Filipe Toledo put on a brave performance during finals day this Sunday at the Freshwater Pro, Lemoore USA. Following up a weekend that for the most part was monotonous and uninteresting to watch, finals day offered some excitement that we were yearning to see.
His competitor and defending event champion, Gabriel Medina, had already nailed an 18.83 total on his first two waves. It was a tough competition to beat from the get-go, but nothing Filipe couldn’t challenge.
The final’s seminal moment came on Filipe’s final left. Needing an 8.23 to overtake Medina, Filipe entered the wave in a relaxed manner, rhythmically linking turns across the crumbling wall until a worthy section presented itself and allowed Filipe to spin a nimble rev and return straight back to the chopping block.
Then, about two-thirds of the way through his final ride, Filipe, who needed the eight to retain his world number one position, was in a position to secure the required score with one final explosive manoeuvre. Instead he went the opposite direction and rode out with switched feet into the end section tube, unfortunately engulfing him without release.
Filipe was so close to a winning wave. This high-risk surfing and not playing it safe is the kind of excitement we love to see from Filipe Toledo. The crowd were on their feet and the commentators commended him for his ability to almost pulling off a switch stance manoeuvre we’ve hardly ever seen before, especially in such a critical point of the finals. Not to mention this happened just after Filipe suffered a sudden back injury following his last right wave that scored him a 9.63 a few moments earlier.
Being able to surf both waves – left and right – is a skill not a lot of athletes are comfortable with. However it is looking like it is the next big thing to look out for. To ride a switch stance and with creativity and commitment is something we really value to see in the competition… and fun to watch, too.
Filipe finished off with a 16.07 total and came runners up (2nd place) to Gabriel Medina.
WQS Teamrider Update
In other news, our American teamrider Jake Marshall earns 5th place at the Azores 6000, climbing the rankings to 5th place on the WQS leader board.
Jake was an event standout at this year’s Azores, earning the first excellent score of finals day with an 8.00 on a couple of backhand turns. Watch the highlight below.