Isn’t it fantastic when the cream rises to the top? When the rightful heir is crowned king. I remember in my matric year when the students of the school had to vote for its head boy and girl. Now the last thing you wanna do as a principal is let your students hold the majority vote in who gets selected as the school’s leading figures. I mean if grown ass humans of the world’s leading country can instate Trump as their leader, imagine the leader a bunch of acne snot nose kids would choose. Anyway, at our school, the head boy selected was a servant-hearted individual. A true leader. Always willing to help out. The kinda person you’d call if your car broke down a 100kms out of town. The teachers must’ve done some meddling with the votes, cause he sure wasn’t the most popular kid, but he was the right person for the job. Isn’t it wonderful when the right person emerges victorious? Well, that’s what happened today, Filipe Toledo won the 2018 Corona Open JBay.
We’d been following Jordy all week long, and Jordy had been on his usual tear at Jbay. He slaughtered the GOAT, walked over Tomas Hermes like he was a small molehill, retired Parko and then he sent the smooth safe surfing of Julian Wilson back to Australia. But Jordy came unstuck against Wade Carmichael. Wade’s World, much like the surgeon, only waits for two good waves, usually the best two waves of the heat, and then he proceeds to make them count, never falling. He’s like the kinda guy you’d let stay at your house for a month to look after your wife while you’re away in China on a business trip. Completely reliable. Wade surfed four waves to Jordy’s nine. and two of the four were literally in and outs. Probably just to reposition. Wade surfed solid the entire event, never rushing, placing the correct turns in the correct place and using his brute ‘Jesus beard power’ to cast sinners from his path on route to Zion.
In the dying seconds of the Wade and Jordy clash, Jordy needing a score and took off on a last-ditch effort. He laid down two brutal man carves. Sliding the tail like he was Derek Hind on one of those Free Friction Far Field things, and then he attempted what looked like a Superman. He missed the grab and the breeze blew the board straight into Jordy’s face. All Jordy needed to do was surf the rest of the wave-like he had been all morning, and the judges (probably) would’ve awarded him the score needed to advance. But Jordy threw caution to the wind, and the wind threw caution to him allowing Wade safe passage to the final.
Kanoa surfed fantastically all week long. Last year he looked like a Grom. A little boy. The wave too powerful for his slight frame. He looked like a small kid being bullied at school on the Supertubes walls. But this year Kanoa looked gorgeous out at Supertubes. He chooses superb waves throughout the event, he high-lined when he needed to high-line, he placed his turns in the perfect places, and he kept his speed up while traversing down the line.
In semi 1 Kanoa came streaking into vision. Flying down the line like a Japanese superbike. For a split second, it looked like Kanoa might just pay Filipe back for the embarrassment he endured under Filipe’s hands last year. For those of you who don’t know, Filipe made Kanoa look like a kindergarten child learning the alphabet last year. ‘Abby the Antelope’ – ‘Gary the goldfish’. But this year Kanoa under the guidance of Jake Patterson learned his Supertubes alphabet and was shredding. Unfortunately for Kanoa, Filipe was wearing that same blood red wetsuit as last year, and he proceeded to tear Kanoa apart. Perhaps Filipe was still pissed about the two interferences Kanoa served him last year, cause Filipe looked like he wanted to blow the tires right off Kanoa’s Ducati.
Filipe responded to Kanoa’s 6.17 with a 9.57. He then paddled back out and dropped a 9.33 leaving Kanoa in a combination before he could spell the word out. At the end of Filipe’s second wave, he let loose a ‘chop off your head claim’. And that’s exactly what he did in that blood red wetsuit.
The final was all about the ‘Filipe show’. Wade’s World did put up a fight, posting an 8 point ride, but Filipe was just too powerful. After Filipe defeated Gabriel nobody stood a chance against him. On the beach a hoard of Brazilians surrounded him. Chanting something in Portuguese, they hoisted him upon their shoulders, that wetsuit blood red from the slaughtering he’d paid the field. He let out a warriors scream, the intensity of 4 days concentration set free. He beat his chest as the hoard of Brazilian warriors carried him to the podium.
Last year we wrote that Filipe redefined the way people could surf Supers. That opinion mainly due to Filipe’s two ankle breaking alley-oops on one wave in round 4. But this year Filipe redefined what was possible on the open face. Instead of relying on the ‘high-line’ as his seniors have in years gone by, Filipe has a completely new approach to the famed point break, continuously going from rail-to-rail at the bottom of the wave. Where everyone else struggled to make sections, Filipe made them with ease, and he never, not once, cut a turn short, his rail carves were some of the best we’ve ever seen at Supers. Filipe is officially the man to beat at the Corona Open JBay.
Enjoy a superb gallery of the day’s action below courtesy of Greg Ewing: