Even if his year was forgotten amid a surprising world champ and Kelly Slater's pool fever…
“I don’t care if he is a Brazilian; he’s the best surfer in the world.”
This, from a surfer wrapped in an Australian flag after seeing Filipe Toledo drive Julian Wilson around the hill in the final of the Quicksilver Pro, Snapper Rocks. Nineteen-year-old Filipe’s near-perfect 19.60 combo-ing Julian’s 14.70.
Do you remember that final? Filipe coming through the air and hitting and bouncing off lips as if he was weightless while Julian looked as if he was doped up, in comparison. Didn’t matter who surfed against Filipe in that final. He blew his cookie!
Do you remember that final? Filipe coming through the air and hitting and bouncing off lips as if he was weightless while Julian looked as if he was doped up in comparison. Didn’t matter who surfed against Filipe in that final. He blew his cookie!
A few months later in Brazil, Filipe beat Bede Durbidge with the same night stick he wielded on Julian. Almost same scores, too, 19.87 to 14.70.
Two wins from four events.
By mid-year, Filipe Toledo was an orange-hot sunbeam filtering down through a tour that had become repetitive and slow. How could you watch the little man surf a heat and not be struck by his bolts of lightening? Here, there, drool running down his chin, eyes bulging and crazed like a madman undergoing withdrawal symptoms.
Sure, there was the low moment in Tahiti when he became the first surfer in history to score a perfect zero heat in a WCT event. You can watch that below or you can read about it.
A month or so later, he was back dismantling the beachbreaks of Portugal for another dazzling win. Watch his 10-pointer here! Best surfer in the world? Yes!
But despite his game-changing performances in 2015, Filipe’s dazzling year has been lost in the smog of Adriano’s world title and Kelly’s wave pool video.
Ain’t it crazy? That this beautiful boy with skin the colour of buttered cocoa, eyes a soft clubhouse green, who brought holy terror to the tour in 2015, and who is the hottest thing since Kelly Slater in 1992, could be overshadowed?
Our memories are lousy like that.
But, remember, eight weeks until Snapper Rocks, 2016.
Filipe will re-take the spotlight, gloriously, divinely. He’ll entertain the crowd while his competitors smile painfully as he shucks ’em one by one.
As the former world-number-one-rated surfer Brad Gerlach told me after Snapper when Filipe looked as he might win every event: “Filipe’s technically superior. And he’s not thinking. He’s surfing so spontaneously you don’t know what he’s going to do. He doesn’t know what he’s going to do. And that’s fucking awesome.”
Fucking awesome. Yes he is.