Gabriel Medina is pissed. After his loss to Tanner Gudauskas in the seventh heat of round three, he stormed off the beach, emptied his locker, and left. Soon after, he posted this on his Instagram:
If you don’t speak Portuguese, here’s Google’s loose translation for you: “Time to go home. Very sad, I dedicate or have dedicated my life to it … so tired!”

He’s mad because he didn’t get the score he needed, which happens all the time. And although the judges are always under scrutiny for their (sometimes) strange calls, this one in particular stands out. With about eight minutes left in the heat, Medina needed an 8.34 to take the lead. The wave that he snagged shaped up almost perfectly. “Easily the best wave we’ve seen this heat,” said Ross Williams. “A long wall, perfect line, and it was a big set wave… This easily feels like it’s going to be the highest score of this heat, and he should take control.”
Medina surfed it amazingly well. Much better than any other wave in the heat–and even from the most biased of standpoints, it would be impossible to deny that Medina got the score he needed, especially when comparing it to Tanner’s 8.67 earlier in the heat.
But he did not take control. The judges awarded Medina an 8.3, and everyone flipped their lids. To almost everyone watching, it was clearly better than an 8.3. Perhaps no one said it more succinctly than Barton Lynch. “What?!” he exclaimed. “WHAT?”
“I share your shock, Barton,” Williams replied. “I guarantee right now Gabriel Medina is tripping. I’m not sure exactly what the judges were thinking… I honestly thought that was going to be at least a 9, minimum.”
It wasn’t just the commentary booth that was in shock, either. Julian Wilson chimed in with his thoughts on Instagram, as well:
“Might be time to break down what the judges see and understand as good surfing in comparison to what the best surfers in the world see and understand as good surfing, as it could be a little different?” he wrote. But he didn’t stop there. Next, he flicked over to the WSL’s Instagram and left this little note: “The judges might need to take some responsibility for the scores over the past two days. Might be time to put them under the microscope like they do to us.”
Of course, conspiracy theorists are having a field day with this. With John John’s early exit, Medina was champing at the bit to close the points gap. One needs only to head over to the WSL’s Instagram to see the ire this one’s brought. With years of complaints about the WSL’s judging system, maybe it actually is time to take a good hard look at what’s going on over there in the judging booth.