17 May, 2015 17 May, 2015

Filipe and Courtney Victorious at Oi Rio Pro

Bianca Buitendag finished runner-up to Courtney Conlogue, while Filipe Toledo put on a small wave surfing clinic on the final day of the Oi Rio Pro.

Filipe Toledo and Courtney Conlogue, victorious in Rio.

The swell was just about hanging in there at Barra da Tijuca at dawn on finals day, and Victoria Bay’s Bianca Buitendag was in the water first up to contest her quarter final match-up with the USA’s Lakey Peterson. Bianca’s strongest weapon is his powerful and stylish backhand, but with predominantly lefts coming through early at Postinho, she was going to have to make sure her forehand was up to the challenge. And it was, with the Southern Cape local advancing to the semi finals fairly comfortably over Lakey, who was still short of a 7.44 by the final horn.

Her opponent in the semi finals was to be ratings leader, Carissa Moore (HAW), who got the better of Keely Andrew (AUS) in a one-sided match-up after a strong start. Australia’s Tyler Wright won a close battle with Coco Ho (HAW) to grab her spot in semi-final Heat 2, and she was joined by the winner of the last event at Margaret River, Courtney Conlogue (USA), who out-surfed Hawaii’s Malia Manuel in another tight heat.

Bianca was blasting on her forehand at Postinho.

The semi-finals hit the water shortly thereafter, and Bianca played it cool against 2-time world champ, Carissa Moore, picking off the best waves on offer as the Hawaiian struggled to milk the scores needed out of the mediocre waves she found. When Bianca scored a 7.00 to add to her earlier 6.50 with four minutes remaining, Carissa had no answer and had to settle for second. Bianca’s reward; a spot in her second ever Championship Tour final.

The second semi was all about Courtney Conlogue, as she came up against Australian Tyler Wright. Tyler, a popular surfer and sister to quarter-finalist Owen Wright, couldn’t find the bombs, and a hyped-up Conlogue was pumped on getting to the final – her second in a row.

In the final, Courtney Conlogue started strong, putting a 6.50 and a 7.17 on the scoreboard before Bianca could even get a decent ride under her belt. Bianca looked a bit nervous, falling on her first two waves. Then the ocean changed, the swell dropped and the onshore wind started puffing, and Bianca couldn’t find the waves she needed to put herself into contention. And although she would have liked to win, Bianca was stoked to equal her best-ever result and pocket US$25 000 and 8000 points for second place. Courtney Conlogue, meanwhile, claimed her second consecutive CT victory and jumped up to second place in the world rankings. Can she make it three in a row in Fiji?

Courtney Conlogue has been unstoppable in the last two events.

The men’s final was a game changer. On the way to their final berths, Filipe Toledo (BRA) comboed countryman Italo Ferriera, and Australia’s Bede Durbidge trounced Matt Wilkinson (AUS) in their respective semi-finals. Then shit started going down.

The Brazilian crowd was next level. Estimated at 20,000 strong, they were a screaming, roaring partisan throng, who were determined to give Filipe so much support as to actually lift his game against Bede and urge him on to a win. They needn’t have bothered, as Filipe put on what was one of the best small wave surfing performances you’re likely to see this year. He started off fast on a clean left, but blew a backhand reverse at the end, which elicited a comment from Pottz that he needed to slow down, to not over amp. Pottz had no idea what was coming. No one had any idea what was coming.

Filipe Toledo, halfway to ten points in the final of the Oi Rio Pro.

Filipe then picked up a fast right-hander, pumped a few times before boosting into one of his trademark forehand air rotations. This one was something else though. It was huge, he was contorting while he flew through the air, and he landed cleanly in the flats with momentum to ride the wave out cleanly with a few more turns to get a 10-point ride without any doubt from any of the judges.

Much to his credit, Bede upped his game and managed an air reverse of his own, landing with his tail facing the beach as opposed to fully rotating. Still, it was impressive to watch Bede adding some flair to his game.

“Bede has been blowing up, doing some funky stuff this year,” said Ross Williams.

It was never going to make any difference. Inspired by the by-now manic local crowd, Filipe proceeded to bank an 8.33 ride for a series of tight and radical turns and airs. He answered with another crazy air reverse for a score of 8.53, to the amazement of all watching.

Bede was going for broke in the final.

While Bede fought back brilliantly, boosting another decent air with half a rotation, Filipe busted into another legitimate full rotation air reverse at full speed to score an amazing 9.87 and the win was in the bag. It was done.

“The crowd support was amazing,” said Filipe to Rosy Hodge during an interview in the water. “I am so grateful for all the support I have received along the way.”

When Filipe came in and tried to get to the podium, there was no way through the crazy crowd, and the security guards could not get him safe access. He chose to paddle back out to the jetski to wait until he could see a clear path in. Eventually Woody, the WSL security director, got him through the manic crowd but not without any difficulty.

It was a groundbreaking performance. Quite possibly one of the best small wave surfing performances seen in a Dream Tour event.

“Never have I seen something like this,” said Ross Williams. “You couldn’t mind-surf better than Filipe, agreed Pottz.

Filipe scored a Perfect 10 for this massive air, his second ride in the final.

Filipe addressed the crowd with humility and intelligence.

“This is more emotional than the World Cup,” he said before thanking the crowds, his friends, his family and his dad.

Go to worldsurfleague.com for all the heat reviews, results and photos from the Oi Rio Pro.

1st – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 19.87pts
2nd – Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.70pts

1st – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.50pts
2nd – Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 11.10pts

HEAT 1 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.93pts defeated Italo Ferreira (BRA) 6.34pts
HEAT 2 – Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.63 pts defeated Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 8.23pts

HEAT 1 – Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 13.50pts defeated Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.84pts
HEAT 2 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.16pts defeated Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.17pts

HEAT 1 – Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 13.27pts defeated Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.16pts
HEAT 2 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.60pts defeated Keely Andrew (AUS) 10.06pts
HEAT 3 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.67pts defeated Coco Ho (HAW) 11.50pts
HEAT 4 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.50pts defeated Malia Manuel (HAW) 10.20pts

1 Comment

  1. Lion's Heart
    19 May, 2015 at 10:58 am · Reply

    You could see Bianca had her late dad Colin’s lion heart there in Rio….true grit and determination with those junky waves .

    Well done Bianca ….inspirational stuff.

    Jordz needs to turn up the intensity a wee “smidge”….other wise he is going to get smoked by these froth-a-lot brazzos.

    Fiji,Jbay,T-poo next…….three A-grade wave spots…..less frolicking with Mrs Smith please…..more application of given talent.

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