The WSL has announced it will punish reigning world champion Gabriel Medina with a fine of an undisclosed amount but no suspension, following Medina’s outspoken post-heat interview last week at the Quik Pro Gold Coast. Here is the official statement in full:
“The World Surf League (WSL) Rules and Disciplinary Committee has completed its investigation into the Medina/Hall incident from the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Following conversations with both parties involved as well as reviewing broadcast footage, the Rules and Disciplinary Committee has determined that Medina was in violation of the athlete Code of Conduct and has been fined as a result. Medina’s efforts following the incident to amend any public misperceptions about his and Hall’s relationship have been noted and appreciated. We wish all competitors good fortune at the upcoming Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
Medina and Hall quickly made peace following the incident in the competitor’s area. The Brazilian Champ also appeared on the WSL Dawn Patrol Show the following morning to address his on-camera conduct.”
How much the fine will be is anyone’s guess — the WSL has said that they abstain from specifying amounts in situations of this nature. A change of policy, then, since the ASP days of last year, when in addition to a two-event suspension Jeremy Flores was given a $6,000 fine for the abuse — most of it verbal, some of it physical, but probably not kung-fu level physical — he dished out to the judges at J-Bay.
Opinion in the media and among surf fans has generally speaking fallen into one of two opposing camps. On the one hand are those who say Medina’s only crime was to speak his mind and inject a bit of much-needed life into the webcast, and that to punish him for that would be (is) absurd; on the other are those who believe that another surfer guilty of the same offence — a surfer without the same high profile, or Brazilian nationality, or Samsung sponsorship deal — would be more severely punished. And then of course there is everyone else, wandering around in the middle looking for a suitable spot to pitch their tents.
One of the more amusing exchanges involved self-described Poet/Surf Scholar/Ocean Activist Trey Highton, who penned a piece of poetry/surf scholarship/ocean activism for The Inertia entitled Gabriel Medina, Samsung, and the Axis Of Evil, in which he launched an online petition on Change.org to have Medina suspended and fined. Beach Grit‘s Chas Smith responded with inevitable glee, launching a petition of his own — No Hate-Mongering in Surf Media by The Inertia — and accompanying it with this piece here on the Beach Grit site.