Triumphant underdog Caio Ibelli has reportedly received ‘thousands of death threats’ after he beat 2019 World Surf League Championship Tour leader Gabriel Medina.
Medina, 25, retained his place at the top of the 2019 WSL Tour standings despite failing to make it past the round of 16 at the 2019 MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, where he was penalised in his matchup against Ibelli, per STAB magazine.
The standings leader was beating Brazilian compatriot Ibell 14.34 to 7.17 when Medina then paddled for a wave though Ibelli was ruled to have priority. He was docked the points from his lowest-scoring wave as a result and lost 8.50 to 8.17:
Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil star Neymar Jr.—who has 127 million Instagram followers and is said to be a close friend of Medina’s—then posted a story that’s said to have helped direct unwanted attention at Ibelli.
Ibelli, also 25, told STAB he’d received “more than 10,000 death threats” in the 12 hours following his win over Medina: “Mostly people talking shit about me, threatening, talking about my dignity like I did something wrong. Gabriel positioned himself very bad, and put his and Neymar’s millions and millions of followers against me. I don’t think that was cool.”
There’s a consensus in the surf community that despite Medina’s own Instagram campaign comparing video of his and Ibelli’s approach for the wave, the former was in breach of the rules.