For the first time since September, world surfing champion Gabriel Medina is ready to compete on the WSL Championship Tour.
The 28-year-old shocked the surfing world when he announced in January he was set to take an indefinite break from the sport to focus on his well-being.
In a wide-ranging interview with TV Globo in his homeland Brazil earlier this week, Medina revealed he’d been dealing with depression after a public dispute with his family and a divorce.
Medina’s mental issues had become so all-consuming he was crying in the water during heats and had sought help from a psychologist, all while claiming a third world championship and competing in last year’s historic inaugural surfing event at the Tokyo Olympics.
Medina’s self-imposed break is coming to an end when he re-joins the WSL Tour for the G-Land Pro event in Indonesia – the first time the championship has visited the isolated break since 1997.
“The time off was really good for me … I feel fresh,” Medina told AAP.
“I feel I’m ready to go and yeah, I just want to enjoy my time on tour.
“Go heat-by-heat, surf my waves, enjoy my time and hopefully I can do a great surf here.”
Grajagan Bay,a 12-hour drive from the popular tourist destinations of Bali, is a world away from Medina’s last Tour event when he defeated compatriot Felipe Toledo in the inaugural edition of the WSL Finals at Lower Trestles in California.
It is, however, the ideal low-key destination for Medina to make his comeback.
“I’m so excited to be in G-Land. I never had a chance to compete in this kind of waves. It looks like Fiji almost,” he said.
“I just can’t wait to start and surf.
“It felt good to be away a little bit because I felt like I needed it but it was a weird thing, I was not used to see that (the Tour) happening without me.
“Nothing has changed I still want to surf my best, I still want to get a win and, hopefully, fight for the title.”