Toledo’s magic touch

2014-07-05 00:00

BRAZILIAN Filipe Toledo once again took the Mr Price Pro Ballito by the scruff of the neck yesterday, powering into the quarter-finals with a near-perfect score of 19 in his heat against countryman Ciao Ibelli, which included his second 10-point wave of the week.

With an onshore north-easterly wind coming through, Toledo made maximum use of what was available, landing his usual repertoire of air manoeuvres with big blasts and precise cutbacks. He delivered a masterclass of power and aerial surfing, punching his chest with delight after the ride he knew would clinch him the heat.

Ranked 16th in the world, Toledo was slow out the blocks, allowing Ibelli to take the heat to him and enjoy the lead for a brief moment as he landed a front side rotation on a small wave. In the space of six minutes, Toledo turned the heat on its head with waves of 10 and 9,50, leaving Ibelli to do all the work. Credit to Ibelli as he threw caution to the wind, desperately trying to land a big aerial that would make up some sizeable points, but it wasn’t going to work for him and he had to settle for second and elimination.

“There are no words to describe how I feel. I am having great fun and enjoying myself. It’s so good to be here,” said Toledo. “I tried some big, crazy airs and the wind was perfect to take them on. It just worked out for me and Caio surfed well.”

On his first wave in the heat, Toledo broke his trusty board that had seen him score a perfect 10 wave earlier in the week but the back-up one seemed to be filled with even more magic. “It was sad to break my ‘magic’ board so early in the heat but the replacement worked good,” he said.

The fifth day of competition where organisers rounded off the heats in round five which saw the winners advance to the quarter-finals, started at 9.45 am, after high tide had offered slow waves early on. As the tide went out, the waves became more contestable, providing sets of about five foot.

This allowed the last four heats in the round of 24 to be completed, with surfers delivering heats of power surfing mixed with some jaw-dropping airs. Australian Tom Whitaker set the tone with a score of 15,84 as he eliminated Marlon Lipke (PRT) and another Australian, Matt Wilkinson, raised the bar to 18,10 as he took care of Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY).

Michael Dunphy of the USA automatically progressed to the round of 16 when he was given a walkthrough due to his opponent David do Carmo (BRA) having to withdraw from the event. This followed the Brazilian smashing his face into his board on Thursday during his heat, an injury that saw him suffer mild concussion. He was taken to hospital where an MRI scan showed nothing serious but he was left with seven stitches and 10 internal stitches. He had no option to withdraw, which was sad for him as he was still in contention.

All eight heats in the round of 16 were completed, leaving eight surfers to contest the quarter-finals, semi-

finals and tomorrow’s final. Besides Toledo performing his magic, Portugal’s Tiago Pires was solid in his win against Australian Davey Cathels and Torry Maister (HAW), despite being eliminated by Adam Melling (AUS), landed an impressive air of between eight and 10 foot in his heat.

Throughout the afternoon, heats were closely contested with the lead changing throughout. In some instances, it was left to the dying seconds for the surfer in second to suddenly pull off a last ride that would hopefully do enough with the judges to secure the desired points needed to progress. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not, but it worked in the final heat of the day for Australia’s Jack Freestone who was tottering on elimination against Dunphy, only to pull out all the stops in his last ride which was scored 7.93, enough to keep him still interested in the contest.

“It was close and I guess I was lucky to pull it off at the end. Michael had it pretty much sewn up before that ride which just happened to work for me,” said Freestone.

Another who impressed was Dillon Perillo (USA). Having knocked Australian Matt Banting out on Thursday, he also left it late against Meister, taking the lead after 20 minutes of the heat, his fifth wave scoring 9.00 as he delivered a ride of strong, powerful turns.

Today organisers make a call at 9 am to get the quarter-final heats under way. The forecast continues to look positive, with some big swells expected tomorrow.

Quarter-final Line-Up

QF 1 – Tiago Pires (PRT) v Filipe Toledo BRA)

QF 2 – Dillon Perillo (USA) V Tim Reyes (USA)

QF 3 – Jadson Andre (BRA) v Adam Melling (AUS)

QF 4 – Matt Wilkinson (AUS) v Jack Freestone (AUS).

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