Julian Wilson falls under the axe of the God/Brazilian teen combo…
Is there anything more heartbreaking than opening the door of the McDonalds family restaurant in Coolangatta? Under banks of cruel, green fluorescent lighting the observer is presented with a holding pen for the obese, the stupid and the sad, all picking over their sugared bread rolls and reheated meats. A cola or healthy juice option completes the scene.
But, just one hour ago, we see a man who is neither obese nor stupid, but, yes, he is sad, very sad. Sadder even than the sulky world champion who couldn’t fathom the inflexibility of competition surfing the day before.
It is Julian Wilson, the 26-year-old Australian, we see, rich enough to pile all his friends into a fine dining hall, but now, so sad, so desperately sad, and the bleak little parlour of McDonalds is where he must go to feel wretched.
Filipe Toledo, the 19-year-old from Brazil, meanwhile, continues his conversation with God that began prior to he final, continued after each wave and even upon the stage.
“God helped me win the whole event!” says Filipe. “God is the most beautiful person in the world!”
Filipe boils salt water. While Julian Wilson fossicked around on dreary and futile waves, Filipe was like a swollen boil that had suddenly been pierced. Watch Filipe surf and you are intoxicated. You look at your own surfboard and you want to ride it. He completely stupefies the viewer. It is absurd to pretend that a boy of nineteen, however sound he is as a human being, is a fully grown man.
Room to grow, move, improve.
“He got Eazy-E on the waves!” says Ross Williams.
And when Julian need a high-nine with a minute to go, Filipe strolled into a crummy little wave and unfolded perfectly. A ten.
“This is the best wave ever scored on the Gold Coast,” says Striker Wasilewski.
“He can turn a wave I can get a five on into a nine. There’s not much I can do about it,” says Julian, smart enough to wear sunglasses in the near darkness to hide eyes that revealed sadness, bitterness, hurt.
Little Filipe, not even 10 stone, and with his Hurley trunks stuck above his right knee, and speaking in a second language, thanked God again, and waved at the sky.
“God knows what I’m doing to win the world title,” he says.
A world title?
“This is a whole flip of the tour,” says Strider.
The mood of the event, or at least the smell, is soured when the usual French champagne that is used to douse the winners is replaced by the sponsor’s beer, Carlton Dry.
Carissa Moore, who beat Stephanie Gilmore, crouches, cringes, under the shower of the sticky, repulsive, brew.
Filipe bravely withstands the shower.
A boy, his god and, for now, the title of World Number One.