Photo: Masurel / ASP

Gabriel Medina world champion

Brazilian superstar and current world champion Gabriel Medina is one of the 100 most influential people in the world, according to the latest edition of TIME Magazine's prestigious yearly list, which was published earlier this week. The list, compiled in no particular order, is broken up into five categories: Titans, Pioneers, Artists, Leaders and Icons. Medina finds himself in the last of these categories, alongside  Taylor Swift, Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, Icelandic singer Björk, French economist Thomas Piketty, Pope Francis and Surf Europe editor Paul Evans, amongst others. Elsewhere on the list you will find a wide range of goodies and baddies that includes Barack Obama, Emma Watson, Christopher Nolan, Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin and Kanye West.

Of course, influence works in many different ways, as the scope and variety of the list suggests. When Obama tells a journalist what book he's currently reading, for instance, that book will soon appear on the New York Times Best Seller List and remain there for weeks on end; but Obama is also the Commander-in-chief of the most powerful military force in the world, in addition to presiding over a population of 320 million. Gabes on the other hand has a singular ability to provoke fierce partisan debate on online discussion boards, and when he shaves his armpits surf fans flock in their droves to buy Gillette razor blades and rid themselves of their body hair.

Below is an extract from TIME's senior sports and culture writer Sean Gregory's brief article on Medina:

"When Gabriel Medina won Brazil’s first surfing world title last year, he did more than become the second youngest champion ever. He showed that his ascendant nation was now a serious player in a sport that is taking off around the world. From 2001 to 2011, the total number of surfers jumped 35%, to some 35 million, and the sport is projected to become a $13.2 billion global industry by 2017."

For the full article and the rest of the list visit the TIME website here.