The final horn has been sounded at the 2015 Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal, and the Brazilian phenom Filipe Toledo has been crowned champion, claiming the title over tour rookie and fellow countryman Italo Ferreira in a tightly contested final in Peniche, Portugal.
Toledo started off the final strong, scoring the second perfect 10 in the contest with a wave that featured one of the smooth aerials that Toledo is known for so well:
While Italo Ferreira answered back with a 9.93 of his own shortly thereafter, Toledo was able to keep his momentum, ultimately taking the title by a mere .5 points over his compatriot.
For Toledo, it was his third victory on the Samsung Galaxy Men’s Championship Tour this season, having previously won the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and the Oi Rio Pro earlier this year.
"I have no words, I'm just so stoked," the 20-year-old Toledo told the WSL after his win. "I had a crazy two weeks here, I hurt my back right when I got here after France. France was such a bummer for me, but it made me think about everything and put my mind in the right place and now the results are showing."
By winning in Portugal, Toledo pulled himself within 200 points of the current world No. 1, Mick Fanning, and created a logjam of surfers vying for the world title as the Championship Tour heads to its final stop at Pipeline.
At present, six surfers remain in mathematical contention to be crowned world champion heading into Hawaii (Fanning, Toledo, Adriano de Souza, Gabriel Medina, Owen Wright and Julian Wilson). And with those possibilities come some notable story lines.
If Fanning is able to hold onto his lead, he will join Mark Richards as the only surfer other than Kelly Slater to win more than three world championships, and it will serve as the crowning achievement of a madcap season that has seen the Aussie come back from a highly-publicized shark encounter to dominate the tour.
If Toledo or de Souza were to win it, or if Medina were to finish late-season surge to repeat as world champion, it would be just the latest confirmation that the recent trend of Brazilians dominating the sport is here to stay.
Ultimately, those storylines will play out over the next month as the tour waits for the 2015 Billabong Pipe Masters to kick off Dec. 8, from the famed North Shore of Oahu.
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