A thrilling Finals Day at the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast saw Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Carissa Moore (HAW) claim victory at Snapper Rocks in front of a huge, cheering crowd. Toledo defeated Julian Wilson (AUS) to win the Quiksilver Pro and Moore took down Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) to take the Roxy Pro title. Both Filipe and Moore will claim the yellow jersey after the opening event on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT).
Filipe Toledo (BRA), the in-form surfer of the event, claimed his first CT win today at the Quiksilver Pro. The youngest surfer on the men’s Tour put on an unbelievable performance throughout the competition and delivered the highest heat total of the event in the Final today, a near-perfect 19.60. Entering his third year on the CT, Toledo consistently delivered mind-blowing turns and blistering aerial maneuvers to become the second Brazilian to win the event. On his way to the Final today Toledo previously dispatched Adriano de Souza (BRA) and Bede Durbidge (AUS).
Toledo faced Julian Wilson (AUS) in the Final and the new-school match-up between two of the most progressive surfers on Tour did not disappoint. Toledo exploded out of the gates, earning an 8 and a 9 before his opponent had even taken a wave while Wilson waited nearly half the heat before posting his first score. An incredible heat played out, with both surfers locking in nine-point rides. A dynamic Toledo put everything into his turns and his air game was second-to-none, landing maneuver after maneuver. The young Brazilian put on another amazing display for a second 9-point ride and went to take a final wave under Wilson's priority with one minute remaining to cement his win and bring the cheering crowd to their feet. His fast, radical surfing, earned him a Perfect 10 to seal the deal on his first CT Final and his first CT win.
"This is the best feeling in the world and I'm so happy," Toledo said. "Only god and my family know how much I've been training, both physically and mentally. I'm so happy to win an event and feeling really confident too. After this event it's going to be a great year for all the Brazilians. I was really having fun and my board was working really well. The last wave was amazing and it was really cool to get a 10. Last year was an amazing year for Brazil and I was very proud of Gabriel. His win was definitely a big motivation for me."
"The Brazilian fans are unbelievable," continued Toledo. "No matter the weather, whether it's raining or sunny or whatever, they're always with me and I just love the Brazilian people. It feels great that I'm world number one. I was thinking about it after the final, it's amazing!"
"It's unreal to get off to such a good start," said Wilson. "Everyone on the beach knew that Filipe was the in-form surfer of the event so congratulation to him. I had a great event, I love this event and I love having my family here. It's been incredible and a special one. Second is pretty good so thanks to everyone. This is obviously a great result and I'm carrying the momentum from Pipe."
"Last year was a really tough year emotionally with everything that went on with my family, I'm a very big family person so it was a hard year," continued Wilson. "That was the biggest thing to overcome. I got back from Europe after having a big slump on tour and then I had to pack my bags and go to Brazil for the Qualifying Series and back myself up. Once I knew everything was good at home and I could really focus on what I was doing and strive to achieve my dreams."
The Roxy Pro Final saw Carissa Moore (HAW) battle Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) in an epic clash. Moore looked composed and stylish, claiming a win at the first event of the season, taking the yellow jersey from her opponent and defeating the reigning six-time WSL Champion on her home turf. Moore didn't drop a heat in the competition, winning through each Round on her way to the Final. Today was the 20th CT match-up for the pair and Moore's win evens the score with 10 victories apiece. The win today is Moore's 14th on the CT and her second victory on the Gold Coast, having previously won the event in 2011 on the way to her first World Title.
Gilmore got to work early in the Final, maintaining her down-the-line flow for a solid opening score, an 8.33, but it was Moore's day. The Hawaiian answered back with an unbelievable display, looking perfectly in sync with the wave to take an excellent 9.40. Moore was patient, holding priority and waiting until there were just seven minutes remaining to take her next ride. Moore put together a well-constructed wave earning another nine-point ride for a variety of powerful maneuvers, including a smooth roundhouse cutback, to leave Gilmore in a combination situation that she couldn't escape. Moore put on a display of crowd-pleasing moves at the end of the heat in celebration of her victory, boasting an 18.43 heat total, the highest of the Roxy Pro.
"It's amazing! The crowds are incredible today! I've never been welcomed by such loud and cheering enthusiasm, to have so many people share it in that moment with you is the raddest feeling," said Moore. "It definitely feels good to win. Steph's an incredible surfer and I'm sure she's going to come back to Bells hungry and fired up so I'll just enjoy it, relish in it for a minute but I'll have to get back to work soon. Yellow is my favorite color so I'm stoked to have the yellow jersey back."
"It's an amazing time for women's surfing and it's such an honor to be a part of that," continued Moore. "This year is going to be insane and the girls are on fire. It's special to watch the other girls surf and have them push you but at the same time be happy for them because as a sport you're changing it. You're going to leave it better for the next generation so I think we're all really proud of that."
"I love Snapper and it's so cool to see the girls do really well out here," Gilmore said. "It was a tough one but Carissa was unreal and I made a priority mistake so I was on the wrong side of the rhythm."
"It was nice that the WSL decided to really show their commitment to getting surfers in great waves and extend the waiting period and here we are competing in the best waves we've seen during the whole event," Gilmore continued. "It's super contestable and everyone has been surfing so well. Then in the Final Carissa absolutely smashed me. I love watching her surf and she's a real asset to women's surfing. She makes me rise and surf better and she definitely put on a clinic out there and she'll take that confidence into the next event. I'm happy with a second place. It's definitely not the worst and it's not the best, but I'll take it and it'll definitely be a keeper in my end of year results."
The highest ranked surfer going into today's Quiksilver Pro Semifinals, Adriano de Souza (BRA), wasn't able to contain the energy of his younger opponent. Toledo found the wave of the heat for an excellent 9.40, securing his place in the Final. De Souza looked frustrated and deflated as he struggled to escape the combination situation and takes home a 3rd-place finish, equaling his best result at Snapper Rocks.
De Souza previously defeated three-time World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) in their hotly anticipated Quarterfinal match-up. Fanning rode only three waves to the Brazilian's 7 and couldn't find the opportunity to match De Souza's excellent 8.57. The two-time Quiksilver Pro winner equals his 5th-place finish at the event last year and will now set his sights on defending his Bells Beach title.
"Adriano started off like he always does and he caught a few good waves and then the ocean went flat," Fanning said. "I waited for 10 or 12 minutes to get one wave and then I didn't get a section. Adriano's 8 was the best waves out there and I want to say congrats to him, he's a fighter, and I wish him all the best. Bells is always a great event for me, especially having the support of Rip Curl over there. It feels like a home away from home and it will be a fun event."
A big clash between two long-time rivals Moore and Tyler Wright (AUS) saw the young Australian leave the event in third place. The pair have previously matched up 10 times in CT history, with Moore taking eight wins to Wright's two. The two-time World Champion continued her winning streak today, beating the 2014 CT runner-up by 16.86 to 16.06 despite a strong showing from Wright, who previously defeated Courtney Conlogue (USA) in the Quarterfinals.
"Supporting the other women inspires me," said Wright. "When you see the girls doing well it's not something to worry about. It's progressive and something that it inspires a whole new generation, including me. It's truly incredible to be part of it and watch. I love progress and I love the girls surfing amazing so it's hard to be worried about it."
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Final Result:
1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 19.60
2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.70
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Final Result:
1: Carissa Moore (HAW) 18.43
2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.50
QUIK PRO: Heat Analyzer
ROXY PRO: Heat Analyzer