Brazil surfing champ returns after mental health break
In this photo taken on September 08, 2018 Brazil's Gabriel Medina does a cutback during the qualifying round of the WSL Surf Ranch Pro, at the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California Mark RALSTON AFP/File

Brazilian surfing champion Gabriel Medina has announced his return to competition after a break for mental health reasons.

The three-time world champ told the Brazilian TV program Esporte Espetacular that he was "better" and would resume competition next month, according to excerpts of an interview released Friday.

"I learned a lot during the time I walked away from the competition, and I feel like I’m 100 percent. That’s why I’m announcing my return," the 28-year-old said.

In January, Medina announced he was taking a break, joining gymnast Simone Biles and tennis player Naomi Osaka on a list of sports stars who have said they are battling psychological stress.

"The past few months have been a difficult time for me personally and it has taken a toll," he said at the time.

He was also recovering from a hip injury.

Although Medina won his third world title last year, he failed to make the podium at the Olympic premiere of surfing at the Tokyo Games.

He had also separated from Brazilian model and actress Yasmin Brunet.

"I’m back to my athlete routine, waking up early, eating well," he told Esporte Espetacular.

"Everything’s back to normal."

The winner of the 2014, 2018 and 2021 world championships is expected to return to the waves in the sixth round of the World Surf League to be held in Indonesia from May 28 to June 6.

"I am excited, missing competing, traveling..." the Brazilian said.

© 2022 AFP