Gabriel Medina is once again the WSL world champion of surfing. Just beating Julian Wilson who happened to be the only non-Brazilian surfer to win a contest the entire season. Crazy right? Even more crazy is that surfers from Brazil are still constantly battling against institutionalized racism that targets them. An example includes calling Brazilian surfers “passionate” which is slang for snaking, over-claiming bastards in the water. Do they deserve it? Will surfing ever get past it? Will a non-Brazilian win anything next year? And how many more titles is Gabby going to get?

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You see, for a Brazilian kid to reach the top of the surfing shit-show, whether or not he hails from the privileged classes of that embattled country, is worthy of note. Medina, along with other Brazilian surfers like Adriano de Souza and Felipe Toledo, is archetypal of someone who has had to paddle against the flow. His feat is even more impressive when you consider the insidious anti-Brazilian attitude that exists in some corners of the pro surfing world. It is ugly. Many in fact have argued that at the centre of surfing there is stinky nugget of institutionalised racism.

But this is just part of the problem.

Pro surfing has always been criticised by the rank-and-file for turning a freewheeling, non-conformist way of life into an aestheticised logo fest. Naysayers insist that the honed professionalism of the World Surf League has reduced the noblest of cultures – a set of values and practices tied intimately to tide, wind and swell – to an anodyne slice of sports marketing. The pro surfing establishment, goes the mantra, has turned surfing into tennis: complete with cute lats and a towhead mop.

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Click to HUCK for a look into if Pro Surfing is ready for a change when it comes to the treatment of Brazilians

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