Photography by WSL/Masurel
Gabriel Medina defeated Sebastian Zeitz in the Final of the Quiksilver Pro France 2017 at La Graviere this evening, the culmination of a pulsating day of professional surfing in south west France. With a packed weekend crowd lining the shoreline in Hossegor and golden evening light shining on running righthand walls, the 2014 World Champion made relatively short work of the Hawaiian veteran to claim his third win at this event, and rocket himself from the relatively unfamiliar depths of 8th to 3rd on the Jeep Leaderboard, with a mathematical shot at the 2017 World Title.
“It feels so good to win an event. This is a really special place for me, I love coming here, I’m so, so stoked. It’s been a great event this year, we’ve had really good waves. I’m not even thinking about the World Title or the rankings, I just wanted a win. I promised to myself I had to win one event this year, and it feels so good now I’ve done it.”
“I was trying to get barrelled, was conditions were amazing,” Zeitz said, “That (other) side of the draw was super gnarly, Gabriel and John, probably the heaviest guys on tour. I’m bummed I didn’t put up more of a fight, but it’s alright, I got a trophy. I was so stoked when I saw that mural of Andy Irons (on the WW2 bunker beneath the contest scaffold). Andy would still be smoking guys out here, he loved waves with power. Hopefully I’m doing him a bit proud today.”
While not standing out in terms of performances or heat totals during this event up until today, Medina showed his class to put on a thoroughly rounded display this afternoon. First getting past the event’s standout — and crowd’s favorite — surfer John John Florence in their Semi final, the 23-year-old, who on the hubris / humble spectrum has always come closer to the former, seemed somehow to draw a kind of siege mentality fire from being a relative outsider this week, greeting the very notion with well-channelled, energised defiance.