An electrifying final day at the Oi Rio Pro, the fourth stop on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), saw Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Courtney Conlogue (USA) reign supreme, claiming victory at Barra da Tijuca in front of a capacity crowd of thousands and thousands of passionate fans. Toledo defeated Bede Durbidge (AUS) to win the men’s event while Conlogue got the better of Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) to claim the women’s event, each securing their second CT win of the season and putting themselves firmly in the world title race.
Filipe Toledo (BRA) claimed the second CT victory of his career today following his inaugural win at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast at the start of this season and continuing his exceptional run of form with a win at the WSL Qualifying Series 10,000 event in Lower Trestles earlier this month. Previously at third place on the rankings, the result sees Toledo move up to second place on the Jeep Leaderboard behind Adriano de Souza (BRA). The blistering aerial maneuvers of the young Brazilian in each Round of the competition kept the fans enthralled and Toledo was on top form throughout the event, winning each of his heats en route to Final with consistently high heat totals.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Toledo. “The first thing I did was cry because look at the crowd, I’ve never seen anything like that before. It’s been such a blessed week and I have such amazing friends and family. I need to be grateful for everything I have and everything God has done in my life.”
“It’s been my dream to win this contest here and since the year that I qualified I’ve been dreaming of this day,” continued Toledo. “I’m feeling really confident right now. It’s going to be a really amazing year for me and the Brazilians and I’m hoping to finish in the top 5 and fight for the title at the end of the year.”
A huge aerial rotation from Toledo early in the heat earned him a Perfect 10, his second of the event, to begin his domination of the Final. The landing creased his board but after an equipment change he continued to look unstoppable, posting an 8.33 for his impressive rail surfing. Toledo bettered his position with another air reverse and an 8.53 for a formidable 18.53 heat total. Durbidge was left in a combination situation and, despite a solid 7.60 and 7.10, he was still in need of two excellent scores get back into the heat. Toledo’s go-for-broke performance couldn’t be matched and he stormed to victory, sealing the deal with a near-perfect 9.87 and the highest two-wave heat total of the entire competition, a 19.87 out of a possible 20.
“The Brazilians have really started the year well and that’s really given me so much confidence,” Toledo said. “It was so crazy when I was trying to get my back-up board and there were just so many fans. Big congratulations to Bede (Durbidge) and to Bianca (Buitendag) and Courtney (Conlogue), you’ve all done such an amazing job and are such great surfers.”
Tour veteran Bede Durbidge (AUS) has been part of the Top 34 since 2005. The result today is his best since 2010, where he made a Final at the Rip Curl Search event in Puerto Rico, and moves him up one place to 10th on the Jeep Leaderboard. Durbidge previously defeated Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Josh Kerr (AUS) and Keanu Asing (HAW) before facing Toledo in the Final.
“It’s amazing this crowd and I knew it would be a tough heat here against Filipe (Toledo),” said Durbidge. “I knew he’d take it to me straight away and he did with that 10. I just had fun at the end and enjoyed this crowd and Rio. Filipe is only 20 and he’s going to be hard to stop but it feels good to be back on the podium so I’m stoked. This definitely gives me more confidence. It was my goal this year to get back on the podium and win an event. This is a good stepping stone and hopefully next time I will win.”
Oi Rio Men’s Pro Final Results:
1- Filipe Toledo (BRA) 19.87
2 - Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.70
Oi Rio Men’s Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.83 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 6.34
SF 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.63 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 8.23