Rip Curl Pro Search: Day 4 Recap

With the opening horn ringing promptly at 8 a.m., it was clear on Monday morning that the organizers of the Rip Curl Pro Search were eager to not only continue the competition, but also to finish the contest and declare a champion.

Which is exactly what happened, as 17 year-old phenom Gabriel Medina from Brazil defeated Joel Parkinson from Australia in the final heat. Medina was greeted at the water’s edge by a rowdy crowd of Brazilian fans who chanted and sang in Portuguese as the young surfer was carried up the beach on the shoulders of his father.

Medina defeated Kelly Slater in a matchup earlier in the day, just one day after Slater secured the 2011 ASP world title. The world title is determined by cumulative points, and individual contests that are part of the world-title competition each have their own victors, such as Medina was in San Francisco.

With Medina’s victory, the Rip Curl Pro Search has officially concluded. He was still conducting interviews in front of the large tents as work crews began to break the structures down. The contest turned out to need only one week out of the two-week waiting period that Rip Curl had permitted for the event.

A noteworthy local highlight of the event was the Local Expression Session contest that preceded the final surf heat between Medina and Parkinson. For 20 minutes, 16 Ocean Beach surfers hunted down waves to impress the judges, with the winner primed to take home a $1,000 check from camera manufacturer GoPro.

The local surfers put on an impressive show, clad in the same brightly-colored jerseys that the world’s best had been wearing throughout the week. In the final moments of the 20-minute heat, Nathan McCarthy found himself on a left that rocketed him into first place and victory in the Local Expression Session.

“I don’t really do contests, and my breathing was a little off in the heat, but in the end I got a left that pulled me through,” McCarthy said after his victory. “It’s been really cool to watch the world’s best surf here. We’ve waited 20-some-odd years to see what a top pro would do out here, and this confirms that they are really good.”

Watch the full unedited version of the ceremony contest for the Local Expression Session

Beyond the championships, both local and international, here are a few other noteworthy happenings from the day:

  • Medina defeated Kelly Slater in the quarterfinals of the contest, and then faced Taylor Knox, the oldest surfer on the world tour, in a battle of young vs. old in the semifinals.
  • Medina has competed in only four contests this year on the World Tour, and has won two of them.
  • By finishing second at the Rip Curl Pro Search, Joel Parkinson rocketed up in the overall standings, overtaking Owen Wright as the second-seeded surfer on the pro circuit.
  • In the local event, finishing second behind McCarthy was Marty Magnusen, and in third was Lance Harriman.
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  1. Video: Rip Curl San Francisco Final Day Highlights; SF "Local Expression Session" | KQED News Fix

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