Athletes

Filipe Toledo


Electrifying regularfoot pro surfer from Ubatuba, Brazil; part of a mid-2010s vanguard of Brazilian surfers collectively known as the “Brazilian Storm” called “the best 18-year-old surfer on the planet” in 2014 by Surfing magazine.

Toledo was born (1995) and raised in Ubatuba, a small, surf-mad city on Brazil’s southeastern coast. He was taught to surf by his father, three-time Brazilian national champion Ricardo Toledo. In 2011, the 16-year-old Filipe exploded onto the international stage with a surprise Juniors title win at US Open of Surfing, taking out both Kolohe Andino and John John Florence in the final. Eighteen months later, Toledo earned a spot on the World Championship Tour, and as a rookie in 2013 he finished the year ranked #15. The following year, while struggling to get results, Toledo and his extended family moved to San Clemente, California, bedroom community for the powerful Orange County surf industry.

Light on his feet and fearless in the air, the elf-like Toledo (5’7”, 141 lbs) is a masterful small-wave surfer, employing a high-scoring blend of twirling aerials and laser-sharp carving maneuvers. While nearly unbeatable in rampy beachbreak surf, many surf fans remained unconvinced that Toledo was a threat in bigger waves until he powered his way to a quarterfinal finish in the 2014 Pipeline Masters—where he was the first person to congratulate fellow Brazilian Gabriel Medina on winning the world title. “Filipe Toledo was born ready,” Surfer’s Sean Doherty wrote of the teenager. “Diminutive, sure, but with the swagger and the eyes of someone much older.”

After a convincing win in the 2015 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast—his first on the WCT—Toledo repeatedly credited his victory to God in post-contest interviews, an unusual move for a tour that rarely touches on the spiritual. “Divine!” read surf website Beach Grit’s headline announcing Toledo’s win, “God Fixes Filipe Toledo’s Win at Quik Pro!”

 


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