The highly anticipated Final saw two of the most strategic surfers on Tour go to battle. Gabriel Medina the current No. 1 surfer in the world, and Kelly Slater, the surfer with the most wins in history. After a restart, the Brazilian took the lead with a 7.90 and then a 9.07. In an uncharacteristic mistake, Slater lost priority. For the next 14 minutes, it seemed like the upstart was surfing circles around his elder opponent.
Slater got back in the game with a massive, hollow barrel, taking a high line and getting spat out the other side to a roaring crowd. The ride earned him a 9.63. But Medina answered back almost immediately, taking his own steeper barrel, for a 9.53.
In the second half each surfer took a tumble; for Medina it was his first of the competition. Slater caught up to narrow the points gap, but with three minutes left still needed a 9.33 to overtake his opponent. He took off on a huge wave but got caught by the foam. With fewer than 30 seconds left he tried again and waited for the score.
“I don’t really know what to say,” said Medina after his win. Before the Final he said, “I went home to talk to my mom, and the words she said inspired me: ‘No one is bigger than god.’ And I trust in God. I think that was him, I am so blessed to have these conditions at Chopes. I’m so happy right now.
“Kelly is a legend of surfing,” Medina continued. “When I fell off, I thought I had lost that heat. But I thank God. This is the best feeling ever. The waves were perfect and big. This feeling is amazing. I don’t know how to describe it. I love surfing, I love what I’m doing right now.
“I want to thank ASP to put this event on here, I love this wave now more. Thanks to the water patrol to keep us safe. I’m really happy to be part of this.”
Results: Gabriel Medina, 18.96 def. Kelly Slater 18.93