Any win is sweet. But a win at a wave that everyone said was your weakness is even sweeter. And a win over a rival who previously had your number? That’s a saccharin injection likely to spike blood-sugar levels off the charts.
Such was Filipe Toledo’s reality on Sunday. Known as a small-wave aerial specialist, he was not a favorite to emerge victorious in the big, shifty walls of Sunset Beach.
But after progressing through the early rounds in cruise control, Fil came into final's day in sixth gear, surfing two excellent heats in a row — a 17.07 over Caio Ibelli in the Quarters and 16.33 over Joao Chianca in the Semis — to meet Griffin Colapinto in the Final.
They'd faced off in two finals last year. Griffin won them both.
With tropical blue, groomed 4 to 6 foot surf rolling through Sunset, Griffin took the early lead with a 9.17 and it looked like his stranglehold over Filipe would continue. But Fil wasn't about to raise the white flag, bringing searing carves and a flourishing finish to one set wave, earning an 8.27.
When Griffin backed up his big opener with a 6.93, it looked like Filipe was on the ropes.
Then, in the dying minutes, Filipe found a perfect wall and decimated it for a 9.47 and the win, the 13th in his career.
Filipe now sits second in the overall rankings going into Portugal, where he made the finals in last year. Let's go!