Gabriel Medina scored a 10 for the most ridiculous air in France yesterday. It was video game-type shit–one of those things you see that just doesn’t look possible. That’s what Gabs does. He does the impossible. And then he topped it off with not one, but TWO claims. One was perfect. The other was almost as ridiculous as the air itself.

Let’s talk about claiming for a second. I don’t have much against it. If were surfing at the level of the guys on tour, I’d be claiming, too. And if the judges are dumb enough to let those flailing arms affect their scoring, then who can blame the guy that makes money from points for trying to get more points?  And what’s even better is a claim that seems to come straight from the heart, like the first claim Medina did.
Arms in the air and a look of surprise–those are good claims. Claims like even he didn’t think he was going to land it. He did something incredible. We all know it was incredible. He knows it was incredible. Arms in the air! Celebrate! We will celebrate with you!
And then he went and ruined it all. He went from “just-as-surprised-as-the-rest-of-us” to “no-big-deal-look-at-how-awesome-I-am.” As soon as his hands went from up in the air to down on his hips, he went from a down-to-earth guy that we all want to celebrate with to that guy that is really good at doing things, but just totally knows it.
Let me just nip something in the bud real quick before I get a bunch of hate-mail. This has nothing to do with Gabriel being Brazilian. It’s got nothing to do with his nationality. In fact, I love his surfing; as far as I’m concerned, he’s going to win another world title or 10. Not this year, but it’ll happen. He’s got the drive, the talent, and contest smarts that it takes to not only surf better than everyone else, but play the game that needs to be played. Medina’s got it all… but that claim told us a little too firmly that he knows it.