Gabriel, so sad!

Amid death threats to Ethan Ewing from Brazilian surf fans, Gabriel Medina pens open letter to WSL complaining of “shocking” judging following loss at Surf Ranch Pro!

"Today was as ugly as in El Salvador last year, but this time it became clear not only for the Brazilian community but for the gringos."

The three-time world champ Gabriel Medina has posted an open letter to the WSL complaining of poor judging following his shock loss to Ethan Ewing in the quarter-finals of the Surf Ranch Pro, the defeat marking the first time in five events he’d failed to make the final. 

Dear WSL,

Please understand the importance of this discussion. 

Surfing has been my life and my love for this sport is unconditional. I have put all my heart into and and want to leave a beautiful legacy one day when I look back at it. 

However the surfing community, especially in Brazil, is mesmerized with the poor clarity and inconsistence of judging for many years now, but lately it has been even more shocking.

It is quite clear that judging is now rewarding very simple surfing, seamless transitions and have taken critical turns in critical sections off the criteria. This is very frustrating and is stagnating the sport. 

Fans and sponsor will not accept this to continue and will in a near future be draw away once all they want is equal and fair judging to the sport. 

Also, important to note that many coaches and managers have had the opportunity to speak to WSL after heats/events to ask about PROGRESSION and VARIETY in the criteria and the lack of reward for this space. The response given by them is always quite defensive by giving poor examples to illustrate THEIR point.

WSL needs urgently to clarify judging and apply equal and fair judging to save the progression of the sport.


Gabriel Medina and Brasil 


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And, just as Filipe Toledo’s daddy Ricky poured fuel on the fire last year when Griff beat Pip and Brazilian fans promised blood on the sand on Saquarema, Gabriel’s letter has excited another raft of sore losers. 

“Go away of this shit league. It’s over. They are way below your amazing talent. Commercial interests killed the sport.”

“Can’t take credit for this score, they can’t take it. They’re destroying the image of surfing. They have to understand that after the baby crawls, he starts walking and then runs and jumps.”

“Today was bizarre and stained the championship, lack of clarity in the criteria and abuse of subjectivity to interfere in the results and put A or B flag on the top group, no more! There’s no more, we Brazilians, we need to intelligently protest the organization in the stage that is coming here in Brazil, enough of this theft.”

“Today was as ugly as in El Salvador last year, but this time it became clear not only for the Brazilian community but for the gringos. Just watch some interviews with the gringos with surprise faces! Congratulations Gabriel, not only an idol but also a leader!

“After Medina was eliminated unscrupulously I turned off the TV my 6 year old asked why I wasn’t going to watch anymore. Did I say my eyes hurt. How do you explain to a child who believes in Santa Claus that there is no honesty in sports? And that the company that owns the rights to this is one of the dirtiest people around? Leave Brazil because my stomach could no longer take injustice and dishonesty. I unfollowed football and the olympics for the same reason! And sadly I’ve seen for many years that the corporation that controls Surf, WSL, is composed of individuals who carry the most rotten in society on them, are those that for profit are capable of any attitude! They manipulate results, impose rules and alterations down the throat.

“I’ve always been an athlete and often competed as an amateur in the street racing mode. I have never won anything, but I have the dignity to say that I have always been honest, not only in exams, but in life. This for me is the greatest legacy and example we can pass on. Many will say that the athlete who wins is not to blame, but the complicity is not to blame? Would you feel good about winning something you didn’t really win? What’s something like that worth? What is the merit ?The real winners are those who conquer the battles through their sweat!”

Thousands more everywhere, on the WSL’s account, Gabriel’s etc.

Personally, I thought Italo had more reason for tears. You?

And is it really a race thing? A classic case of American white supremacy? The judges as Daniel Penny, Gabriel as Jordan Neely?

I would think the WSL very excited to crown a BIPOC surfer as champ as evidenced, perhaps, by Brazilians taking six of the last nine men’s world championships.

Australian surfer Ethan Ewing threatened with death following controversial win over Gabriel Medina at Surf Ranch Pro! “Here in Brazil, we kill you. Saquarema will be your funeral”

"One day, you will compete here in Brazil. Us will remember you. Get ready."

Business as usual, I suppose, as Brazilian surf fans poured on the vitriol and the usual death threats following Gabriel Medina’s shock quarter-final loss to Australian Ethan Ewing at the Surf Ranch Pro. 

It was the first time in four Surf Ranch events Medina hadn’t made the final. (He’s won it twice.) His record gets even wilder when you add his win at the 2017 Future Classic speciality event there. Real hard to beat. 

In a see-sawing quarter, Ethan and Gabriel both finished on 16.67 points, Ethan swinging through to the final by having the highest single wave score of the heat, a 9.07 to Gabriel’s 8.67.


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See the full heat, below, if you wanna compare, see the scale etc.

And, over on the WSL’s Instagram page, which rarely gets more than a dozen comments aside from a few bots, Brazilian surf fans went nuts. 

Let’s invade Saquarema! Protest against this rigged league

When Brazil’s stage arrives, the judges get piano and judge even right, last year it was like that. Because the previous leg was El Salvador and there was that robbery there of Filipe against Griffin in the final.

Griffin is WSL darling for being American just like Ewing and Robinson for being Australian. The guys don’t accept the World Championship of another Brazilian for a financial reason and appeal to the two most important markets for surfing: USA and Australia. Justice, righteousness, right, have been relegated to the background because interest is financial. WSL is a SHAME

Ruin the sport with no shame

Bullshit!!! Medina win in water and judges win in paper….Nonsense

how far has it come. For the USA to beat the Brazilians just by stealing. Shame league!!!!!


The absurdity was not the score of 9.07 for Ewing, BUT THE RIDICULOUS SCORE THAT MEDINA RECEIVED IN THE SAME WAVE… It seems that the judges have a higher level of demand for MEDINA. AN INJUSTICE TO THE NAKED EYES!!! EXPLAIN THIS WSL!?…

And on, and on. 

Ewing, meanwhile, received a couple of tangy DMs from a man dressed as a solder called André Guizelini.

“One day, you will compete here in Brazil and us will remember you. Get ready.”

“I’m saying again, here in Brazil, we will kill you. Saquarema will be your funeral.” 

Ethan posted the DMs with the note, “How good are surfing fans!”

You’ll remember the sad Brazilian faces, of course, when Griffin Colapinto beat Filipe Toledo in El Salvador last year.

Read, Brazilian surf fans apoplectic following Californian Griffin Colapinto’s “shock” win over world title favourite Filipe Toledo, “World Shame League! This event was a joke!” and Latin surf fans vow to create chaos at next World Tour event in Brazil following Filipe Toledos controversial loss to Californian in El Salvador, “The biggest protest in history in Saquarema! Bring banners, balloons, planes, boo all the time! Make them leave due to emotional stress!”)

It got so bad Griff’s mama came out swinging. 

“I will protect you until the day I die! Even if I need a walker and a cane and even if you don’t need mom backup . Anyway, I’m making a point! Terrible things still happen I’m this world (I mean, watch a Dateline Episode, for F sake). And an outcome in a surf contest where the top guys still make good money is upsetting the masses? I have no words.”

Over at camp Toledo, meanwhile, Pip’s daddy Ricky just poured flames on the outrage. 

“Griffin… of course you are not to blame for what is happening with the Wsl judgment… We really hope that something will be done, and that this will change, as it is becoming unbearable to see and hear the things we are hearing. during the events, I am embarrassed for the others… @filipetoledo , you have shown yourself to be a true soldier in the war, defending your homeland, where we clearly see that, you are targeted and keep moving forward! WHAT A WARRIOR!!! my congratulations son, the world is proud of you, who despite everything, has been a true “gentleman”, always responding with great ethics, respect and wisdom. So proud of the human being who has shown himself to be a true champion! And you know it…🤷‍♂️ “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch upon the evil and the good.”

Tell me, are Brazilians the world’s sorest losers or passionate followers whose enthusiasm should be treasured?

Griffin Colapinto shocks world, takes out Italo Ferreira to win Surf Ranch Pro while twelve Brazilian fans and three drunk Fresno community college students shriek in horror!

Stunner in Lemoore!

The sun was out in Lemoore, California and the water in Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch oddly clear. It was finals day in the tub and our Jen See was on the ground with what appeared to be twelve very excited Brazilians and three drunk community college students from nearby Fresno. A light crowd by any measure and no Sam George as surfing’s golem opted to take Sunday off and bless others with his aura.

The Inertia.

J.P. Currie will give the important details, soon, but before he arrives, Carissa Moore took out Caroline Marks on the women’s side. Moore is now in first place and is absolutely dominant. If she has her second rightful crown in a row stolen at Lower Trestles then the World Surf League should be burned to the ground.

Erik Logan.

On the men’s side, surprise finalist Griffin Colapinto came up Italo Ferreira after smashing Felipe Toledo in the semis even though Toledo pulled a varial into a switch stance’d tube which was actually cool. Italo mowed through Ethan Ewing even though Ewing had a nine-point ride.

Colapinto started it off on the right and surf ranched. Turn, turn, down carve, turn, barrel, fall on the reverse.

“When you go big you fall big as well,” Joe Turpel said.


He blow tail reverse’d the left to cheers from the mostly empty VIP zone.

“What an effort for Colapinto,” Joe Turpel said.


Ferreira tucked into a long barrel on his first right, backhand for him, and tucked into a barrel then, shockingly, another one.

“I love that ride away, how does that look,” Joe Turpel said.


He did lots of things on the left. Barrels, airs, “whips” etc.

“What a special performance,” Joe Turpel said.


Back against the wall, Colapinto snapped to slide, slide, barrel, blow, carve, tail drift, frontside blunt on his second right.

“He’s been reaching for slob the last couple days,” Joe Turpel said.


Re-taking the lead, the San Clementine felt confident enough to go for a rodeo flip, on his second left, though didn’t land it.

“Standing ovation for Colapinto,” Joe Turpel said.

Ferreira, now in trouble, backside turned into the barrel, did two backside spinners and raised his hands to the crowd, a gesture of “What else do you guys want to see?”

“What else do you guys want to see?” Joe Turpel said then adding “Unbelievable, Strider.”


Boos rained down as the twelve very excited Brazilians felt robbed, alongside their hero. On his second left he fell right away and it was over.

Griffin Colapinto shock winner of the Surf Ranch Pro as he is hoisted upon shoulders and serenaded with “for he’s a jolly good fellow.”

When was the last time you heard that little ditty? Have we reached Peak White?

Twelve very angry Brazilians storming the Tachi Palace tonight.

Photo: Kelly Cestari/WSL
Photo: Kelly Cestari/WSL

Open Thread: Comment Live, Finals Day of the Surf Ranch Pro where liver is paired with fava beans and a nice chianti!


Neither Jack nor Jack Jack. Photo: WSL
Neither Jack nor Jack Jack. Photo: WSL

Jack Robinson suffers heavy defeat at Surf Ranch Pro though he, and John John Florence, belong in the tank about as much as an orca at Seaworld!

And other musings from The Machine.

Apologies for the delayed dispatch. I am with children this weekend whilst my partner is off gallivanting at Harry Styles in Edinburgh. She can keep him. I’m quite content on my own with the kids, but it’s not easy to get shit done. I took them to the swimming pool in the morning, then we walked four miles in the woods in the afternoon, pelted each other with pine cones, did some “smashing”, which is a game the mental younger one (four) likes to inflict on his more reserved older brother (six), and is self-explanatory. Haribos kept the momentum going and (I thought) we were well on the way to early evening burnout that would allow me to concentrate on matters at hand. But it was not to be.

“Look, boys”, I implored as they clambered over me and stabbed mischievous fingers at my keyboard, “manmade waves! Isn’t it crazy?” They shrugged and continued smashing. Of course it isn’t crazy to them, I realised. Artificial waves pre-date their existence. It’s only me that will continue to look at it with part fascination, part abomination. For them, it’s just another type of surfing.

I’d been eagerly anticipating this comp, for the point of difference, the scheduling, and the gambling opportunities. It’s been a while since we saw the pool, and the dullness of previous competitions had somewhat faded. Improvements were promised in format and wave style.

But when fifty-one year old Kelly Slater creaked to his feet for the opening ride on his own creation, it was stiff, samey and nothing new. We were right back where we started. Twenty guys would likely do the same thing, repetitive turns, unimpressive barrel rides, then safety finishes, terrified of risking a non-completion. Four might be more dynamic and perform this genre of surfing as it should be, with explosive and inventive aerials.

To be fair, the format has improved. It’s becoming a trope of mine to say so, but anything that adds tension to this sport should be encouraged. One man advancing from a heat of four seems brutal, especially when a heat contains both John Florence and Gabriel Medina. There was lots of talk of pressure. Turpel trotted out his Parko anecdote about feeling more pressure at Surf Ranch than Pipe, and for surfers like Florence (who has actually never competed here before) the nerves were evident. But this is how it should be.

The night session was better than the day. If we ignore the gimmicky lights for the moment (JMD’s lights. Her idea, according to Erik Logan), two men advancing based on their single highest score from a left and a right each is a solid way to run a competition in the pool.

The leaderboard for the night session was far better than the day activities, too. At least we were able to keep track of the scores, a seemingly fundamental fan experience that the WSL couldn’t get right for the daytime heats.

The wave is different to the previous iteration as well. Better or worse is subjective, but it looks a little less predictable, which I’d guess was the aim. Lefts looked better than rights, a little bigger, a little faster, but that might just have been the angle on screen.

If the wave was a little less predictable, the surfers with the skillsets to wrangle them were less so. Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, Italo Ferreira and Yago Dora were the standouts, with commendations for Colapinto (after the night session), Igarashi and Ewing (both a little grudgingly).

Jack Robinson was the first man to bow out of the pool with a whimper. This might seem shocking in light of the ratings, but Robinson belongs here about as much as an orca at Seaworld. Likewise for John Florence, who eventually found some awkward rhythm during his first wavepool competition, but will not take part in tomorrow’s proceedings.

The wave still looks fast, leaving most surfers looking like they’re a fraction of a second behind, especially on the left, it seemed. This nullifies the level of progression, and only those with speed to burn are able to project turns through and above the lip.

There remains a refusal among most surfers to take too much risk on the end sections, and once again it struck me that the vagaries of the ocean actually encourage risk taking and impulsiveness. There were some attempts at dynamism from surfers not named Toledo, Medina or Dora, but for the most part they were mediocre. In the commentary booth, Turpel lost his shit over some very weak, very forced reverses. As per, there were plenty of superlatives for things that weren’t super.

Mitch Salazar went one better, quoting from Homer’s Odyssey (or more likely some skank’s tattoo). Whether he’s actually read The Odyssey is immaterial, but when you’re quoting things that have featured on a million shit Instagram posts, it’s a clear sign you’ve been hanging out with Dave Prodan too much.

But even Prodan at his hoity-toity corporate best couldn’t lipstick the Surf Ranch pig. There’s something god awfully ugly about the place, right? It wants to be Coachella, but there’s a lingering sense that someone could drape a confederate flag over the filthy concrete wall at any moment.

From a personal and financial perspective Italo’s 8.50 to take second place and advance through the night session was big. So were his pre-comp odds of twenty-six to one. His frantic, caffeinated hopping as he waited for the final score to drop was matched only by my own.

And would you believe that Caity Simmers, who for my figurative and literal money looks a cut above everyone else, was fifty to one for the overall win, seventeen to reach the final, and sixes to make the semi? Crazy stuff.

Aside from Leo Fiorovanti, the quarters were predictable, and so we head into tomorrow with the chaff cut. I would hope and guess that most of the men in the draw have found a little rhythm and held something in reserve, and that things will crank up a notch.

Surf Ranch is a curious beast. I want to like it, I do. It offers something different in the complexion of the Tour. And in the same way we look forward to the juxtaposition of J-Bay and Teahupo’o, so we should embrace this evolving genre of surfing that takes place in a pool.

That being said, I’m still not sure the KS Wave Co tech is the one we should be watching. The barrel remains a non-event, unless the entry is jazzed up with a stylish snap, a la Caity Simmers. Really this should be an air comp, and there is superior wavepool technology (crucially, not owned by the WSL) that would facilitate that.

But if you’ll excuse me I need to stop being a terrible father (open bets not withstanding) and stop saying “just a minute” to the kids. Like those left in the comp, I’ll be back tomorrow with a little more verve.

In closing, please allow me to borrow stylistically from Charlie Smith when I say plainly:

Cup Noodles.

I believe that’s all there is to be said about that.