A few minutes ago Filipe Toledo won the final of the 2015 Oi Rio Pro, and it was one of the most fucked up displays of dynamic high-speed wizardry ever witnessed in competitive surfing. Toledo finished the final with a total score of 19.87, which included one 10-point ride; several judges considered him to have surfed a perfect heat, their scorecards reading 20 out of 20; in between his two best scores he posted a pair of mid-eights. Unprecedented scenes of rapture were meanwhile unfolding on the beach, the frenzied atmosphere suggestive of a carnival and a group religious experience in equal measure.
Poor Bede Durbidge, Filipe’s opponent, barely stood a chance — and he knew it too. After pulling a few airs of his own on his final wave, he celebrated his efforts — respectable though they were — with an ironic smile. The crowd rewarded him with generous applause, as though appreciative of his predicament; the judges rewarded him — perhaps slightly harshly — with a 7.10.
But Bede seemed almost happy just to be an accessory to Filipe’s performance. Toledo’s control over his surfboard was extraordinary throughout — in the words of commentator Martin Potter, he had it on a string. But not only was Toledo wearing a leash, he was also wearing a grin from ear to ear, and we may well see him wearing yellow once again before the year is out.