Gabriel Medina fell just short of his second world title this year. But the 23-year-old Brazilian said he knows what he needs now: a stronger start to 2017.
Poor results during the Australian leg of the world tour in March and April created a gap that Medina was not able to overcome when he faltered during 2016’s penultimate contest. His loss in Peniche, a Portuguese port town, allowed John John Florence to win the title Oct. 25 in western Europe.
“I know what to do,” said Medina, who turned 23 on Dec. 22. The No. 3 ranked surfer in the world said he “learned a lot” in 2016 and hopes to “fix my mistakes.”
Another focus for Medina in 2017 will be the Gabriel Medina Institute, a facility built with his own money in his hometown of Maresias, Brazil. Sixty young men and women will train there, with access to surfing classes, medical and dental services, speeches and meals. The institute, supervised by Medina’s father, will offer everything from a swimming pool to a fixed platform for simulation of championship contests.
“We can’t know” if the students will become pro surfers, he said. “We are aware of that. . . Our desire is to transform them into citizens, good people. Everyone will have a good education and be the best, wherever their professions will be.”
“I know what to do.”