Surfscene: Here comes the Brazilian storm
HOLY Toledo Folks. Look out, here comes the Brazilian storm again but this time it's Filipe Toledo.
Already with two wins on the board, he is the only world title contender to do so with three events remaining on the World Tour.
It's now a real possibility that this amazing aerial break neck speed competitor could be Brazil's third World Champion following Gabriel Medina and Adriano De Souza.
On adjusted rankings (taking out two worst results) Toledo is now in third behind South Africa's Jordy Smith and Hawaii's John John Florence.
Australia's only real hope of blocking Toledo is Coolum's Julian Wilson, who's rated third overall but drops to fifth on adjusted ratings with one win at Teahupoo.
Wilson must win another event in the European leg to hold off the Brazilian challenger.
As the Championship Tour heads to Europe, Toledo has the fire power to keep his run going. Last year in France, he pulled one of the biggest backside airs ever seen, and two years ago in Portugal, he and Italo Ferreira turned the final of the MEO Rip Curl Pro into an aerial dogfight for the ages.
Toledo is the only surfer this season to rack up two wins, and the fact that he's earned both of late means his confidence is soaring at the moment.
"I feel really good right now,” he said just days before his Trestles win.
"I want to win a world title, but I'm not in any real hurry to get there. If I keep doing what I'm doing I think the rest will come.”
That's a very measured reply without raising too many expectations. Toledo has been there before but couldn't finish in Hawaii.
Whereas Wilson has won a Pipeline final, beating Gabriel Medina at Backdoor, Wilson and the two Brazilians have had their share of ding-dong battles and these next two events are crucial to the world title playing out at Pipe.
The Quiksilver Pro at Hossegor, France kicks off this weekend, from October 7-18 followed by the MEO Rip Curl Pro at Peniche, Portugal from October 20-31.
Hawaii is not on until December 8 for the Billabong Pipe Masters. If Toledo can reproduce the form of JBay and Trestles he could even wrap up the world title prior to Hawaii.
But I don't want to get too ahead of myself, as there is the Jordy Smith and John John Florence factor to weigh-in.
Currently South Africa's Jordy Smith is leading the ratings and, like Toledo, is yet to win a world title.
Smith's knock 'em down win at Bells was outstanding but since then he has not been able to deliver the knock-out punch. Defending world champion John John Florence, currently in second on the ratings, was running red hot at Margaret River but has been hot and cold and like Smith not able to capture a second win.
If the beachbreaks are solid at Hossegor, that will favour the power surfing of Smith and Florence, but if it's marginal or sketchy, that will suit the aerial combatants like Toledo and the rest of the Brazilian storm.
There's no doubt the Aussies are under pressure with Matt Wilkinson and Owen Wright mathematically in the hunt, but the latest trend of Brazilian domination is a worry. Especially on the World Qualifying Series which has been totally dominated by a new era of Brazilians.
The highest placed Australian is Wade Carmichael in 12th. Carmichael has come so close to qualifying for the World Tour and will need a solid Hawaiian result during the Triple Crown events as only the top 10 on WQS qualify in 2018.