored a 9.63.
Later that month the WCT headed to Europe, where Medina continued to have inconsistent heats.
Medina went into Rip Curl Pro Portugal with a chance to lock down the World Title. After finishing 13th there, his dream will have to wait until the Billabong Pipe Masters.
In a good position to win the World Title before the end of the Billabong Pipe Masters, Medina exuded confidence throughout the final event of the year.
Medina tearing through a draining tube at Banzai Pipeline.
Medina's performance under pressure took him all the way to the podium.