26 October, 2017 26 October, 2017


Gabriel Medina defeated Julian Wilson to be crowned the 2017 MEO Rip Curl Portugal Pro Champion, and in doing so, didn’t bump, but rather shoved Jordy Smith out the way to become the new world number 2, as well as a frighteningly more menacing prospect to John Florence’s dream of defending his world title.

In a few weeks’ time, it may not be the pounding overhead Pipeline surf smashing at Florence’s’ door keeping him up at night, It could well be Medina’s fist knocking it down, to smash the cabinet, grab the trophy and violently turn his world upside down.

Gabriel Medina, once again, just became the most dangerous competitive surfer in the world.

Medina has back to back victories in Europe, Jordy Smith has 2 x 13th place finishes, Julian Wilson is back in the hunt and John Florence still holds the advantage going into the Billabong Pipeline Masters, but only just.

Cover Image: WSL / Laurent Masurel

Gabriel Medina, once again, just became the most dangerous competitive surfer in the world. – Glen Drysdale  Image: WSL / Damien Poullenot


Murphy’s law of combat – If the enemy is in range, so are you.

Nothing sums up Gabriel Medina’s intent more clearly.

Instead of paralysis and vulnerability when under assault in close combat, instead of rolling over, playing dead and hoping the enemy doesn’t see you flinch when they kick you in the ribs, Medina stands up… and attacks. And the closer the quarter, the better. It’s more personal that way. Eye to eye. Toe to toe. 

There’s more satisfaction in taking from the enemy what they think is theirs, but is rightfully yours. There’s closure that way. And that’s what Medina does. He closes.

No one shuts out an opponent with more authority, menace and bloody minded self-belief. Unfortunately for those standing in Gabriel’s way, there’s now an unsettling confidence to his form, every wave ridden a statement of intent, backed by natural ability and driven forward by mercenary planning.

It’s unfair not to mention the strength of Julian Wilson’s grounded and paced MEO Rip Curl Portugal Pro campaign or the ferocity and energy that Kolohe Andino brought to the event. Outside of ‘dead eye’ Medina’s brutality, no other surfers looked hungrier for the win than Wilson and Andino.

Wilson looked hungry, but he came up against a starving Medina in the final. Image: WSL / Laurent Masurel


Wilson, as always, was all timing and flow in the turns, showed huge pop in the air and an unmistakable accuracy to read the pace of Supertubos’ shape shifting barrels. His 6.27 pit in the final almost did the job against Medina.

Andino was breathing fire from round one. For me, few surfed with more controlled kinetic pace and fury than Brother. His massive punts, all punctuated with a near perfect landing rate ratio, the tube sense and timing faultless (who can forget the 9.07 near impossible drainer in round 2) and an overall desire to prove he belongs in the top 10. Hell, even the top 5. He did, after all, take down Florence in the quarters and came damn close to doing the same in round 4.

Andino was breathing fire from round one writes the Chairmen. Image: WSL / Damien Poullenot


Murphy’s law of combat – The easy way is always mined.

Jordy Smith rolled over. There’s no easy way to say it. It doesn’t come easier than when your good mate falls on the grenade to ensure your survival, only for you to sabotage your own fate by not taking action and have the whole thing blow up in your face.

Even with priority, Josh Kerr refused to sit on and hustle Jordy, giving him all the room to move and chase down the paltry 4.5 needed to advance and keep his maiden world title dream alive. Waves were shifty and slow, but it’s hard to imagine John or Gabe not closing that one out.

Good friend, Josh Kerr rained all over Jordy’s parade. Or was it Jordy who turned the shower on to rain on his own parade? Image: AVG


Instead, Smith somehow contrived to lose the heat and went out with a whimper. His surfing looked flat and uninspired, dialled right back to around 65% when it should have been red lining, considering what was at stake and the benevolence offered by good friend, and soon to be retired, Kerr.

I’m probably going to take a lot of heat for saying this, but there were absolutely no positives to take out of Jordy Smith’s European leg. He needed to change up his performance post France, there was no savagery in the mental approach, instead of attacking opponents and staking a claim on their territory, he surrendered.

I’m a huge Jordy Smith fan, and like all of his supporters, I would love nothing more than to see him win a world title. But this approach is not the way forward. Time for one more reset and one more big effort at Pipe to turn it all around. Thanks to Kolohe, he still has a shot at that inaugural JS world title in Hawaii, even if he does need a few heats to go his way. #BringithomeJords

If the enemy is in range, so are you… something Gabriel Medina will need no reminding of come the Billabong Pipe Masters 8 to 20 December.

If backdoor looks like this, no doubt JJF will be comfortable, but so will Medina on the other side of the peak. Image: WSL / Damien Poullenot

See you there, on the armchair. I can’t wait.

The Chairman.

World Title Scenarios going into the Billabong Pipe Masters:
–          If Florence gets 1st or 2nd at Pipe he will clinch the World Title;
–          If Florence gets a 3rd, Medina will need a 1st at Pipe to win the World Title;
–          If Florence gets a 5th, Medina will need a 1st at Pipe to win the World Title;
–          If Florence gets a 9th, Medina will need a 2nd, Smith a 1st;
–          If Florence, gets a 13th or 25th, Medina will need a 5th, Smith a 2nd and Wilson a 1st.  


  1. Mark Fine
    26 October, 2017 at 1:33 pm · Reply

    Nice insightful & well written article Mr Drysdale. Appreciate your honesty of opinion.
    & you don’t need to apologize for “calling a spade a spade”. We are all big Jordy fans but, as we approach the final series, his championship rivals are unfortunately looking hungrier, more daring & focused.

  2. Alex
    26 October, 2017 at 2:02 pm · Reply

    If you take any heat for saying Jordy meekly surrendered his title contention in Europe it will only be from his most ardent admirers. From an objective perpective he simply lacks the white-hot intensity and ferocious appetite required to lay it all on the line physically and mentally. As someone once so astutely observed, good is the enemy of great. Jordy might be very, very good but good don’t get you on the throne wearing that crown.

  3. Byron
    26 October, 2017 at 2:37 pm · Reply

    Fair repo MDC Lets hope Pipe delivers. I’m reminded of Barton Lynch’s epic world title in 1988.


    Beware the wildcard. Let the drama unfold…

  4. Mark
    26 October, 2017 at 4:13 pm · Reply

    Great piece Meneer da chair, hopefully Jordan Michael Smith will take heed of these words while he too watched the final from the comfort of some couch in some comfortable spot close to warm cup of cocoa and a bag of marshmallows… Where instead Gally should have had him doing 15 minute reps for every wave over a 4,5 ridden since his unbelievably believable early exit in Portugal! I am a fan of Jordy’s surfing, however I am not a fan of his attitude and as I have mentioned before he lacks the hunger and without that GM, KA, JW, JJF hunger he may as well retire to his trendy nightclub bar right now!!

  5. David
    26 October, 2017 at 5:39 pm · Reply

    Great Read! The energy in your words illustrates the contrast between the ferocity of Medina, Andino, Morais, and the gentleness of Smith, Ewing and Kerr. Keep calling it like it is. Can’t wait for Pipe, I think Andino, Morais and Zietz have a point to prove. If Jordy musters up some nos – If Florence gets a 9th, Medina will need a 2nd, Smith a 1st – what a coming-from-behind victory that will be!

  6. whiterhino
    26 October, 2017 at 7:44 pm · Reply

    Jordy will be excused when he wins back to back at Haleiwa and Sunset and wins the triple crown. Think about it, two big open faced rights, defending champ at Sunset, although he now has no chance of winning the world title, that would certainly redeem his year. On another note… no surf journalist has noted that Gabe has actually now won 3 in a row and is on a serious roll, remember Lemorre?

  7. Andrzej Kowalski
    27 October, 2017 at 5:20 am · Reply

    Once upon a time three talented surfing friends grew on famous right hand point. As all three had a natural stance, they all struggled to surf back-hand, as there were no nearby lefts to learn to surf backhand. As a result their sponsors forced them to spend three months in Indonesia every year, learning to ride heaving backhand tubes. The point break they all lived at was Snapper rocks. Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and Dean Morrison were fantastic surfers on the point, but all went on to become incredible back-hand tube riders too. That three months of hard work and training every year in Indo paid of dividends and Mick and Joel went on to win a world title. Dean Dingo Morrison became as one of best backhand tube riders on tour. See where I am going with this.

    It’s pretty simple really, if Jordy is actually serious about winning a world title, he needs to spend the three month offseason every year, working on his back-hand tube riding. Do that for two years and he will win a world title. At the moment his forehand is excellent, but his backhand is the weakest link. Glen you don’t need to apologise for Jordy. The Australian Media hasn’t been as kind. Three months ago after J-Bay, Jordy was labelled the tour’s worst safety surfer. http://beachgrit.com/2017/07/opinion-jordy-worst-safety-surfer-on-tour/
    Nothing’s really changed since then.

  8. Jonesy B
    27 October, 2017 at 10:12 am · Reply

    Totally agree okes…Poor Shaun Tommo been waiting for 41 yrs to get the 2nd WT up for Saffa .

    There is no denying that Smith needs electro shock therapy after his Euro heats.

    WTF was he doing !!!!!

    Kerr was gifting him waves.

  9. Wade
    27 October, 2017 at 10:22 am · Reply

    classic piece there Glenolds……awesome stuff!

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