SPORTS

Watch A Surfer Land A Historic Backflip Like It's No Big Deal

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Surfers have been riding waves for centuries. Yet, with aquatic wizardry and a whole lot of skill, they've managed to reinvent the sport over and over and over again.

This past weekend, surfing experienced yet another transformative moment during the Oi Rio Pro in Brazil when 22-year-old Gabriel Medina caught a wave, launched himself into the air, flipped over backwards, then landed effortlessly on his board, completing the ride with a shrug.

It marked the first time a surfer has ever successfully completed a backflip during competition, according to the World Surf League.

Surfers take on a huge risk when attempting aerial tricks during competitions because judges score those maneuvers with extra diligence, only awarding points when the air is completed with the utmost precision.

But Medina's 360-degree flip did not disappoint. It earned a perfect 10 score from the judges because, as the surf website The Inertia points out,
that stunt "shouldn't be possible."

The air that earned Gabriel Medina a perfect 10.
The air that earned Gabriel Medina a perfect 10.

Although the Brazilian-born surfer holds a 2014 world champion title and is a seriously impressive surfer, he's become something of a villain whom surf fans love to hate.

Surf industry folk have criticized the 22-year-old for having bad sportsmanship, while magazines poke fun at his surfing style and even scrutinize the way he celebrates his waves -- known as a "claim" in surfing.

So when Medina nonchalantly shrugged his shoulders after Saturday's 360-degree flip, it was only a matter of time before someone called out his victory claim as "hideous."

Even if he can't escape being the butt of the joke, we're sure that his perfect scores and history-making maneuvers help distract him from all the haters.  

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Below, watch Medina's insane aerial from multiple angles and listen to the WSL's surf commentators break down his impressive feat.

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