Filipe Toledo wins big in South Africa as surfing’s aerial whiz successfully defends his crown and posts back-to-back victories at Jeffreys Bay.
With what felt like a repeat of the Oi Rio Pro, finals day saw Filipe and Australian CT rookie Wade Carmichael display speed and skills in the fast-breaking waves of J-Bay. Both surfers managed to catch their first wave with gusto to the delight of the crowd. Twenty minutes into the match, Filipe was ahead by 0.10. It was still anybody’s game until the 23-year-old Brazilian scored an 8.30 ride, crushing the rookie’s hopes. Filipe defeated Carmichael, 16.80-15.33.
“I just want to laugh! It’s been so much fun,” Toledo said. “It’s a crazy feeling. Back-to-back titles at Jeffreys Bay is something that I’ve always dreamed of. We’ve had crazy waves. Carmichael surfed good and took down a few good surfers.”
One can say that the Corona Open J-Bay had Filipe’s name written all over it. Out of the ten highest single-wave scores, five were Filipe’s. And five of the ten highest heat total’s were also of his doing. Now, his victory at J-Bay not only shot him to first place in the rankings but also brings him to a 7-0 Finals win stat which means in the seven times that Filipe competed in the Finals, he never lost a match. Pretty impressive, right?
“When it is Finals Day, it is just something that clicks,” continued Filipe. “It is now or never, and I put it all on the line. That is always my strategy, ‘Go big or go home.’ It is easy like that and I went big. Finals is one of those heats where it is first or second, there are no losers, so I just go really big and put all my work on the wave. That is why I train. That is why I’ve been really focused.”
As for Filipe’s opponent, Wade Carmichael has had a pretty good run in the CT. So far, he’s managed to bring down some of the big names of surfing like Gabriel Medina, Jeremy Flores, and Jordy Smith. He’s had two Finals appearances and now sits at 6th place of the Jeep Leaderboard. The 25-year-old rookie is proving to be someone to watch out for.
“I had no expectations coming into this year,” said Carmichael in an interview. “I am really happy. I just want to keep improving my surfing. I’m having that much fun, and I want to keep going. I am enjoying every minute of this. I want to thank everyone. The support was ridiculous. This place is unreal and I love it. I feel right at home on the wave. It is amazing.”
Both Filipe and Carmichael will be back with the other CT surfers to compete in the Tahiti Pro Teahupoo on August 10.
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