Brazil's Gabriel Medina is in position to win another World Surf League title after winning a second Fiji Pro on Friday.
Every Friday in The Weekender we take a look at the videos and news from the week that was—like Flea talking about the snowboarding crash that delayed the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ new album—and give you a preview of some of the most important events in the world of action and outdoor sports coming up this weekend.
Gabriel Medina Wins Fiji Pro after Kelly Slater’s Run
Well that was fun to watch. Kelly Slater—whose last tour win came in 2013—looked completely in-form throughout the Fiji Pro, taking off on the best waves while averaging nearly 18 points per heat (out of a possible 20). Meanwhile, Medina competed brilliantly without logging the huge scores we’re used to seeing from the Brazilian (he averaged just over 14 points per heat). When they met in the semis, Medina grabbed the lead from Slater and stayed close to the 11-time world champ, using priority to prevent Slater from taking off on a game winner. Despite his relatively low scoring output, Medina continually showed a versatile game that put him right back in the world title hunt—he was able to scratch into barrels, unleashing big turns on the open faces and going for airs on the end section when most other competitors were kicking out and looking for the jet ski to carry them back out to the lineup. Medina—who jumped up to No. 2 in the rankings—met Matt Wilkinson in the final, and Wilkinson was able to hold on to the number one spot despite the loss, but with South Africa’s J-Bay Open and the Billabong Pro Tahiti coming up next, the surging Medina looks completely capable of capturing his second world title.
Flea Talks About Snowboarding Crash That Delayed New Album
The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ famous base player loves to shred. But a snowboarding trip to Montana this winter seriously delayed the recording of the band’s new album, The Getaway, as Flea told Rolling Stone this week. He was riding with RHCP lead singer Anthony Kiedis and Metallica’s Lars Ulrich when he ate it hard and broke his arm in five places, causing nerve damage and requiring surgery. “I was so bummed and it just kind of dawned on me that I felt like I let everybody down because we couldn't record our record,” he said. “We had written all our stuff. I was just really, really sad. I had a long rehab process. There were four or five months where I didn't play at all. I just sat on the couch all day.” But trials and tribulations always make for better art. The new album is in stores and online today.
Woman Gets Two Years Probation for Defacing National Parks
This was a weird one. After pleading guilty to vandalizing national parks, 23-year-old Casey Nocket of San Diego was sentenced to seven federal misdemeanors and 200 hours of community service this week. Nocket went on a bizarre crime spree in the fall of 2014 when she left her “art work” she dubbed “Creepy Tings” painted on rock outcroppings in national parks across the west. She painted strange faces and obscure, cartoonish-looking figures in acrylic and marker in some of the countries most important protected places including Zion and Canyonlands in Utah, Yosemite and Death Valley in California, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado National Monument and Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park. She took pictures of her work and posted them to social media and was then tracked down after a hiker posted a picture of her defacing a rock in Yosemite. Her handy work angered outdoors people so much a meme circulated the Internet (below) in her honor. She’s not allowed to step foot on publicly-run land during her probation.
Artificial Waves on Rivers Bring Life Back to Run-Down Areas
Artificial waves seem to be en vogue nowadays with Kelly Slater Wave Co. and other companies racing to create fake waves on ponds. But in-stream whitewater parks on rivers that feature waves have been in play for at least a decade now, creating areas of culture where kayakers and surfers congregate and bring positive energy to often-rundown areas of towns around the country. Places where old low-head dams once stood are turned into thriving pockets of youthful progression. In “Strongwater,” Jordan Halland takes a look at one river community in Missoula, Mont., that took back its river front when it created a wave in town. The short film was a finalist in the 2016 Telluride Mountain Film Festival.
What’s On Tap
Crankworx Triple Crown of Slopestyle
RedBull.tv | Saturday 10:30 a.m. ET
Les Gets, France will host the most athletic mountain bikers on the planet this week in the Crankowrx Triple Crown of Slopestyle. This is seriously big air, sans motors.
High Point Pro Motorcross
NBC Live Sports Extra | Saturday 1:00 p.m. ET
The 40th Annual High Point Pro Motorcross is live from Mount Morris, Pa., all day Saturday.