You typically have to buy tickets at sporting events.There are fences. Security guards. Assigned seats. There is, um, order. Not so in surfing! And no place is that more evident than the Oi Rio Pro...on a Saturday...with four Brazilians still in the event. Along with the day's images, photographer Ryan Miller sent us this note, "Today was easily the most crowded I’ve seen a surf event. When Filipe came out for his heat it was scary all the people moving in on him. Not just normal scary but really scary. Like they might accidentally trample him."
Dodging stampedes. Filipe Toledo made it to the water and just kept moving. Into the semifinals. Into world title discussions. Into our hearts. The kid's just the perfect combination of talent, enthusiasm and humility. With Filipe the favorite and the USA not represented on finals day, he’s a promising guy to root for. If nothing else you'll be able to cheer along with the crowd. How's your Portuguese?
Bleached. While so many Brazilians have muscled and maneuvered their way onto the mens side, the womens WCT is still very whitewashed. The only consistent Brazilian competitor is Silvana Lima, who fell to Coco Ho in round 4. That leaves the crowd with Italo Ferreira and Filipe Toledo to cheer on tomorrow. No word on which fair maiden they'll root for tomorrow, but Lakey, Tyler, Carissa and Courtney all looked fire hot today.
About tomorrow...Around contests you sometimes hear event organizers/sponsors discuss their hope of finishing an event on a weekday, during West Coast working hours. The more eyeballs on the webcast the better, goes the reasoning. But this will be one of those rare events where the on-site crowd dwarfs online viewership. And because it's a Sunday, with one Brazilian guaranteed to make the mens final, we’ll likely witness one of the biggest (and most enthusiastic) crowds ever seen in surfing.--Taylor Paul