What shapes Gabriel Medina?

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What shapes Gabriel Medina? A new documentary called “Shaping Medina” attempts to answer that question by focusing on his relationship with God, his fans, his haters, his family, his friends like Miguel Pupo and his shaper, Johnny Cabianca.

Cabianca is a surfboard maker based in the Basque country who Lost shaper Matt Biolos describes as, “One of the most technically sound shapers in the world.” Despite being relatively unknown outside Europe and his native Brazil, it is Cabianca’s boards that have seen Medina on the cusp of a world title.

Johnny Cabianca and Gabriel Medina
Johnny and Gabriel catch up in Spain. Photo by Pukas

“I have known Gabriel since he was a small child,” Johnny told GrindTV. “Charles [Medina’s stepfather and mentor] and I are good friends and go way back from days surfing in the Medinas’ home break of Maresias. However, I left Brazil and hit the road for a long time, working with some of the best shapers from around the world before eventually settling in Spain at Pukas. When Gabriel had grown up and started becoming a real contender, Charles called me, and we’ve been working on his boards ever since.”

Gabriel Medina
Gabriel riding one of Johnny’s boards to victory in Tahiti this year. Photo by ASP

The documentary also tackles the issue of the divisive nature of Gabriel Medina and Brazilian surfers in general. “Well, like everyone else who isn’t Brazilian, I have a bit of a fascination for Brazos—they are beautiful people,” said documentary maker Jason Horton. “However, being a bit of a newcomer to surfing, I found their terrible reputation even more fascinating, especially knowing Johnny, who is so modest and humble. With Gabriel, he seems to be equally loved and loathed by the fans, and I thought it might be interesting to find out why.”

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