Surfer Gabriel Medina Pinto Ferreira was born in the city of São Sebastião, on São Paulo state’s north coast, on 22 December 1993. At only 20 years old, he became world surfing champion in advance, at the last event on the Hawaiian circuit. He is also the youngest Brazilian to have ever been part of the select ASP World Tour (WCT) and has already joined the Hall of Fame of Brazilian surfing.
Surfing since the age of nine, Gabriel has Always had the company of his stepfather Charles Medina, also a surfer. He was quick to notice the kid’s incredible skill, and encouraged him to train hard and to show all his talent while still small.
Champion at 11 years old
With all this support, at the tender age of 11 Gabriel won his first national championship, which was the Rip Curl Grom Search event in the under-12 class. Next he walked off with the Brazilian Amateur championships, the Volcom under-14 circuit, the Quicksilver King of Groms event, the Rip Curl Grom Search, and also became thrice champion of the State of São Paulo.
His awards were by no means only national: Gabriel took second place in the under-14 class at theVolcom International event in California (United States) and also at the World under-16 Amateur Championship in Ecuador.
At the age of 14, he managed to defeat the famous award-winning Adriano Mineirinho, and he was always at the finals of the São Paulo State Professional Surfing Championship and also several stages of the Professional Surfing Championship. For this reason, it came as no surprise when, in 2009, Gabriel signed a contract with Rip Curl and went professional. With a contract in his hands, only ten days later he won a stage of the Professional World Championship.
First Brazilian to win the Australian stage at Backside
Only two years later, in 2011, he won the WQS 6-star Prime in Imbituba, Santa Catarina, two WQS 6-star events in France and Spain, and also a stage of the Pro Junior World Championship (France). He therefore became the first Brazilian to take home a medal from an Australian event of the Backside programme (Gold Coast Australia).
With so many titles under his belt, at the age of only 17 Gabriel entered the top division of world surfing (World Tour) in 2011. The titles did not stop there. That same year, he won two events of the ASP World Tour, and became famous throughout the world on completing a move known as a backflip, which is a kind of reverse somersault. This is one of the rarest and most difficult moves in the sport, and had only been achieved in competition once before.
First World Surfing Champion from Brazil
In 2014, he was crowned as the first ever Brazilian to become world surfing championship in the WCT division, winning a contest which had the participation of famous names like Australian Mick Fanning and American Kelly Slater – who has been World Champion 11 times.
Then in 2015 he was runner-up in the stage of Pipe Masters, and ended the championship in third place behind Australian Mick Fanning. He confessed that the fame that came with his world title in 2014 took some of his discipline away, but assures that new titles shall come in 2016. Gabriel Medina is also the Brazilian surfer who has spent most time as leader of the world surfing ranking, in history.