Define Triumphant: Gabriel Medina Hossegor 2017

Hot coffee, buttery croissants and sexy sandbars…

I sat down on my usual spot, at a local french patisserie, waiting for a freshly made cup of coffee and hot, buttery croissant. As the waiter arrived with the steaming cup of Chiapas magic, my friend Eduardo joined me, also asking for another cup.

The patisserie, a lone star and true survivor of a notoriously fickle restaurant market, has been our spot for well over two years now. Tuesday is normally our day off. Weekends in Cancun are mainstay working days. So yes, Tuesday coffee and croissants, in Cancun, may be bit corny. But it’s the company that makes this quarterly get together work.

Eduardo and I have known each other for almost 12 years now.

We have families and understanding wives who know a thing or two about this “guy thing” going on between my best friend and I. And so, we sit down, drink our hot coffee (and croissants) and talk about our week. We both continue to work for the vacation club industry in Cancun, which gives us plenty to discuss.

But our thing is talking about anything that has to do with our real passion: surfing and action water sports.

Exhilarating win for Brazil and Latin America!

As the croissants arrive, Eduardo goes for the butter and jam, spreading it over half of the roll, previously sliced in tidy halves. This by habit. Never fails. I go “viking style”, breaking the roll in two and spreading butter and jelly generously over the croissant. We both know that something quite extraordinary has transpired over the weekend.

As I look at Eduardo, I ask him: “Lalo (term of endearment for Eduardo), define triumphant for me”.

As he finishes putting half of the roll in his mouth, Eduardo pulls out his cel and shows me a picture of an exuberantDefine trimphant: Gabriel Medina Hossegor 2017 surfer, arms up in the air in victory, his face clearly showing signs of happiness, relief and exhaustion. I recognize the picture immediately. Gabriel Medina.

“Just won Hossegor again!” Eduardo informs me, putting the cel down, beside the bread plate holding half of the croissant waiting to be eaten. I sit back and think for a minute at Gabriel’s feat. At barely 22 years of age, Gabriel Medina is the only Brazilian (indeed, the only Latin American) to ever win the Quick Silver Pro France for the third time.

He also made history by being the first Brazilian ever to win the Hawaiian Triple Crown of Surfing in 2015 and landing a first ever “back flip” which earned him another historical first and a perfect score of 10 on May 14, 2016, during the Oi Rio Pro.

The very same year, Medina won his seventh WCT event, and his second in heavy Cloudbreak, in the Fiji Islands. He is considered as the most victorious Brazilian surfer of the WCT at age 22.

So what defines a champion?

What characteristics, traits, attributes, sets these individuals apart from the rest?

As we continue drinking our coffee, Lalo adds an interesting bit of information to Medina’s journey to victory. “Kelly Slater had Andy Irons…Medina has JJ Florence”.

I look at him, understanding in part what he is implying.

“Competition can drive you to become better at literally any activity” Lalo stated. “You are right”, I conceded. “Nothing to do with surfing, but in F1, Senna had Prost.They were excellent examples of true competition. Again, away from the water, current, legendary rivalries, like Nadal and Federer, are invaluable for the individual and great for those watching!”.

I take my cel out and look for the WSL site. The image of Medina comes up again. I think for a minute. “You know, a lot of it I think also has to do with your background. Where you come from and the challenges you have had to overcome to reach your goals. This has a lot to do on how successful you will be in your adult life”.

“Take Gabriel, for instance”.I continued, taking a small sip of my coffee.

“His life from early on, was competitive surfing. Did you know he began surfing at 9 years of age and at 11 he won his first national championship? From there, he began his rising career, facing the challenges and financial struggles that all would-be pro surfers face when aspiring for sponsorship and ranking at the highest level”.

Lalo considered for a moment. Then questioned:”If you had to choose a trait that sets not only Medina apart, but really, other champions apart from the rest of the heap, what would that be?”.

I thought about his question for a moment.

Deconstructing the profile of a champion.

“I would have to say mindset, Lalo. The power of the mind is everything. We are barely tapping it’s full potential. And already look at what has been accomplished. Mindset has allowed us to finally conquer impossible waves like Teahupoo, The Right and Shippies. It has allowed surfers like Garrett McNamara to ride the biggest wave ever recorded in Nazare, Portugal. It’s put Peahi on the map. Its gone as far as finally allowing Maverick’s to be included in the Big Wave Circuit for 2017 and 2018. And this is all due to mindset. How we control and master our emotions when facing risk, adversity, insurmountable odds, and such. Yeah. Mindset wins out. Everytime”.


Lalo took a sip of his coffee. He sat back on his chair, reflecting and considering my emotional explanation of mindset and champions.

Making a case for discipline and consistency…

“But Xavier, isn’t discipline and consistency just as important? I mean, just look at any world champion today. Let’s say, Roger Federer, for example. Sure, nothing to do with surfing, but it still remains relevant since singles tennis remains an individualistic sport. Federer has mindset, agreed. A steely mindset that has helped him win many grand slam tournaments. But he couldn’t have had such success without iron discipline and consistency. I mean, look at the guy. He just beat Nadal again this last Sunday, at the Shanghai Masters, in one hour and 12 minutes! And the guy is 36 years old! Mindset, sure, but discipline and consistency weigh very heavily on the end results, in sports, at work, man, in life!”.

We both sat there, each considering each other’s views. One thing was certain. Unlike many sports, surfing had one unique aspect that set it apart from other sports with worldwide appeal. The environment in which the sport actually takes place in. The ocean is unpredictable and always in motion, demanding a healthy amount of creativity, adaptability and cojones!

We both laughed, agreeing in between guffaws, clearing our eyes from laughter tears. This remained the one true aspect of the activity we loved so much. In this point in particular, we both really felt no other sport in the world could hold a candle to it.

“So we agree, then” Lalo said. “To be a champion, to set yourself apart from the rest, you must, first and foremost:

Have the right mindset.

Fixed Mindset:

Basic qualities, like intelligence or talent. Qualities are documented and not developed.

Growth Mindset:

Basic abilities can be developed through discipline and hard work.


Jim Rohn once said that discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments. Think about this for a minute. Now think of the incredible people that have reached success by being disciplined individuals. Who comes to mind? How about this guy:


Or this gal:


Doing something, whatever that is, over and over again, regardless of the challenges or obstacles that may present themselves. This will temper your character and yield great results.

“Humor!” Lalo said out loud, breaking the silence between us. “A good sense of Humor is fundamental as part of a champion’s profile. Taking any sport too seriously is a mistake, I think. Those athletes that don’t take themselves too seriously usually do better than others. Just consider some of these champions: Taj Burrow, Peter Mel, and, lo and behold, his Highness himself: Kelly Slater!”. We both agreed, no argument there. You must be able to laugh at yourself. Otherwise, you risk going crazy!


Lalo and I finished our last cup of coffee. We looked outside the window. Outside was a typical Cancun autumn day: still hot and humid, with a slight breeze. Things were starting to cool down a bit.

And we both looked wistfully beyond the heat, the humidity, beyond the borders of our minds, letting our imaginations carry us to windswept beaches, hollow a-frames, red wine, cheese and baguettes; we dreamed of sexy sand banks and La Graviere and experiencing the whole surfing scene, french style.


At that moment, Lalo and I made a pact that we would be there, at Hossegor, in two years time. Drinking coffee and hot, buttery croissants at a local patisserie at La Graviere. Add one to our bucket list.



If you have liked this post, please comment below. Share it and also tell me what being champion means to you. What sets these individuals apart from the rest? Give us your thoughts below. I read all comments, positive and critical. I would be glad to share opinions on this topic with you. Talk soon!

Transformation: Accepting The Laws Of Change

“Hell hath no fury…”

Hey everyone! Been away for a while. My apologies for that. See, where I’m from, earthquakes are a very serious matter. They are dangerous and very deadly. And we just had two of them a few weeks ago.

I live in the Mexican Caribbean. Our concern is more centered in tropical storms and hurricanes, of which 3 of the later, have already impacted on US territory, mainly Texas and Florida.

And Let’s not forget the brutal pummeling that Puerto Rico, Dominica and the US Virgin Islands got with Irma and Maria, this last one having the dimensions of a 50-mile wide tornado, destroying anything and anyone that stood on it’s way.

Transformation: The Laws of Change
No town, no city, indeed, no island or country could withstand such unbridled energy. Puerto Rico took it in the chin…twice.

And meanwhile, back in my country, 3 states got hit with a 7.5 earthquake, and then the big one happened in Mexico City, which even today we are still recovering from both psychologically and emotionally.

Blind eye to the laws of change...
Many people have died.

The news media try to keep the numbers under control. But the truth is that the exact death toll will never be known.

What makes this disaster even more painful in the psyche of many Mexicans, is the fact that many of the victims were children and teenagers, caught in this disaster while attending school.

Of course, questions remain in regards to structural integrity of collapsed buildings, especially the schools where whole roofs collapsed on top of innocent students. Who is to blame? Who is responsible?

Who will pay for the suffering of the broken families left behind?

As is the case in many Latin American countries, no one knows, no one takes responsibility. At times, it would seem that the authorities involved have turned a blind eye to the undeniable laws of change…

“Time may change me but I can’t trace time” – David Bowie

And so, it made me think a bit about life, how precious, and fragile it can be, against nature’s wrath. It may sound dramatic. But I think wrath is the right choice of word here.

My wife and I went through Wilma, back in 2005, and got our first taste of a category 5 hurricane. An experience which I would encourage anyone to avoid, both before, during and after the storm.

Anyway, life is precious and short. Buddha once wisely said “The problem is that we think we have time”.

My friends, time we have, but it is finite. We must make the most of the time we have here, surely live the present, but also prepare for the future.

Take an active stance towards what is important to us, our ocean-loving community, and how to impact positively in the now and in the future.

This blog has been an attempt to appreciate, understand, and enjoy all the goodness that comes from safe responsible practice of ocean water sports. The last 10 posts published have thus far made up this blog and it is my hope is that this at least has been accomplished.

It is now time to turn to more valuable topics which I sincerely hope will help you in your personal development and growth. Action Water Sports (AWS) have influenced my life in a very positive manner. Many of you have experienced this growth, this “stoke”, after a great barrel, planning on your kite or windsurf board, or doing a perfect bottom turn.

Something very special happens at that moment when everything “clicks” and you are in the zone, deep in a barrel, flying high above the waves, or diving deeper than you ever had before.

I believe this is the growth part of the activities we so cherish. So entranced and excited are we, that we can’t wait to tell our friends and loved ones what just transpired in our lives in those few, brief seconds. Whether they understand it or not is besides the point. But growth is like that.

Sometimes it is only something that you, and you alone, understand.


In the next posts that I will be publishing, you will find continuation of interesting articles about the AWS. This will always be so. Surfsentinel, above all else, will remain a blog about AWS found around the world.

From Mexico to Argentina, from Hawaii to Morocco (yes indeed, and you will be amazed how active the surfing community is there), from Australia to Mentawais, Sumatra, Java and beyond.

This blog will also be a bridge of communication, focused on educating and involving “sentinels” around the world who also share a deep love and respect of our planet’s oceans.

Self Development through Action Water Sports

But you will now also have access to articles, posts and videos that will help and inspire you to reach your full potential, strive for that goal, that dream that, for some reason, you have yet to accomplish.

Think about this for a minute. Where would you like to be at this precise moment. Really. If you had a passive income stream that allowed you to be anywhere in the world, without having to worry about where the next pay check is coming from, where would that be? What would you be doing? Where would you go next?

It sounds inviting and, I know, for some of you, it might be the time when you are saying “OK, here we go with another pipe dream. Luis, please stick with the cool videos and AWS articles. Heard all before. Not interested”.

Ah, but here is the thing, my fellow Sentinels, this lifestyle can be yours. There is no doubt in my mind. No doubt whatsoever. It all comes down to MINDSET. And together we will reach for this star, for this objective.

Together, through trials and tribulations, failings and accomplishments, we will get there.

“Calm seas do not make an able mariner…”

You need skills.

Attributes that will help you guarantee the continuation of your lifestyle, even when you are away from whichever activity you enjoy most.

Like I mentioned before, life is short and precious. We must take care of our bodies and minds being ready for that next dive, that next barrel.

We must also remain mindful of our emotions. We must learn to be masters of our emotions. This will give us great power over ourselves and enhance our relationships with others we know and love to no end.

Financial independence. This is the key to the lifestyle we want to achieve. Perhaps many of you have already achieved it. Kudos! Now, think of ways to guarantee its continuation. For the rest of us, the path to financial independence is financial education.

Think of your health. You must invest time and discipline to maintain a healthy body to function properly in the water. Healthy eating habits goes hand in hand here. What will you do to fuel your body properly and help avoid injury?

Think of your financial IQ. The mind is the largest organ of the human body. You must develop it just like any other muscle. You will now find posts and articles that deal with improving your financial IQ. Mind you, I am not a financier, but over the years, I have read quite a bit about personal finances and strategies on how to improve our financial IQ.

I will be happy to share this valuable information with you.

Strategize and apply…

Passive income. Another cornerstone that will allow us to enjoy the lifestyle we want.

Simply put, passive income is income you are creating while doing other activities, hopefully activities you greatly enjoy, like AWS!

Passive income can come from activities as varied as learning how to invest in the stock market, investing in real state and collecting rentals from tenants, or having different income streams from different online business models.

We will touch on all these at a later time. But the fact remains that, whichever passive income strategy you choose to implement, to have success, you must be BRUTALLY CONSISTENT!

 And so we turn the page…

So there you have it. A bit of a change, to be sure. But the winds of change are here to stay, and many times, they bring good things.

It is my heartfelt wish that the information I will be providing you in the near future will be of some value to you, Sentinels around the world.

Surely, sometimes I will tend to ramble on a bit (perhaps I’m already there!). But it is with the best of intentions. Please offer your comments, your critiques. It’s OK. I will gladly follow your advice whenever it is offered to improve the content I publish. Thank you and talk soon!