Stab Magazine | Filipe Toledo Wins The Freshwater Pro Despite A Cacophony Of Confusing Whistles
455 Views

Filipe Toledo Wins The Freshwater Pro Despite A Cacophony Of Confusing Whistles

Your absolute fav CT event is officially over!

news // Sep 22, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

We have arrived. 

Finals day of the Freshwater Pro is here—here at last! After this afternoon, there will be no reason to watch a wave from this central Cal wonderland for the next 363 days, if ever, seeing as how Surf Ranch might fall off tour in 2020. 

And can I be completely honest with you? I haven’t watched a lick of the live event. Not one damn second and I’m so incredibly happy about that. Partly because I’ve been busy with more fun/meaningful activities alongside friends and family, but primarily because the pool has truly become a sterile, uninteresting spectacle.

Incredible idea, remarkable technology, the most fun to ride, but if the world’s best surfers (barring one or two of them) can’t make the basin fun to watch, then why the hell are we watching it? I tried to digest Owen Wright’s (who is currently in third place) top two waves in succession and almost had an aneurysm. A surfing icon had managed to ride two 45-second waves to completion and I can’t remember a single maneuver. He also earned a high-seven and low-eight for the effort. 

Ugh. 

Filipe and Gabby are so good that they make the pool partially tolerable, but other than that, no thank you. The people have spoken and the people are right. The pool event is boring, and not, like I’d assumed, simply because it’s predictable. It’s more monotonous than anything, and surfing, as an activity and culture, is meant to be anything but dreary and drab. And yes, we do host an annual wave pool contest in Waco, so we’re currently skipping stones into Freshwater houses, but whatevs.

I’m feeling rather prickly today.

So, in an effort to improve your Saturday (or Sunday, for our Antipodean friends), I’ve gone ahead and pre-written the script for finals day at the Freshwater Pro. Spend six minutes reading this faux report and get on with your day—go outside, call a loved one, protest for the climate (better late than never!). 

The best waves will end up on Instagram ten minutes later, that much I can guarantee. 

Finally ‘the masses’ were allowed to enter Kelly’s cedar gates, but the masses they were not. 

Judging by the webcast—which to be fair, probably missed a few people in the porta-potties, etc.—I’d estimate that a crowd of 2,600 could be seen dotting the 750-yard basin, which left the arena looking patchy and morose like a John Florence beard. 

Still to surf their pre-finals “bonus waves” were 12 men and six women. Of them, only three—Kelly Slater, Julian Wilson, Stephanie Gilmore—were able to make the leap from beneath the qualification line to within the top four (women) or eight (men), knocking Courtney Conlogue, Wade Carmichael, and that surprisingly nimble Panda out of contention for the win. 

Speaking of which, do you think it’s almost a good thing for Willian that he didn’t win the Freshwater Pro? After his recent performance at Teahupo’o, where in pumping six-to-ten foot surf, he was unable to secure even a one-point ride, don’t you think it would add to the embarrassment if he then won an event at the most sterile, non-threatening (except in the case of one journalist) surf environment on earth? 

I’d think yes, but then again, I’d probably be happy to pocket the aseptic $100,000 check and guaranteed re-qual if I was in Willian’s position, too. 

 Cardoso W1875FWP19miers

So, the finals—eight men, four women, two rights and lefts apiece (plus two bonus waves for the top half of finishers). 

Here are the official lineups:

Men’s

Gabriel Medina
Filipe Toledo
Owen Wright 
Italo Ferreira
Griffin Colapinto
Jordy Smith
Kelly Slater
Julian Wilson

Women’s

Johanna Defay
Carissa Moore
Caroline Marks
Stephanie Gilmore

And when you think about it, isn’t the fact that the WSL halved the women’s final in respect to the men’s kind of odd? I realize that, because the women’s tour is half the size of the men’s, it makes logical sense to cut the final down to the same percentage of the total field of competitors on the women’s and men’s sides  (22.22%), but at the same time, why does it matter?

Like, they could have just let eight women be in the “final”—which is an arbitrary construct in and of itself, as there is no difference in placings/points from any other event in the season—so that the last event day was equitable in the sense of men’s and women’s airtime. And on the one day when spectators were finally allowed to attend, don’t you think they’d want to showcase as many competitors—male and female—as possible?

Marks9290fwp19vankirk

Not to get all preachy, but this seems like another pointless misstep in the gender equality movement. The WSL has done a great job of delivering equal pay, but it’s decisions like these that have a silent but persistent impact on women in sport, if not life in general. 

An anecdote:

I was recently invited to golf at a relatively upscale country club.

When I golf, which is not very often, it’s typically at a cheapest-price-you-can-find sorta joint, so for me, this was a major upgrade. 

The course, staff, food etc. were immaculate. I noted to the member who had invited me that, were I ever independently wealthy enough to belong to such a facility, I would likely spend all of my time there, as it was something of an adult theme park. Drinks, food, sport, etc.

Add a wavepool and you’ve got an artificial heaven. 

Then he told me something that I still haven’t been able to fully digest.

He said that, yes, this place is great, but a friend of his recently joined and abruptly left the club after learning about its prehistoric gender bylaws. 

For example: women cannot become a member on their own accord. Their husband must be the primary member, and they can be a tagalong. Also, female members are not allowed to book tee times on premier days (namely Saturday and Sunday), but rather have to show up and see if there is a gap to play between the men. 

This, in 2019! 

According to my member acquaintance (see how I distanced myself there!), the club recently sent a silent ballot to all of its members, asking whether or not they should change these gender-based rules. Being that it’s a private club, they are only obligated to serve their members’ interests, not abide by any common laws or recent societal standards. 

My member acquaintance reportedly voted in favor of changing the rules but has heard nothing since, leading him to believe that his side was outnumbered and no change will occur. 

I don’t mean to imply that the WSL, by having less women included in the “final” of the Stillwater Pro, are by any means functioning at this excessive level of bias—only that it still exists. And, I think most would agree, the pool might be the only Tour stop where women’s performance holds a flame to the men’s—did you see Johanne’s tube!—so why not have them front and center?

 ibelli c4389FWP19cestari

Anywho, you’re probably wondering how the finals went.

I’m not gonna waste my time or yours by breaking down 60 identical waves in written form—you can watch the replay feature (with awful pre-roll) if that’s your kink—but I will tell you who won. 

Men’s: Charlie’s whistle scheme backfired as Filipe surfed the best wave in Surf Ranch history, completing over 18 maneuvers in 45 seconds thanks to rapid misdirection from the crowd. Filipe retains the Yellow Jersey heading into Europe, with Medina lurking closely behind. We’ve all read that book before. 

Women’s: Steph Gilmore got the best single wave, Caroline nearly stuck a massive air for a ten, but it was Carissa Moore who linked two waves seamlessly from plow to plunge, earning her the win and a sizable ratings lead. 

Begging the question, where the hell is Tyler Wright?

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

The Team Ukraine Interview

“There are mines near the shore, and already a lot of people have died…so it’s…

Sep 24, 2022

Mormaii Founder Raided By Brazilian Feds On Suspicion Of Plotting Against Democracy

Curiously, he's the second surf brand founder to become entangled in a political scandal of…

Sep 24, 2022

The Electric Acid Surfboard Test With Mick Fanning, Episode 4

There are three boards left. Which one is Mick taking home?

Sep 23, 2022

Watch: Tresha

The Bella Kenworthy Edit.

Sep 22, 2022

Photos: Welcome To Vans Stab High Indonesia, Presented By Monster Energy

Welcome to Lakey Peak. Now do airs.

Sep 22, 2022

5:27

Taro Watanabe Is The Love Child Of Your Favorite 80’s Surfers

Watch his new edit 'Sonic Youth' now.

Sep 22, 2022

The Four-Finned, Carbon-Wrapped, Vacuum-Bagged Board That Won The 2022 World Title 

The minds behind Sharp Eye and Dark Arts break down Filipe's winning plank.

Sep 22, 2022

Selema Masekela Discusses The New Film “Sweet Adventure,” A New Love For El Salvador and His Not-So-New Music Career 

"It's literally the entirety of my life coming full circle in a way that I…

Sep 22, 2022

Does The 1-to-6 Foot Surfboard Exist?

Pushing the Channel Islands NeckBeard 3 to its absolute limits in a new Joyride review.

Sep 21, 2022

9:18

Life Comes At You Fast — So Does This Hectic Indo Clip

Finn McGill and a full-speed stint in Southeast Asia

Sep 21, 2022

Interview: Afghanistan Surf Champion Afridun Amu

From refugee to constitutional lawyer to university lecturer to Afghan surfing icon.

Sep 20, 2022

15:24

Bong Make ‘Another Good Call’ By Poaching Stab Cinematographer For West Oz Clip

Shut up, is that Occy doing punts?!

Sep 20, 2022

Exactly Where, When, And How Stephanie Gilmore Won Her 8 World Titles

Steph has won 341 heats in her 15 years on the CT — let's revisit…

Sep 20, 2022

Footage Of “The Best Wavepool In The World” Leaks From Brazil

A private pool in the heart of São Paulo, brought to you by Perfect Swell.

Sep 20, 2022

WSL Unveils 2023 CT Schedule

Swapping G-Land for Surf Ranch is … something.

Sep 19, 2022

10 Things I’ve Learned, With Michael February

Pearls of Wisdom from Surfing's Most Sage Millennial

Sep 19, 2022

How To Live Rent-Free At A Mentawai Surf Resort

Dylan Wilcoxen knows the secret.

Sep 19, 2022

Who Makes The Best Wetsuits?

We asked. 5000 surfers answered. Now, let's break down the results.

Sep 18, 2022
Advertisement