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Beach Grit

Sufficiently Fierce: Day three, Billabong Pro, Tahiti!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

…where John John loses, but only just, as Gabriel rigs his sails, finally!

World title defences are, for the most, subdued and Gabriel Medina, currently wearing a shame face in fifteenth, is nothing if not conformist.

What we’ve forgotten in the furious gale of Toledo-fever is that Gabriel has a weird witchcraft. This ability to look like he’s sleep-walking and…yet… grab his competitors by the throat and fling their carcass out of an event. It’s incomprehensible and awful to some, genius to others.

Did you watch his round three with John John? As uncanny as John John’s tube riding is, as much as his post-barrel turns take your breath away, as much as he collects nines on every ride, he couldn’t beat the stubborn world champ. John was lost in astonishment.


And do you remember last year? When Gabriel beat Kelly Slater who was in the form of his life, in the best waves surfed at a Teahupoo contest?

A little prediction. Gabriel will wash the year away with a win, maybe two (France, Portugal), finish top four and return, enthusiastic and fabulous, for title two in 2016.

In the meantime, Aritz Aranburu thrashed Mick Faning, Italo Ferriera, who could talk the hind-legs off his favourite dog in the post-heat interviews, found ramps and Filipe ended Brett Simpson’s fanciful dream of a ninth or better.

Full report here!

Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 3 Results:Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.97 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 12.50Heat 2: Kai Otton (AUS) 13.13 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.00

Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) 18.23 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 15.70

Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 16.10 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.83

Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (HAW) 19.00 def. John John Florence (HAW) 18.84

Heat 6: Bruno Santos (BRA) 16.20 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.70

Heat 7: Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 15.17 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 6.67

Heat 8: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 16.83 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 8.66


Upcoming Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 3 Match-Ups:

Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)

Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)

Heat 11: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)

Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)