The reigning world champ Gabriel Medina whose surfing is a sort of live-action cartoon, moments after another successful Pipeline campaign. | Photo: Steve Sherman/@tsherms

World surfing champion Gabriel Medina sensationally steps away from professional surfing days before opening tour event; cites mental health issues, “Recognizing and admitting to myself that I’m not well has been a very difficult process”

"I've reached my limit," says the Champ.

The three-time and reigning world surfing champion Gabriel Medina has sensationally, though not surprisingly, stepped off the world tour citing mental health issues.

In a long screed posted to Instagram Medina wrote,

2021 was an amazing year for me, I conquered my biggest dream as a surfer, which was to become a three-time world champion.

It was an untouchable stop for me.

Last year, I experienced a roller oaster of emotions in and out of the water, which greatly affected my mental and physical health.

By the end of the season, I was completely drained. I’ve reached my limit. I got my vaccine during the holidays and I thought I would be able to prepare in time for the first leg of the new season, which starts at one of my favorite spots in the world, Pipe.

It was not the case.

I have decided that I will not travel to Hawaii and will take some time to recover mentally and physically. I have a slight hip injury that I’ve been treating since the end of last year.

In addition to the body, I have emotional issues that I need to deal with. Recognizing and admitting to myself that I’m not well has been a very difficult process and choosing to take time to take care of myself was perhaps the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my entire life.

I’ve wondered a lot lately if I should make this public or keep it private, but it’s only fair that all of you who have always rooted for me know the moment I’m facing. Mental health is very important. I need to be 100% mentally to compete again.

I will come back stronger🙏 I love you and thank you for everything.

Four months ago, Medina signalled his intention to quit the tour in an interview with a Brazilian news outlet,

“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,” said Medina.


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It ain’t surprising he’s hurting.

Early in 2020, Gabriel split, in a professional as well as a private sense, from his mammy Simone and his step-daddy Charlie Serrano.

Charlie you know as the ubiquitous, unsmiling, ever-supportive pillar behind his equally taciturn looking son.

The split was driven, it was said, by Medina’s surprise marriage to actress and model Yasmin Brunet, parental sadness over losing their lil man, the ol empty nest syndrome.

“They have always lived through Gabriel’s career. Imposing discipline, giving strength and controlling everything closely. Now, he is no longer a boy and shares his life with his wife. It is undeniable how passionate they are,” said a friend.

Since the split he’s got back in touch with his real daddy, Claudinho, who now lives in one of Medina’s houses.


“Hard-charging” little brother of Pipeline Master and two-time world champion John John Florence set to shock big names at Billabong Pro Pipeline, “Ivan is a serious little guy… his style is sicker than John’s!”

The coolest Florence in the pack!

The littlest man in the Florence triumvirate that includes two-times world champ John John and big-wave chaser Nathan, will make his WCT debut at he Billabong Pro Pipeline, which begins its waiting period this Sunday, Jan 30. 

Ivan, who turns twenty-six in May, has emerged from the shadow of his overachieving oldest brother and hilariously absurdist middle bro in the past couple of Hawaiian seasons, proving magnetic in the water as well as the skate park, creative energies suddenly liberated. 

Describing the hierarchy between the three brothers Nathan told BeachGrit a few years back, “John’s obviously way ahead of me and Ivan performance-wise, I feel like. He has the super competitive drive. He loves the contests whereas I… hate contests. I can’t stand them. I’d rather chase a swell and surf by myself in bigger waves than go grind it out in the CT. Ivan’s the same way, kinda. But then, Ivan has a sicker style. His style is way sicker me or John’s. I don’t even know how he’s so smooth, like, Tom Curren and then he has that little drop-knee like…that guy…that air guy… with the long, curly hair and he kinda drop knees…(Craig Anderson).”

The differing personalities Nathan describes thus, 

“Ivan is a serious little guy. Very serious little face. I’m more of the sarcastic one who’s making a joke out of everything and then John is just right in between. He can be super mature, just ’cause he has to deal with so many interviews and business-like stuff, but then at the same time he’s more immature than me and Ivan… especially when he gets drunk.”


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Ivan starts his Pipe Master campaign in heat six against Brazilians Filipe Toledo and Sammy Pupo.

One month ago, looking like a thin sashimi slice between translucent wafers of Asian pear, Ivan scored a ten-point ride at the Hic Pipe Pro in front of big bro John.


In stunning move that throws professional surfing into disarray, defending World Title holder Gabriel Medina withdraws from Billabong Pro Pipeline Masters!

BeachGrit prescient.

In a move that will reverberate through the beginning of the World Surf League’s 2022 season, it has just been announced that 2021’s defending champion, Brazilian Gabriel Medina, has officially withdrawn from the Billabong Pro Pipeline Masters which opens in mere days.

Per the press release:

“The past few months have been a difficult time for me personally and it has taken a toll,” said Medina. “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. Love.”

“The health and safety of our athletes is of the utmost importance, and we fully support Gabriel’s decision to prioritize his well-being,” said Erik Logan, WSL CEO. “We want to put the world’s best surfers in front of our fans to start the season, but we certainly respect his decision. We’ll obviously miss having our reigning World Champion at the 2022 CT kick-off at the Billabong Pro Pipeline, and we will be here to welcome him back when he’s ready.”

“Gabriel is our number one surfer and we will do anything to help him return to his best personally and professionally,” said Rip Curl Chief Marketing Officer, Neil Ridgway. “For many world champion sportspeople the pressures of winning at the highest level are great and the Olympics and WSL Championship Tour are tough crucibles to thrive in. We have seen the ups and downs with many of our finest World Champion surfers and we support Gabriel 100% in his plan to recover in full and be ready to rumble later in the WSL season. We would also like to say to his many fans that it’s ok to reach out for help if you are struggling physically and mentally and seek help from the many organizations across the world, which have really come into focus during the pandemic. The other thing to do is surf more. The ocean is a great healer and we know Gabriel will be out in the lineup as part of his recovery. We wish him well.”

Medina will be replaced by Caio Ibelli (BRA) at the 2022 Billabong Pro Pipeline.

Logan and co. could have planned better for this outcome had they listened to the advice of BeachGrit’s Derek Rielly who, four months ago, declared that Medina was likely to sit out for the whole season.

How does this make you feel, the defending champ taking a potential year off at the height of his prowess?

Caio Ibelli back for more?

Interesting days.

Teva sandals dead giveaway that a lifesaving is nigh.
Teva sandals dead giveaway that a lifesaving is nigh.

North Shore lifeguards superhumanly busy over weekend of pounding surf, save 53 lives and warn a further 7000 vulnerable adults to look but not touch!

When the wave breaks here... be back in Tulsa.

I am currently in Jackson Hole, Wyoming ahead of Natural Selection, the snowboard competition that the World Surf League should copy forthwith. More on that later, but regarding our WSL, extremely large surf has been pounding Oahu’s North Shore ahead of the Billabong Pro Pipeline Masters kickoff keeping the local lifeguards extremely busy.

Honolulu Ocean Safety Lt. Kerry Atwood told KHON News, “We’ve been busy. We’ve had multiple surfers at Waimea Bay needing assistance from our rescue unit and had to be brought back to the beach. And we did have a jet ski that got into some trouble earlier in the day in the Laniakea area.”

The outlet reported that as of 4:30 yesterday afternoon, lifeguards had saved 53 souls from drowning and made a further, whopping, 7000 “preventative actions” such as telling vulnerable adults to look but not touch etc.

“We’re not taking any chances today. We have caution tape up, signs posted, we have mobile patrols, lifeguards on ATVS, two rescue units actively patrolling the surf, one on land and lieutenants in trucks,” Lt. Atwood continued.

7000 warnings.

Could you imagine issuing 7000 warnings to befuddled Logans fresh off the plane from Oklahoma, eyes wide, bodies sheathed in neoprene suits of armor, ready to meet their destiny?

7000 warnings.


No shakas for BL at Pipe this year.

Bombshell: WSL pulls hall-of-famer and former world champ Barton Lynch from Pipeline Masters commentary team!

The tour's opening gambit just dulled a little with the dumping of the sport's most popular broadcaster…

In a surprise turn, the 1988 world champion Barton Lynch, who cinched his title at perfect eight-to-twelve-foot Pipeline but is now more famous for his oratorical gymkhanas on WSL broadcasts, has been pulled from the commentary team for the 2022 Pipeline Masters. 

Lynch, who is fifty-eight and lives at Sunset Beach in Hawaii, was shifted sideways to the Hurley Sunset Beach event to make room for, we believe, Ross Williams and Makua Rothman. 

Matt Warshaw in his Encylopedia of Surfing (subscribe here) says Lynch developed a reputation as “one of the sport’s wittiest and most articulate figures, and for his willingness to express views outside what he correctly viewed as a narrow surf world orthodoxy. Surfing, he said in a 1989 interview, was nothing more than ‘another outlet for making yourself feel good,’ and shouldn’t serve as ‘the be-all and end-all of your life.’  Surfers, he continued, were on the whole the most ‘self-righteous, cocky and judgmental group of people you’ll find anywhere in the world.'”

One of the sport’s most popular broadcasters, there was conjecture the dumping was linked to Lynch’s role in the activist group Voices4Choices, which questions vaccine mandates and the role of government during the continuing COVID pandemic.

A recent Voices4Choices webinar was a who’s who of the sporting world, tennis stars, surfers (Taj Burrow), doctors etc,


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And here’s the Voices4Choices theme song,


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