Love it or hate it, you can't escape it. The Thanksgiving turkey's not even stuffed and Gabriel Medina has seemingly pulled the move of the winter on the North Shore. Of course, there's always the next swell and surfing's keen on hyperbole, but Medina's backflip is notable if for no other reason than it's a case study in the power of social media in surfing. His dad recorded the clip, they went back to the sponsor house, gave it a quick edit, and while they were doing that were beaming screen shots out via Instagram and Twitter with the exclamation, "I just landed the best air of my life."
By the time the clip dropped less than 24 hours later the surf world was waiting. In an instant the backflip was literally seen around the world, from Medina's home in Brazil to Australia where they root against him. Everybody cheered. Medina had done it again. "The first Brazilian world champ" tweets flew.Like that the discussion unfurled: Didn't Flynn Novak do that last year? Is Medina's flip better than Novak's? When is he going to land one in a contest? Does a backflip constitute good surfing? Is it just a gimmick? Wouldn't you do a backflip if you could? What's next? And so the beat goes on, Medina's backflip setting the cadence for this year's North Shore season.