A Stoic Masterclass From Filipe Toledo - Stab Mag

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Noun: the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint. The 2023 World Champ was in a wheelchair days before winning J Bay.

A Stoic Masterclass From Filipe Toledo

A BTS glimpse into how he turned a torn knee into a title-winning tailwind. 

elsewhere // Sep 11, 2023
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

So Fil’s the World Champ and not a dubious one at that. The best male surfer all year was also the best surfer yesterday, when it mattered most. We’ll get into why his performance yesterday warrants every bit of celebração in just a moment. 

Carissa Moore has had her heart broken two years in a row as the number one seed in the WSL Finals, who’s choked both times. Hot take: The current WSL Finals format could easily be the fatal blow that forces her early retirement. Carissa would be the greatest female surfer of all time if it weren’t for Finals day. She’d have seven world titles and an Olympic gold medal. 

My guess is that since yesterday, Riss’s risk vs reward calculator for chasing another World Title (if Finals Day persists as the title-deciding event), is advising a strong ‘no’. 

Contary to the cliche that ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger‘ is the mountain of scientific evidence suggesting repeated trauma commonly produces poor wellbeing outcomes. Riss, yesterday, hurting deeply again. Photo by Steve Sherman

Now back to Fil.

We can probably all agree a stoic person is like the unsung hero of the human emotional spectrum. And yesterday, standing tall like a rock in a storm, unaffected by the tempest swirling around them, was Filipe Toledo atop the podium after one of the iciest two-heat performances in recent memory. 

It takes a village. Photo by Steve Sherman

At its roots stoicism is all about understanding what’s within one’s control and what isn’t. The stoic person doesn’t waste precious mental energy on things they can’t change. They accept the inevitable with grace and focus on what they can improve. It’s like they’ve got a mental spreadsheet, and they’re constantly recalculating their priorities. 

In this clip from his YouTube channel titled ‘Peace & Power’, Fil speaks with a refreshing candor about his knee injury ahead of J Bay, and how he went about organizing his life to give himself the best chance of a successful result.

Spoiler: it pans out just fine.

A mindset we can all absorb something good from.


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