(announced Monday 1/24/22)
Gabriel Medina Photo: World Surf League/Ed Sloane
Starting with the Billabong Pro Pipeline…
The Season will be kicking off its holding period Jan 29th as a 10′ NW is forecast. It’s highly likely that the WCT will kick off the New Year BIG time this Saturday.
Medina (28) will be sorely missed. He lifts the sport and has been for years…one of the most inspiring surfing competitors in the World. Godspeed to a full recovery. SNN
Photo: Ryan Pierse
“The past few months have been a difficult time for me personally and it has taken a toll.
As such, I’ve decided to withdraw from the start of the 2022 WSL Championship Tour.
I had every intention of competing for the full season, had made all the preparations medically (I took my Covid vaccination during my holidays) and mentally and physically, but I’m not in a place where I believe I can perform against the world’s best surfers right now and I need to focus on my well-being. I don’t know how long it will take, but I aim to return to the Championship Tour as soon as I am ready.
I very much appreciate everyone’s ongoing love and support. I’ll be back when I am able. Love. ” Medina
Gabriel is also recovering from hip injury.
In a similar vein, last year, gymnastics superstar Biles withdrew from several disciplines at the Olympics while quadruple Grand Slam winner Osaka pulled out the French Open and later ended her season. Both said they were suffering from mental health issues.
In 2021, Medina won his third world surfing championship but failed to make the podium at the Tokyo Olympics despite arriving as the favorite.
“At the end of the season, I was completely exhausted,” he said, describing the year as “a rollercoaster of emotions”.
“I had every intention of competing for the full season, had made all the preparations medically (I took my Covid vaccination during my holidays) and mentally and physically, but I’m not in a place where I believe I can perform against the world’s best surfers right now and I need to focus on my well-being,” he wrote
The WSL issued a statement endorsing the Brazilian’s decision.
“The health and safety of our athletes is of paramount importance, and we support Gabriel’s decision to prioritize their well-being,” executive director Erik Logan said in the statement.
Rip Curl, eluded that he’d likely return later on in the year. “Gabriel is our number one surfer and we will do anything to help him return to his best personally and professionally,” said Neil Ridgway, Rip Curl’s Chief Marketing Officer. “For many world champion sportspeople, the pressures of winning at the highest level are great and the Olympics and WSL Championship Tour are tough crucibles to thrive in. We have seen the ups and downs with many of our finest World Champion surfers and we support Gabriel 100 percent in his plan to recover in full and be ready to rumble later in the WSL season.”
Neal continued by encouraging anyone struggling, either physically or mentally, to reach out for help. “We would also like to say to his many fans that it’s okay to reach out for help if you’re struggling physically and mentally and seek help from the many organizations across the world, which have really come into focus during the pandemic,” he said. “The other thing to do is surf more. The ocean is a great healer, and we know Gabriel will be out in the lineup as part of his recovery. We wish him well.”
Medina will be replaced by Caio Ibelli (BRA) at the 2022 Billabong Pro Pipeline