TEAHUPO’O, Tahiti (Sunday, August 19, 2018) - Gabriel Medina (BRA) claimed victory today at the Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o, Stop No. 7 on the World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Championship Tour (CT). An exciting Finals Day witnessed Medina take his first win of the 2018 season in clean three-to-five foot (1 - 1.5 metre) waves at the famed South Pacific reef pass.
Medina, 2014 WSL Champion, earned his big win today by defeating Owen Wright (AUS) in the Final, Jeremy Flores (FRA) in the Semifinals, and Italo Ferreira (BRA) in the Quarterfinals. Since his first Tahiti Pro win in 2014, Medina never dropped below third place, and today the Brasilian superstar stamps his second win at Teahupo’o.
“I’m just so happy to win here again and, first, I just want to thank God,” Medina said. “I came here and trained a lot, and I was just waiting for the victory. I love Tahiti and I’ve had some great Finals here. I’ve won here before, two second-place finishes, and another win now. I have a great family here, which is incredible. Now I can kind of start thinking about winning a World Title. I think anything is possible. There’s a couple of events to go and I just want to keep giving it my best.”
Medina’s victory moves him up from 3rd to 2nd on the Jeep Leaderboard, 6,300 points behind World No. 1 Filipe Toledo (BRA). In last year’s World Title race, Medina fell short of the win against John John Florence (HAW). Now, with a win in Tahiti and second on the rankings, the 2014 World Champion is well within striking distance of capturing a second WSL Title this year if he maintains strong results in the final four events.
“I was just praying, ‘God just give me one more, one more,’ and Owen (Wright) had to go on the first one, but if he didn’t I was going to go on that one,” Medina added. “I’m really happy right now, but I know Owen’s got the same feeling I had last year, which was horrible for me, but it’s competition and that’s why we love competing. I feel blessed to have been in the right spots at this event and now I’m going to enjoy this moment, then I’m focusing on the next event.”
The start of the 40-minute Final saw Wright get the inside of Medina to capture the matchup’s first tube for 6.50 (out of a possible 10). Medina battled back quickly with an air for a 6.17. The two continued to attempt superior backup scores, and at the halfway point, Wright punched out of a tube for the lead. With ten minutes left in the heat, Medina held priority needing 4.54. In a failed attempt to escape a barrel, the Brasilian lost his priority and handed control back to the Australian. A final exchange in the dying minutes of the heat saw Medina steal the win with a critical tube, defeating Wright by 1.43 points.
Wright’s runner-up finish today marks his best result in Tahiti and his best result of the season. To make his first Final in Tahiti, the Australian took down Jeep Frontrunner Toledo in the Semifinals and Wade Carmichael (AUS) in the Quarterfinals. Before Tahiti, Wright sat at 11th on the Jeep Leaderboard, but his result now boosts him up to 6th.
“It’s a sting, but it’s just nice to be back in the Final,” Wright said. “Right now, it’s a hard loss to take a second, but it’s been an incredible week. It all came down to those last two waves. I made the wrong decision and I’m already feeling that deep burn and drive. I’m stoked for Gabby, well-deserved win for him after it got taken off him by Julian (Wilson) just last year. Congratulations to Gabby."
Current Jeep Rankings Leader Toledo fell just short of his third Final to eventual runner-up Wright in a hard-fought Semifinal bout. Toledo’s impeccable form throughout the event, including a brilliant Quarterfinal win over rookie Michael February (ZAF), finally gave way during his Semifinal matchup. The Brasilian will retain the Jeep Leader Jersey into the next stop, the Surf Ranch Pro.
“I feel really happy and proud of myself with all the hard work I put out here, and a Semifinal result in Tahiti is definitely a keeper,” Toledo said. “I’ve been on the Tour for six years now and this is one of those years where everything is clicking and everything’s happening. I’m just making sure to capitalize and get the job done. It’s important to just keep the focus on what I’ve been doing - my training, my surfing and not worrying about the outside world.”
A critical heat in this year’s World Title race unfolded in Quarterfinal Heat 3 between contenders Medina and Ferreira. Medina took control of the all-Brasilian affair early on with a brilliant barrel ride into three forehand maneuvers, showing variety and power, to earn a 7.67 and didn’t let go of that lead, taking the edge over Ferreira en route to his win.
“I’m happy to make the Quarterfinals with my injury, and I think it’s an amazing result,” Ferreira said. “I hope to get stronger than ever and we still have four events left so I’m ready. Hopefully, I can get more out of the rest of the year and I’m so excited for the Surf Ranch to see what I can do there.”
The next stop on the 2018 WSL Championship Tour will be the Surf Ranch Pro pres. by Hurley in Lemoore, California from September 6 - 9, 2018.
For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.
Tahiti Pro Final Results:
1 - Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.50
2 - Owen Wright (AUS) 12.07
Tahiti Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.60 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 10.03
SF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.17 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 6.10
Tahiti Pro Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.43 def. Michael February (ZAF) 8.60
QF 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.00 def. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 9.57
QF 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.57. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 7.57
QF 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.34 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 5.74
WSL Men's CT Jeep Leaderboard (After Tahiti Pro):
1 - Filipe Toledo (BRA) 41,985 pts
2 - Gabriel Medina (BRA) 35,685 pts
3 - Julian Wilson (AUS) 32,380 pts
4 - Italo Ferreira (BRA) 30,160 pts
5 - Wade Carmichael (AUS) 25,550 pts
Zoe Steyn of Buffalo City Surfriders and Jordy Maree of Cape Town Surfriders win premiere Women’s and Men’s SA Championship titles and hosts Buffalo City Surfriders sweep the board at the 2018 Mercedes–Benz SA Championships hosted by Buffalo City.
Sunday August 12th - Local girl Zoe Steyn became the youngest female surfer in the 53 year history of the South African Surfing Championships to win the Open Women’s Division title when she dominated the final in 4 – 5 foot Nahoon Reef surf at the 2017 Mercedes–Benz SA Surfing Championships hosted by Buffalo City Municipality.
She was also named Surfer of the Contest and was awarded the trophy by last year’s award winner, Heather Clark.
It has been a special few weeks for the humble East London girl, who was selected to represent South Africa at the ISA World Surfing Games which take place in Japan in September. She will also represent South Africa at the ISA World Junior Championships in California at the end of October.
Runner up Heather Clark of Ugu Surfriders is an eight time Open Women’s Champion. She won her first South African Championship title at Nahoon Reef in 1989.
Tayla de Coning, Steyn’s Buffalo City teammate and fellow South African junior team member, came third while 2017 SA Champion Olivia Brand of eThekweni, was fourth.
Talented Jordy Maree, a late replacement in the Cape Town Surfriders team, celebrated his birthday on Saturday and won the South African Men’s Open Championship today when he posted a 17 out of 20 heat score to edge Chad du Toit of eThekweni Surfriders, into second place.
Maree joins the long list of surfers who have used a backhand attack to secure victory at Nahoon Reef. Last year’s champion, Brandon Benjamin, also of Cape Town Surfriders, used his backhand to become the 2017 champion.
Tyrell Johnson came third in the final with his young Buffalo City teammate Thomas Lindhorst, taking fourth.
In the Over 35 Men’s Division, Cape Town Surfrider’s team captain Neil Zietsman won his first ever National title when he beat Alan Johns of Ilembe Surfriders into second place. Tyrell Johnson of Buffalo City incurred a technical penalty which dropped him into third place ahead of his brother, Orrin.
The Over 30 SA Women’s title was won for the second year in a row by Heather Clark and for her consistent performances in this division and the Open Women's group, she was awarded the Dave Fish Trophy by last year’s winner Greg Emslie.
Tasha Mentasti of Eden Surfriders was second, Michelle Van Kempen of Nelson Mandela Bay came third and Nicki Seligmann of Cape Town was fourth.
Greg Emslie successfully defended his Over 40 title, narrowly beating Gary Van Wieringen of Ugu Surfriders by one point. Emslie’s Buffalo City team mate, Tristan Johnson, was third and Warwick Heny of Nelson Mandela Bay, came fourth.
Another surfer who defended his title by the skin of his teeth was Wayne Monk of Buffalo City. Monk edged Ryan Ribbink of Buffalo City into the silver medal slot in the Over 45 final just seconds before the siren sounded. Ribbink’s eThekweni teammate, Warren Dixon, came third and the copper medal went to Volker Mielck of Cape Town Surfriders.
Adding to Buffalo City’s list of successes at the 2018 Mercedes–Benz SA Championships hosted by Buffalo City, was a victory for Gareth Sepp in the Over 50 Division final over defending champion David Malherbe and his brother, Andre, who was third.
Sean Jerram of Cape Town had to settle for fourth place behind the three Buffalo City surfers.
Nahoon Reef local Nick Pike took more gold for Buffalo City when he won the Over 55 title ahead of Stephen Hair of Eden. Pike’s teammate Toby Mare won a bronze medal and Andre Venter of Nelson Mandela Bay, won copper.
In the Over 60 Final, Jeremy Zinn of Cape Town Surfriders pulled out all the stops to beat defending champion Gordon Harmer of Buffalo City. Kelly Kellerman of eThekweni was third and Andre Venter of Nelson Mandela Bay came fourth.
All the winners won the coveted Surfing South Africa floating trophies, gold medals and R1000 in cash.
Buffalo City won the Masters Cup for the 13th year in a row, beating Cape Town Surfriders into second spot. Then came eThekweni, Nelson Mandela Bay, Eden,Ilembe and Ugu Surfriders.
The East London team retained the Presidents Cup for the highest scores in the Open Divisions. eThekweni came second, followed by Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay, Ugu, Ilembe, Eden and Cape Winelands.
The Champions Cup, which is presented to the Team that scores the highest combined points total, went to the dominant Buffalo City Team. eThekweni came second, Cape Town were third followed by Nelson Mandela Bay, Ugu, Ilembe Eden and Cape Winelands.
All the heat results, team results and photos from the six days of competition are posted on www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za.
The 53rd edition of the South African Surfing Championships began on Tuesday at Nahoon Reef and ended at Nahoon Reef on the final day. Two of the five days of competition were held at Nahoon Corner courtesy of some huge storm surf that hit East London midweek.
Despite these challenges the 2018 Mercedes–Benz SA Surfing Championships hosted by Buffalo City and supported by Sport and Recreation SA, was a huge success. Over 150 surfers from eight Districts competed in the Championships which were held in great surf over six days.
Feliciano Janneker, Manager External Affairs and Stakeholder Relations, was at Nahoon Reef to watch the finals and commented on the event. “At Mercedes–Benz South Africa it is important to embrace those things that bring us together. The passion for sport connects us and has brought us together with the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM) and Surfing South Africa in this very fitting partnership. We believe that sport is an embodiment of togetherness and positively contributes to social change. We are very proud of this partnership and we thank BCMM for bringing it to the city. Thank you to all the participants and the community at large for coming out in multitudes to support the event for the second year in a row. Congratulatory greetings to all the winners, we hope we see you again next year”