Sports fans in shock as Australian Stephanie Gilmore wins eighth world title in gruelling all-day marathon, shattering Layne Beachley’s record, and despite being given “no chance” by Kelly Slater of surf journalism!
Ageing Australian bewilders younger opponents on epic Rip Curl Finals Day!
In one of sport’s great comeback stories, the Australian Stephanie Gilmore has sucked the juice out of the universe to win her eighth world title at Lower Trestles, California.
Gilmore, who is thirty-four, came into Finals Day rated fifth in the world and, according to the format, had to win three consecutive heats to get a shot at the reigning champ Carissa Moore in a best-of-three showdown for the crown.
In deteriorating two-to-three-foot surf, Gilmore rode the crumbling little waves in a hypnotically rhythmic manner, for no reason is she regarded as the most stylish surfer on earth, to beat the younger Hawaiian in two straight heats.
In explosive podcast exchange, WSL CEO Erik Logan addresses world number one Filipe Toledo’s historic Teahupoo failure on eve of Rip Curl Finals Day, “Is that really my world champion? Am I really gonna put on a Filipe jersey?”
“I’m in tune with what the community is saying…people were very judgemental on how he surfed,” responds the one-time Cocaine Cowboy lookalike CEO.
This time tomoz, logic points to world number one Filipe Toledo, a Brazilian ex-pat who now calls San Clemente home, being crowned world champion at Lower Trestles.
His challengers, Jack Robinson, Ethan Ewing, Italo Ferreira and Kanoa Igarashi, will have to summon the sort of superhuman reserves of stamina usually only found in churchgoing women with plastic vibrating dildos, as well as an inconceivable leap in performance to match the world’s best surfer in waves three feet and under.
But there’s a hitch, a caveat to Toledo’s forthcoming glory.
The Brazilian, who is twenty-seven, has come under fire in recent weeks following his historic failure to catch a meaningful wave at pumping six-to-eight-foot Teahupoo.
Now, the WSL’s CEO Erik Logan has addressed pro surfing’s elephant in the room on The Boardroom Podcast with Scott Bass.
There’s a little back and forthing between the two about Finals Day, Logan pointing out that if it didn’t exist “Filipe would’ve won his world title in a house or sitting on the beach at Teahupoo after the elimination round after someone else lost.”
What follows is an explosive exchange between the pair when Bass, despite adding a bank of caveats to his question, oh I love Toledo etc, says, “If you watch that first heat of him surfing at Teahupoo, you’re kinda like, Is that really my world champion? Am I really gonna put on a Filipe jersey? Am I feeling that.”
In a final spasm of honesty, Bass adds, “When you look at the Vans Pipe Masters, guess who’s not gonna get an invite, Filipe Toledo !”
Logan, potent as ever, tries to douse the flames.
“I think, to be fair to Filipe, certainly, again, I’m in tune with what the community is saying, I read too much, people were very judgemental on how he surfed. The counter to that is, he went out and surfed good in his next heat.”
Logan then applied the Chris Cote argument, that Toledo wasn’t terrified at all, but as cunning as a fox.
“The reality was, he was the number one surfer in the world and he’s playing the long game, he’s playing the game of, ‘I’m not throwing myself over the ledge and potentially getting hurt.’”
Toledo’s thinking, theorised Logan, was, “I have the number one seed and people are having to come to me, which is going to be four-to-six at my home break. Come get me.”
“As incredible as he is at Lowers, I feel there will be a lot of pressure on him this year at Lowers and a lot of people chatting about what we just brought up, about his performance at places like Pipeline and Teahupoo and if you look at past world champions, you look at John John and Gabriel and Kelly Slater, they are all incredible surfers at Teahupoo and Pipeline… to be the world champion, you have to perform in all the venues.”
Today is the hottest Southern California’s Ocean Pacific has been in ten years. Science declares it is 73.4 degrees Fahrenheit (23 degrees celsius, 2876 degrees Surfline) but it sure felt warmer. The air is 89. I just got out of the water, hair still dripping, after surfing a fun little wedge. There was no bite, upon entry. Not one tiny little clench of the jaw. It felt like getting into a lukewarm bathtub.
And here’s where things get bizarre. I paddled out into the lineup on my Album twin (5’10) sat in the lineup and studied the men around me. There were four sitting on the peak, three more down the beach, three more up the beach.
Each of them was wearing a wetsuit.
One a jacket, the rest full on long-legged, long-armed 3/2s.
What in the world is happening?
Surfing wetsuit-less is one of life’s great joys and only happens for two, maybe three months a year here. Why would any of those minutes be covered with constricting, extra-hot neoprene?
The only conclusions I could draw, while bobbing near nude with only a pair of Ola Canvas trunks covering unseemly bits, were either that Southern Californians had lost their ever-loving minds, spending too much time driving solo in cars with masks covering nose/mouth/too much time walking solo outside with masks covering nose/mouth or the kook apocalypse has fully and completely arrived with “surfing” and “wetsuit” synonymous.
Or is there some other reason that SURFERS ARE WEARING FULL WETSUITS IN A MASSIVE AND HISTORIC HEATWAVE?