Gabriel Medina Withdraws From Pipeline Masters
Overnight, three-time world champ Gabriel Medina announced he'd be withdrawing from the Pipeline Masters - the first event of the season and a contest he won in 2018.
In a lengthy (by his standards) Instagram post, Medina cited a lack of mental and physical wellbeing. The situation not dissimilar to US gymnast Simone Biles who made a partial withdrawal from the 2020 Olympics.
Medina first alluded to a rest in a 2021 interview with Brazilian sports newspaper Lance where he expressed uncertainty about this year’s CT:
“I need to stop thinking about competition for a while, because everything I do today, food, routine… It’s all focused on competition. I never missed a step. It’s been hard to do this for years. I think the time has come when I need to take a break,” Medina said.
"It’s very intense, it demands a lot. I want to give myself a break, but it’s something I’ll still stop to think about, leaving it day after day… Let’s see how it goes.”
Medina has had a turbulent three years, marrying girlfriend Yasmin Brunet, and severing familial ties with his mother Simone and stepfather Charlie - who also served as Gabriel's manager and coach. The rift atomised the once-tight Medina nuclear bond, with various assets - such as the Gabriel Medina Institute - doled out to various family members for severance. The split also brought him into the orbit of his biological father, Claudio Ferreira.
In a heat, Medina has always carried himself with passive indifference, his public image, at least in the English-speaking world, a facsimile of the same. Yet those who know him claim Medina is far more emotional and sensitive then that one-dimensional portrayal. Mick Fanning has repeatedly vouched for Medina's softer side, something the media were never privy to.
Medina's full statement is as follows:
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.
The Pipeline Masters begins on January 29th. Medina's place will be filled by Caio Ibelli - first alternate Matthew McGillivray having already filled the injured Yago Dora's place.