Again, they were the kind of waves Adriano dreams of surfing heats in, and once he got to the lead and Gabe looked increasingly desperate, you began to imagine a world with Adriano as its surfing champion.
Just as it’s hard not to notice the freshly beefcaked presence of Gabe Medina, it’s equally striking to watch Adriano interviewed by Rosie Hodge post-heat, and at first glance think that he still looks like a grommet.
And while his air game has been next-level this week and has given the excitable Frenchies something to coo about, it’s been his drive off the bottom and the space between the notes where the real improvement in his surfing has become clear.
The second semifinal was equally chumpy and terrible, and again it was decided by a single Hail Mary tuberide, Bede Durbidge catching the one wave of the heat that didn’t close out while Julian Wilson sat there and watched a gilded chance to place himself square in the world-title race slip through his fingers.
Even though Bede had surfed a great event, taking out world title compatriots Fanning and Wilson in green-on-blue attacks, the final seemed a foregone conclusion in regard to momentum, and that proved to be the case.
In one of the more mind-boggling tour statistics mentioned all week, Gabe had never beaten Adriano, the diminutive Latin American Yoda having some kind of Jedi hold on the kid.
The all-Brazilian semi had become a crapshoot on the bottom of the tide, Adriano and Gabe riding skis up and down the inside of the bank looking for something, anything, that resembled a surfable wave.
It would have been great to send the final out at first light this morning, in the perfect, mist-shrouded tubes of Culs Nus, followed – on the dropping tide – by the semis and then the quarters, because things got weird as the day progressed.
Read more here: Surfer Mag