Gallery: Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic
Eleven years ago the Swellnet team ventured down to Victoria for the Rip Curl Pro. With small waves breaking across the Surf Coast the event was shifted to Johanna for Finals Day, and this was the first time I'd heard of, let alone laid eyes on, a new up and coming star - Gabriel Medina.
While Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning competed on a long-running right, most eyes were fixed on a left rip-bowl down the beach. Gabriel was boosting off everything he caught. He was a wildcard for the event after picking up a contract for Rip Curl the previous year, aged 15, and the show he was putting on signalled a big future.
This brings us back to yesterday, sitting on the beach amongst thousands watching Gabs again performing rotation after rotation on any wave possible. Sometimes with minimal speed, he'd pop up, pump twice in the top third of the wave before boosting out into the flats. It was almost futile trying to compete against such an acrobat with powerful rail surfing, though Morgan and Conner gave it a good crack.
Below is a chronological gallery running from the second Quarter right through to the Final, where, with Italo out of the event, Medina took both the title and a commanding ratings' lead - all on a beautiful Northern Beaches' afternoon.