When Gabriel Medina won the 2014 World Title, it was a big deal. It’s no secret. Not only did he become surfing’s youngest World Champion since Kelly Slater (yup, we already made the ridiculous-but-true comparison), but he was also the first champion from surfing’s newest, and most controversial, powerhouse: Brazil.
It was a nice, neat bookend to formally announce what many have known for years: Brazil has arrived. And they have done so loudly.
With seven Brazilians on the 2015 World Surf League roster, Brazil is actually the second best represented nation in professional surfing (2 more than USA…assuming we accept the Hawaii vs. USA distinction that the government doesn’t – and six less than Australia, who’s national embrace of surfing as a professional sport is still relatively unrivaled). This was not always the case. Not by a long shot.