Have a Peek at Gabriel Medina's New Quiver for the Upcoming Tahiti Pro

Johnny Cabianca showing off Medina’s new quiver, and one of the new five-fin configurations to give him options.

The Inertia

“A kid who is 20 years old and beat Kelly fair and square in the final at giant Teahupo’o,” wrote Shane Dorian of Gabriel Medina back in 2014. “I am so pumped to see someone new stepping up against the best, leading the ratings and taking huge scalps under immense pressure.”

It’s hard to fathom that it was 10 years ago that Gabriel Medina gained the respect of the entire surfing world with his win at Teahupo’o. Kelly Slater said of that epic week that he’d never seen anything like it, and that “Today will go down as one of the best days of surfing in my career, no question.” And that was after he was beaten in the final by Medina. 

What is perhaps even more remarkable is Gabriel’s record in Tahiti since that breakthrough performance. Including 2014, he has surfed in Tahiti seven times (he missed 2022 through injury, while the event was canned in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID) and has made the final an incredible six times, winning twice. And the only time he didn’t make the final? He bombed out early in the semis. 

For the first time in a decade, however, the three-time world champion will come into the Teahupo’o event sitting way down the ratings as the World No 19. Medina had round three losses at Pipe, Sunset, and Bells, all be it in close, and sometimes controversial, heats, where the Brazilian has publicly called out the judging standards. You may remember his post-heat Bells tirade after a loss to Cole Houshmand? “This is the worst judging I have ever seen. It’s bad for the sport. I’ve been through a lot of judging things, but maybe this is the worst one.” It was only a semifinal in Portugal that saw him make the cut. 

“It’s been a tough start for a variety of reasons, but Gabriel thrives on pressure,” Medina’s coach Andy King told me. “Look at the ISA Games and his Olympic qualification. That was an incredible long shot, but he willed it to happen.”

Another positive to accompany his ironclad Teahupo’o record and will to win is his quiver. Medina has been working with the Basque Country-based Cabianca Surfboards since he was 14 and has ridden the boards in every Tahiti heat (won 37, lost five) since that historic victory in 2014. 

“I’ve made 10 boards for each CT event for Gabby since 2010, but for sure this quiver felt really important,” Johnny Cabianca told The Inertia. “It’s crucial for Gabriel’s chances to try and make the CT Finals and will also be the test models for the Olympics.” 

Medina will take two models – his go-to model for hollow waves is the DFK 2.0, which has more curved rocker than his normal Medina model. From 6’0” up to 6’2” they come in at 19″ wide, 2’ x1/2” thick and around 29 litres in volume. If the swell starts to hit the upper, brown boardshort, range, he will pivot to the Magnum, Cabianca’s semi-gun model. They are sized at 6’4” and 6’6”, the same 19 inches wide, but slightly thicker at 2 x 9/16″. All come in  sleek, rounded pintails. 

Gabriel chose the new blue color way to match the Tahitian waters, and the only change from previous years is some new five-fin configurations in case Medina wants to switch up to a quad-fin set-up. The wildcard in the much-stickered pack is the six-channel design, which Cabianca said Gabriel will most likely try in some freesurfing sessions, rather than in the white heat of competition. However, if the extra speed is to his liking, the design could find its way into the Olympic selection. 

Medina isn’t focusing on the medals just yet. If he can replicate the form that he’s shown over the last decade at Teahupo’o, he’ll give himself a shot at climbing back into WSL Finals contention. From there the Olympic/world title double would remain a possibility. With his Tahiti record, a quiver of boards that he trusts, and the pressure ratcheted up, he has everything he needs to succeed. Would you bet against him?


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