The Final Five: Carissa Moore and Filipe Toledo

Steve Shearer picture
Steve Shearer (freeride76)
Form Guide

Not much background information is required for the Men's and Women's Number 1 seeds, yet some commentary is required.

Carissa has benefited greatly from the mid-year cut, which in one fell swoop, eliminated all the young/hungry/progressive female surfers who may have pushed Carissa to update her surfing. Absent them she has been able to fall back on her strengths, which is consistent power surfing, superior heat strategy and an ability to push the dial from 75% surfing (her default setting) to something higher when required. Carissa can rise.

Despite a tepid performance at Pipeline and no signs of any aerial or tail high attack which we saw her do at Newcastle last April, she does have the repertoire to match the new teen attack coming through. Her very great luxury is she is not required to do so. Straight up meat and potatoes power surfing will win Carissa more heats than not, and as she proved at Trestles last year, will be sufficient against the current crop of Final Fivers.

She's a wonderful, wonderful front runner. Very rarely run down once she hits the front.

Apart from being well beaten by newcomers Moana Jones Wong at Pipeline and Molly Picklum at Sunset she has looked strong all year, without busting down any doors. She has at least this year and possibly next before she will need to look to the Slater 2012 template – whereby Kelly, at 40 years of age, was able to update and upgrade his surfing to a level equivalent to the new standard set by Dane Reynolds et al. A mind-blowing achievement which is yet to be fully recognised.

It's hard to see a way Carissa could get beaten at Trestles, absent someone like Tatiana really getting in her grill and upsetting her composure. Her team will be versed in that eventuality and will supply counsel if she does falter at first.

Possibility of a World Title: Unbackable favourite.

How will history judge a Filipe Toledo World Title? Pretty well if past precedent is any guide. Luckily for us, we don't need to go back into the deep past to find historical examples. Pro surfing started as a unified World Tour in 1976. The winner of that rag-tag, put together year was Peter Townend. PT did not win a comp and was not widely regarded as the World's Best Surfer. He had overcome a reputation as a three feet and under shorebreak kid through gutsy Hawaiian perfomances. Nonetheless, PT goes down in history as a World Champion. As does Damien Hardman, and CJ Hobgood, and Occy. Are they placed lower down in the pantheon by surf fans? Sure. Does that matter? Not a fucking bit.

Toledo comes into the No 1 position on the back of consistent showings, lacking some of the killer instinct Finals Day showings of yore. It was once a rare thing for Toledo to lose a Final once he had made it. Normally he would be so red hot he would shut it down easily. This year he lost two Finals, the first in high performance surf to Griffin Colapinto, and a Final at head-high G-Land to Jack Robinson. He beat two rookies for his two wins for the year: Callum Robson at Bells and Sammy Pupo in Rio. Consistent showings across the roster were weighed down by dismal performances at Pipe and Teahupoo.

Surf fans will have to accept that Toledo is not and will likely never be the heavy water surfer we expect a World Champ to be. His Pipe showings are arguably getting worse, after a 2018 high point, and despite a couple of over-cooked 7 point rides at Teahupoo he is showing no extra level of comfort there. He was absolutely decimated at the Box by Jack Robinson in 2019 - made to look like a hapless recreational surfer who didn't want to be out there. Jack paddled around him and took waves off him at will.

Those are all matters of record now.

Will they matter at Trestles?

You can't discount some of those dismal performances coming in as some devastating mind virus on Finals Day for Toledo. Especially if a rampaging Jack Robinson starts landing huge airs while Toledo sits and waits for sets.

Much more likely is Toledo calmly and cooly bringing his unparalleled high perf repertoire to Trestles and icing a maiden World Title.

Would you bet against him at head-high Trestles..?

Possibility of a World Title: Favourite, with caveats.


zenagain's picture
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zenagain Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 12:36pm

I reckon if the surf is head-high, lined up and clean I reckon if the sets come her way, Steph could beat Carissa. But hard to argue with the above.

Same scenario, harder to call for the men- if Filipe gets on a roll he's gonna be real hard to beat. Trest-lays is his bread and butter.

Still, I'm quietly hoping for an Ethan upset.

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jetson.rover Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 7:15pm

Unless Trestles can do it's best Jbay impersonation,i think Ethan is behind the other 4 guys title chances.
Toledo and Ferriera have air games that are their main weapons in waves like Trestles.
Robbo has shown this year he can pull them out easily and often and mix it with them too.
Kanoa a bit less so but he still has them in his bag if needed.
Whereas Ethan does them way less often and when he does they're not in the same league as the other 4 guys,or even half the other guys on tour.
At least that what i've seen up to this point.
Pumping good as it gets Trestles,Ethan will be a decent chance.
More standard 1 foot under or over head high like we usually see,i think the other guys will be shorter or much shorter odds.

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Amosjo Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 1:05pm

I can remember Filipe getting iced by Jack at the box a few years ago and some insipid performances at chopes. Dare I say it…was his performance this year against nathan hedge that bad? I agree he was overscored but I thought he had a crack…

Anyway…frothing for Ethan to take it out! Previous comments in other threads on this site from some people suggesting his surfing his boring has left me gob smacked.

Fucking beautiful style to watch and he holds his own in heavier waves too. The level of difficulty it must be to put it all altogether and attack/ carve/ throw tail at solid sections must be extremely difficult.

J Robbo is on another level in the heavy stuff.

Steph has too much work to do but hope she knocks a few of them out.

Really enjoyed all of the write ups and commentary. Thank you all.

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Itsmemickyb Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 8:19pm

yeah i though he did well in that heat too, didnt think it was overscored anyway from highlights. i still think he should stay somewhere and train for big barrels but seems to be getting there.

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stunet Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 1:10pm

It's hard to see it going to anyone besides these two. Reckon it says a lot for FT that, despite being off his best, he's still arrived here wearing the yellow jersey.

I enjoy his surfing, and he's been surfing well for a long time, plus he seems like a good bloke and never gets embroiled in shitty situations, so I wouldn't be at all unhappy to see him go all the way.

Best I can hope for is a couple of blazing heats where he's pushed to the limits by Jack or Ethan.

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deckstrus Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 1:27pm

Given all the commentary about the sad state of affairs of Australian pro surfing, it's great to see two legit title contenders in the mix this year. Go Jack and Ethan.

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Standingleft Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 1:49pm

Hawaiian islands will go Barry Cornell and declare independence if Rissa doesn't get the championship trophy at Tresl-eh

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Solitude Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 2:35pm

Be nerve wrecking sitting around all day for your 'final heat'.
If Riss and Fil win, good luck to them. They're in yellow, in the 'old' days they'd already have a trophy in their hands.

jetson.rover's picture
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jetson.rover Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 7:23pm

In 'the old days',this event would would be the Pipe event in December,and Toledo's world title would slip away.
And Carissa would probably be winning it at Honolua Bay..

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memlasurf Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 3:03pm

Bah, humbug still grumpy about the state of affairs. My issue with Toledo is he doesn't even try to work on his big wave game seems to be happy to deal with the everyman's waves to get him through. Best surfer in the world, not by a long shot. Best surfer at Trestles, yes possibly.

jetson.rover's picture
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jetson.rover Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 7:27pm

Best surfer in the world in waves 4 feet and under.
That's been enough to get him where he's at now.
And he'll be surfing for a world title in just such waves.
Might always be known as the biggest heavy water averse world champ in history,but he'll still be a world champ if he wins.
It is what it is.

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freeride76 Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 3:15pm

1am AEST

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Surfalot67 Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 4:31pm

Why call out Occy Steve - was he not a Pipe Master? He may be the dog of dogs in the water these days, but I wouldn't throw shade at his big wave chops. Or CJ. Maybe I misread the intent of your comments. Toledo though - yes, he will most likely win, and no it doesn't sit well with most surfers but the Wozzle cares little about surfing anyway. Brazil will declare a national holiday if Tatty gets up as well.

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freeride76 Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 6:49pm

Sorry, I meant World Champs who had some sort of asterisk.

Occy, because Slater had retired and it was seen as a sort of consolation title.

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truebluebasher Thursday, 8 Sep 2022 at 8:41pm

Final 4/10 surfers must face the Discretion of the WSL Discipline Director

*WSL Compliant Final Men ~ 1 Toledo *2 Robinson *3 Ewing 4 Ferreira *5 Igarashi
*WSL Compliant Final Women ~ 1 Moore 2 Defay *3 Webb *4 Hennessy *5 Gilmore

*Surfers have complied with WSL Final 5 by surfing at least 1 of 2 obligated WSL CS / QS Events

These following Surfers boycotted all local obligated WSL CS / QS Events numerous times.
WSL Rule Book 2022 ~ CT Surfers Rules 1.11c > CT (Must Compete in C/S > Q/S) > see : 14.11 :
1st Violation $10,000 > 2nd Violation $25,000 > 3rd Violation in the discretion of Discipline Director!

Should Top 5 rivals involve their reps to request WSL Discipline to consider finals disqualification!
Just saying that the discipline would likely reflect any inconsiderate surfers bringing sport into disrepute!

Stop & Consider 2 of these lazy surfers are Olympic Gold Medalists.
These Gold Medalists intently boycotted WSL Comps to gain unfair fitness & recovery advantage!

Now consider their Rivals have already dutifully surfed more comps & risked injuries.
Now they must still surf more heats to face these landlocked VIP Olympic slobs!
At what point do these VIPs actually get wet...Comp Rules are Comp Rules...make these VIPs sweat...out them!

WSL CT Men ~ 1 Toledo / 4 Ferreira
WSL CT Women ~ 1 Moore / 2 Defay

There is no record of these surfers competing in any CS / QS event anywhere this calendar year!

Expect fireworks on the day should a compliant Top 5 get knocked out by a WSL Pro couch surfer.

Hands Up! All who knew this Cut Lunch would serve up a bun fight with shit sandwiches!
Top 5 is already divided into VIPs (vs) Wannabes...this needs to be sorted before the hooter!
Sure! Yellow Alert ...Why Not!

Paul McD's picture
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Paul McD Friday, 9 Sep 2022 at 12:06am

Ha! Geez, imagine if little Flip had his safe little world title stripped off him at the 11th hour due to a technicality. That would make it worth staying up all night for. Who do i call TBB??? hahaha. Great pick up. Rules are rules.