Mon, 24 June 2019

Jordy Smith surged to 4th in the world afer his 2nd to Filipe Toledo in Rio yesterday, but the Brasilian will again pose a threat to Jordy at home - he is the defending winner at JBay.

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OZZIE OZZIE OZZIE: Get it? Sally Fitzgibbons is held aloft after her win. Photo WSL / Poullenot

The beach heaved with Brasilians while Barrinha fired with 4-6ft surf, with the finalists all surfing a full day from the Quarterfinals to the Final, resulting in Toledo and Fitzgibbons' third CT victories in Brasil.

Smith’s runner-up finish advances him one place up to #4 on the Jeep Leaderboard and that much closer to his maiden World Title. John John Florence, two-time Oi Rio Pro winner and WSL Champion, retains his number one slot in the world, despite withdrawing from this Quarterfinal heat against Smith after injuring his knee the day before.

Smith, 31, has made the finals (two semis, a quarter and a final) four times this year with one early exit in Bali. He now returns to the Corona Open J-Bay as the obvious favorite in his home country where he will be welcomed home by fans. But Toledo is the defending winner at J-Bay. This win puts him back in the top five, moving up to third on the rankings. He will be a major obstacle for Jordy.

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TUCKED IN: For someone of Toledo's stature, that's an easy thing to do. Photo WSL / Heusi

“I think Filipe (Toledo) had a massive support crew down here today,” said Smith. “I think the first wave was a momentum shifter. The wedge moved a little inside, and I missed it, and Filipe got barreled and did an air to a blow-tail and that was just kind of it. The wind picked up right after, but what can I say? He’s an incredible surfer, and I was just honored to be in a Final and was pleased to finally make one this year. It was a great event and there’s no other crowd like this in the world. I just hope that at J-Bay they can share a little bit of love my way.”

Toledo successfully repeated last year’s victory at Barrinha after he defeated Smith in the Final, Frederico Morais (PRT) in the Semifinals, and Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) in the Quarterfinals. This is Toledo’s third win in Brasil (2015, 2018, 2019) and the eighth of his career.

“Once I get into the Quarters and Semis, it’s like something clicks in my head, especially here in Brasil," said Toledo. "The crowd just gets me pumped and I just want to do my best. But it’s so hard, surfing can be anybody’s game. With Jordy (Smith) you never know. I had eighteen points, but he could’ve easily gotten two nines as well. I was tense until the last thirty seconds, but that first wave got me feeling pretty confident and I was stoked to get that one.”

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YOU NEVER KNOW: Opponents of Jordy Smith often don't know what to expect. Photo WSL / Heusi

California’s Kolohe Andino (USA) lost to Smith in the second Semifinal but still holds his position as #2 on the world rankings behind John John. Andino is gunning for his maiden World Title and his first CT event win in 2019 and shows no sign of slowing down. He came incredibly close in two Finals already this year (Gold Coast, Margaret River) and continued his form in Brasil.

Fitzgibbons’ win today is her first CT victory since 2017 and her third in Brasil (2012, 2014, 2019). This season the Australian superstar has secured consistent results with four Final Series appearances, including two Finals. Fitzgibbon’s win vaults her to #1 in the world, overtaking Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Carissa Moore (HAW) on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“It’s definitely one of those feelings where you feel so alive,” said Fitzgibbons. “The whole process of running down through the crowd cheering and paddling out is pretty sick when it all comes together. After all these years it’s still special and to be in the Final with a friend like Carissa (Moore) is pretty amazing. It could’ve gone either way and it just went my way today, it was unbelievable, this is insane. I knew I needed something special at the end when that set wave came through. When I paddled in, I knew there was some opportunity and I just gave it everything. I just wanted to commit and everything just came together.”

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BEACH BRAKE: Sally Fitzgibbons wrested control from the Brasilian fans. Photo WSL / Heusi

Enroute to her 11th CT win, Fitzgibbons eliminated Moore in the Final, good friend Keely Andrew (AUS) in the Semifinals, and Lakey Peterson (USA) in the Quarterfinals. The CT veteran has come runner-up to the World Title three times, and this could be a breakthrough year after her success leading up to the season’s halfway mark.

Injury replacement Morais had a great run in Brasil with a third-place finish, eventually falling to Toledo in the Semifinals. Morias missed the requalification cut-off at the end of last year and has been working to requalify on the WSL Qualifying Series (QS). Taking full advantage as the injury replacement, Morais showcased that he belongs on the elite CT amongst the world’s best surfers. He will continue to compete on the QS while awaiting his next opportunity to sub in on the CT.

Julian Wilson (AUS) has had a slow start to the 2019 season after his runner-up finish to the World Title in 2018. Wilson was the final Australian left in the men’s draw before injury replacement Morais knocked him in out in the Quarterfinals. He climbs up four places to World #9 on the Jeep Leaderboard and is now the highest ranking Australian on the men’s CT.

For highlights from the 2019 Oi Rio Pro, please visit www.WorldSurfLeague.com. Next stop Corona Open J-Bay - sixth event on the CT from July 9 to July 22.

Oi Rio Pro Women’s Final
1 - Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.64
2 - Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.57

Oi Rio Pro Women’s Semifinal
SF 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 7.63 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 4.40
SF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.30 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.83

Oi Rio Pro Women’s Quarterfinal
QF 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.17 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 1.20
QF 2: Keely Andrew (AUS) 7.24 DEF. Silvana Lima (BRA) 6.46
QF 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.33 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 12.04
QF 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10.90 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.66

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Final
1 - Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.04
2 - Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.43

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Semifinal
SF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.00 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 10.30
SF 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.06 DEF. Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.40

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Quarterfinal
QF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.00 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 7.57
QF 2: Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.17 DEF. Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.83
QF 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) DEF. John John Florence (HAW) INJ
QF 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.10 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.00

2019 Women’s CT Jeep Leaderboard
1 - Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 32,580 pts
2 - Carissa Moore (HAW) 31,175 pts
3 - Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 30,320 pts
4 - Courtney Conlogue (USA) 26,845 pts
5 - Lakey Peterson (USA) 26,050 pts
5 - Caroline Marks (USA) 26,050 pts

2019 Men’s CT Jeep Leaderboard
1 - John John Florence (HAW) 32,160 pts
2 - Kolohe Andino (USA) 27,760 pts
3 - Filipe Toledo (BRA) 27,195 pts
4 - Jordy Smith (ZAF) 26,045 pts
5 - Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 24,705 pts

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