Two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina had his round sixteen heat at the Rip Curl Pro Portugal in the bag with two big scores against Caio Ibelli and conditions favoured the Jeep Leader’s dynamic style and aerial prowess.
Nobody could ever doubt the expected result of the heat, until the nine-minute mark when both surfers paddled for the same wave and a priority interference was called on Gabriel Medina, turning the heat on its head.
Caio Ibelli still had to work a little harder to overtake Medina’s single highest score an 8.17 but eventually found the winning ride to eliminate his compatriot in equal ninth for the second time after France.
“I went right on a wave before and I think he went left,” Ibelli explained. “I think I reached the lineup before him but further down the beach, and I got the priority. Once we met in the lineup again he was really close to me, I saw that I had priority so I paddled hard for that wave. I know he doesn’t do that kind of mistake so when I stood up on that wave I started to question myself. For me, Gabriel (Medina) is the best surfer in the world and I look up to him so much, I have so much respect for him. Surfing wise he definitely won that heat but luckily everything went my way.”
Stay tuned for the latest from the Rip Curl Pro Portugal
Source: World Surf League
Photos: (Photo by Laurent Masurel/WSL via Getty Images)