Gabriel Medina Takes Round of 32 to the Air
The men’s Round of 32 started with a show of innovative surfing on the Olympic rematch between Michel Bourez (FRA) and two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA). In a down-to-the-wire heat, Medina took to the air to take the win.
“I was praying for one more wave,” said Medina. “I know the waves are there, but it’s just super slow so I was trying to wait until the end. Michel was surfing really strong, so I knew I had to go big. I’ve done that trick before but honestly I wasn’t trying to do it at all. I can’t even remember what I did on that last wave. I’ll have to thank God for that one.”
Reigning WSL Champion and No 2 in the rankings, Olympic gold medalist Italo Ferreira took the win against Wade Carmichael (AUS) in a very close heat, getting the score needed to advance in the last minutes of the action, and advancing to the Round of 16 where he will face 11-time WSL Champion, Kelly Slater (USA).
“It’s nice to compete against the best guys in the world and push myself,” said Ferreira. “In the next round I just want to catch good waves, go vertical, have speed and power, and show some progressive surfing with dynamic maneuvers. I can’t wait!”
In a nail biting heat, Olympian wildcard Rio Waida (IDN) surprised everyone by taking out world No. 3 Filipe Toledo (BRA) on the very least wave of Heat 9.
“I’m trying to surf my best,” said Waida. “I didn’t know I was going to have enough to beat Filipe. He is one of my favorite surfers, so I’m very happy I could win. I’ll try to surf more like him moving forward because I’ll have to go big on the next round.”
On the last heat of the day, world No. 5 Griffin Colapinto (USA) got eliminated by wildcard Mateus Herdy (BRA), and will now need a big result in Tahiti to clinch a spot on the WSL FInal 5.