"Pull in or pull out."
How do you solve a problem like Filipe? Yesterday’s not surprising though shocking admission by the current, and likely future, world surfing champion Filipe Toledo’s father that the very talented Brazilian is, in fact, scared of Teahupo’o was certainly… something. We have watched the still-young man fail to paddle for waves for years now, historic 0.00 heat totals, getting smoked by two fifty year-olds, gifting heat wins to competitors just so he can get out of the water though he has always denied fear.
Denied it, that is, until his much-loved father Ricardo opened up and declared:
The truth is that he is afraid of hitting the coral bottom. That is the fear he has, of hitting himself there and really hurting himself and suffering an irreversible injury. It’s something that stays in his head… He’s already surfed big Waimea and Pipeline. He doesn’t have the know-how like John John has, like Medina has or as Italo acquired over the years. It is something that we know but at no time does it detract from the quality of the athlete that he is.
Why let the scaredy-cat out of the bag now, though? Why dig up a fact that has been meticulously buried?
Next year’s Olympics will be contested at “The Place of Broken Skulls” or “Tear-hoo-poh-oh” and Toledo has already secured his spot on the Brazilian team. There he will be, standing shoulder to shoulder with Gabriel Medina or Italo Ferreira or Yago Dora quaking knees wrapped in gold and green.
Admitting that hitting the coral bottom “stays in his head?”
Unfortunately it does completely detract from the quality of the athlete that he is.
His terror is completely obvious, and reasonable for any mere mortal, but not for Ubatuba’s first son. Toledo has super human reflexes and ability. God-gifted talent above and beyond plus resources to hone and maximize. He could swing on any gaping beast and, though sheer capability, navigate. That he has refused to grow the heart, to this point, to spend time and money, gin up confidence, learn is a mark directly against him.
And, so, if he continues to refuse to try this year, with truth of trepidation out in the open, shouldn’t he claim gut injury and vacate his Olympic spot to either Gabriel Medina or Italo Ferreira or Yago Dora?
If he doesn’t, will it be a historically selfish act?
Placing self directly above country?
Tell me how I’m wrong.
David Lee Scales and I, anyhow, briefly discussed Toledo’s cowardice on today’s program alongside solving the blight of racism. Worth a listen and the episode will soon be enshrined in the Smithsonian.