And we have a 2017 World Champion!
God is an ever-present figure in sports, from the National Football League all the way to the World Surf League. He helps teams win, players score and surfers title. Yesterday, after winning his heat, Brazil’s Gabriel Medina was supremely confident that God was firmly cheering for a Gabriel Media championship, telling South Africa’s Rose Hodge, “I feel great, I feel good, I feel God is on my side. Now is just to trust, believe and go for it.”
Well, things started a little dicey for Medina during his Round Four heat against Jeremy Flores and someone else. Jeremy jumped into a quick lead while someone else paddled around the lineup lost. Gabriel sat, waiting, before pouncing on a backdoor tube that looked ok and was judged a stellar 8 +. J-Flo was furious, kicking the water, screaming French obscenities, not because Gabriel caught a wave but because Gabriel had effectively blocked him on the three best waves of the day. Interference was not called and “WSL is playing favorites again…” would have become the refrain except Jeremy snagged a little runner at the end of the heat and was rewarded an even more stellar 8 +.
Off went Gabriel to Round Five where he faced the World’s Greatest Surfer and ’88 Pipeline Master Kelly Slater.
(Just kidding about the ’88 Pipeline Master. That was Barton Lynch.)
Kelly Slater is, I think, agnostic at best. Maybe he believes in a “higher power” but definitely not God. Would God push Gab through?
It started looking good. Kelly paddled for the first wave of the heat, a gorgeous Backdoor thing, and inexplicably couldn’t get to his feet. Or maybe explicably? Maybe the Corner Man Upstairs? Yes, I don’t think it could be argued any other wave, because a turtle swam though the lineup and knocked Kelly Slater off his board.
Kelly locked into another sneaky one but then here comes God! Gabriel got a small one which turned into an 8.9 then another weird one that turned into a 9.07! God sitting in the judges booth, locking in scores! God proving Gabriel Medina right.
Kelly took off on another bomb but God positioned Gabriel just so and he dropped in on Kelly’s head, destroying the wave’s “scoring potential” as they say. Barton Lynch won the 1988 Pipeline Masters.
And then he won. Gabriel Medina and God. But won the heat, not the Title or not yet.
And let us fast forward through John John and Julian’s quarterfinal heat wherein John John won handily.
And let us fast forward through Gabriel Medina and Julian Wilson’s quarterfinal heat wherein Medina was crushed by the Frenchman.
John John wins the World Championship Trophy! The day’s true chosen one!