- 05 June 2014 | Surfing
Gabriel Medina defeated Nat Young to conquer the Fiji Pro 2014, in three-to-five foot (1 - 1.5 metre) surf at Cloudbreak, Tavarua.
In the first semifinal, Nat Young and Michel Bourez had to tackle small surf and multiple lulls. Barrels were rare, and scores were low. With ten minutes to go, the Californian got the job done with a competent ride. Third chance to win a final.
When you've got Gabriel Medina and Kolohe Andino in a semifinal heat, you've got a sold-out show. The Brazilian opened the heat with a double barrel (6.7 points), but his opponent answered with an average ride (4.17 points). The heat was entirely open.
In the second half of the clash, it was time for carves, turns and floaters. With a dying swell, surfers were relying on wave face management. A perfect barrel by Medina would combo Andino with seven minutes for a place in the final. In the end, the "Shish Kebabs" section decided.
The 40-minute Fiji Pro 2014 final saw two goofy-footers battling for different goals. Gabriel Medina was discussing his seventh final, and Nat Young was looking for a maiden Dream Tour victory.
Positioning was critical. The Brazilian star opened the hostilities with a handful of precise snaps, floaters and short tube rides (7.33 points). No waves for Kolohe Andino in the first 13 minutes, but when he takes the inaugural ramp he manages to steal a double barrel (8.17 points).
Medina immediately answers with a perfect drive through the barrel and pulls back in again (9.87 points). Young does it again (6.60 points). Exciting final in our hands, with a young generation emerging from the reef.
With a total heat score of 18.40 points, Gabriel Medina put Nat Young in combo land. Could fifteen minutes be enough to turn the final? No. Young had to settle with yet another runner-up finish.
"I got two good ones. This wave is amazing. Hard work pays off. Nat is a great guy and that was a good final against him. I was so nervous inside those barrels, I couldn't see anything, but when I came out I was stoked," says Medina.
"It's great to be back at the top of the ratings, it's still early but I'm feeling good. I've never surfed at Jeffreys Bay before but I'm going home after this to prepare and I'll be working hard."
Gabriel takes the front seat in the overall rankings. But with another good result, is Michel Bourez eyeing a maiden world surfing title? Will the Tahitian be able to handle the pressure? He says he will take it heat by heat. So far, so good.
The sixth stop on the 2014 ASP World Tour is the J-Bay Open, to be surfed between 10th-21st July, at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.
Fiji Pro 2014 Final:
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18.40 def. Nat Young (USA), 14.77
Fiji Pro 2014 Semifinals:
Nat Young (USA), 14.00 def. Michel Bourez (PYF), 12.10
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 17.50 def. Kolohe Andino (USA), 9.57