Do yourself a favor an watch Medina's reaction in relation to Seabass' (at 0:54).
Did Filipe Toledo Land The Biggest Leap In CT History Yesterday?
Let's consult the airs we've previously hyperbolized!
With three minutes remaining in his Round 4 heat at the 2018 Oi Rio Pro, and already holding an insurmountable lead against his competitors Michael Rodrigues and Ian Gouveia, Filipe Toledo had nothing to lose, but more importantly nothing to gain, when throwing his border-crossing backside punt.
Doing an air at mach speed off that kind of section is a recipe for disaster. A broken board would be a minor inconvenience for the flying Brazilian, but busted knees or ankles could put him out of commission for the rest of the season, if not endanger his entire career.
But Filipe wasn’t thinking about any of that as he slithered down the line at Praia de Itaúna, eying down a section that took forever to arrive but made up for it with an explosive pop.
Filipe launched off the lip with a gymnast’s precision, staying perfectly centered atop his board, the Fu Wax gripping his feet like a vice. Filipe spotted his landing all the way down, and despite connecting with the flats seemed to suffer little impact from the three-meter drop. All said, he covered about 20 feet of lateral territory in the flight.
In the commentary booth, Chris Cote and Martin Potter were joined by Brazilian CTer Jesse Mendes to discuss the spin. And while they all noted their admiration for the leap, even calling it a 10 before the official number was dropped, there was a notable lack of astonishment that Filipe had done what he just did.
“Always a shock to see an air that big,” said Cote. “But when it’s Filipe Toledo, no surprise.”
“No surprise,” Potter parroted.
Keep in mind that Filipe isn't necessarily practicing these all the time, either.
Before the Founders' Cup began, I asked Filipe why he hadn't tried any airs in his practice runs like many of his competitors.
“Well, that’s kind of the difference between me and some of the other surfers,” Filipe said. “I have complete confidence in myself to go out and land those airs in the competition, pretty much every time.”
He then proceeded to nail two airs on one wave, garnering him the only 10-point ride of the event.
Filipe’s talent knows no bounds. His ability to maintain control of his craft throughout the most outrageous maneuvers is what made his most recent air seem like a foregone conclusion. But if we’re being objective about this, yesterday’s punt might just have been the best ever in CT competition.
Let’s look at a few other airs that could maybe rival it.
The WSL was kind enough to compile ~10 of them here.
Then from 2016/17, we have the following:
Italo Ferreira, Rip Curl Pro Portugal, 2016
John Florence, Rip Curl Pro Bells, 2017
Italo Ferreira, Quik Pro Snapper, 2017
Filipe Toledo, Quik Pro France, 2016 (skip to 1:51)
Gabriel Medina, Oi Rio Pro, 2016
And just as a reminder…
Filipe Toledo, Oi Rio Pro, 2018
And after watching all of these, what do you think? Is it even close?