"To be the world champion, you have to perform in all the venues."
“I am of the opinion that it is really unfair to kind of label Filipe as someone who is, uh, not an elite level surfer in critical waves,” the World Surf League’s brand director Dave Prodan says, straight faced, at the 59:45 minute mark of his latest podcast, continuing, “I think he’s had a little bit of bad luck. I do think, sometimes, that psychology gets to people where he has this nightmare opening round heat, he doesn’t really get any waves, he knows what everyone is saying about him etc. etc. and you have to think that plays on his mind… and I want to get your take on Filipe having to distance himself from, kind of, not the ideal Tahiti performance he wanted and prepare for the Final’s Day and that can’t be an easy thing to do.”
On the opposite side of the screen sat Mike “Snips” Parsons, notable big wave gun and super coach who had just so happened to be in Teahupoo for Toledo’s brave act of cowardice, wherein the current world number one did not catch a real wave while Kelly Slater and Nathan Hedge, both elderly, traded absolute bombs underneath his priority, witnessing it live from the channel.
Watching Toledo bob out the back, lonely.
The passive tone of Prodan’s “he doesn’t really get any waves” must have gotten to Snips as he launched into a not-at-all subtle asterisks painting of Toledo’s possible future championship.
“I think it’s probably really hard on him. I was there, watching all the warm-ups… so watching that all go down, I really expected Filipe to just kind of go Rambo mode and just show everyone ‘hey I’m gonna charge no matter what, I’m gonna give it a solid dig’ and I was (here Snips pauses for emphasis) bummed that he didn’t do that in his first round heat. It was eight foot, pumping, there were some really good waves coming to him and he opted not to take off on them. And I was just like, ‘Filipe have a dig, you’re so talented and so good in these waves’ and he just decided ‘no I’m not going to do it.’ Maybe he was thinking ‘I’m gonna save myself for Lowers… it looked like Filipe just wasn’t interested in Tahiti, even in the warm-ups I didn’t see him free surfing, maybe he was, but it felt to me he kind of went ‘you know what, I’m going to focus on winning Lowers this year and I’m just gonna let it happen here in Tahiti. Whatever happens, happens.’ I think that may play into his performance at Lowers, as much as he will try to block it out, and he should. 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.”
The Final’s Day curtain may just rise tomorrow.