Read the Recaps: Women's Round 1, Rounds 2, 3, and 4 | Men's Round 1, Round 2, Rounds 3, 4, and 5, Quarterfinals
Full Results: Women's | Men's
Watch Wave-by-Wave, Condensed Heat Recaps: Women's | Men's
In a week that saw mind-blowing acrobatics and an unprecedented shakeup in final heats, the final day of the Oi Rio Pro and Oi Rio Women's Pro was the crescendo of it all: Massive crowds packed Barra da Tijuca, while the final rounds saw several surfers break through for the first time this year. When it was all over, Courtney Conlogue (USA) and Filipe Toledo (BRA) were at the top, raising trophies to adoring fans. It's the second victory for each of them this year, and both shot further up the Jeep rankings to No. 2.
Brazil was overwhelmingly defined by the Tempestade Brasileiro, underdogs and pure fandom. Massive crowds packed in for the contests' last day, and they were treated to several breakout performances.
The door that reigning World Champion Stephanie Gilmore's (AUS) absence left open was wider than ever, and the impact was especially acute for Carissa Moore (HAW). In yet another shocking upset, the Hawaiian charger didn't make a Final -- her first time missing one since October 2014. She went down to South African Bianca Buitendag, who had found a new competitive gear in Rio. When asked what she attributed to her newfound mojo, Buitendag was humble.
"I think God is my strength, whether I'm winning or losing," she said. "He's amazing, and he blows my mind every day. My mom and my auntie are here with me, and we are blessed beyond measure at the moment."
The second women's Semi was more evenly matched, with powerhouses Courtney Conlogue (USA) and Tyler Wright (AUS) facing off. Both surfers made the most of Postinho's punchy, small-scale waves, but the conditions didn't bring out the best in either of them. They scratched and hacked and battled their way through, but it was Conlogue who emerged triumphant, thanks to an opening 6.33 that backed her up amid middling scores.
But in the Final there was a clear winner from the start. Despite the new level that Buitendag brought to Rio, it was Conlogue's crowning moment, carrying winning momentum from Margaret River to the beachbreak at Barra. As the South African tallied one small score after another, Conlogue found a pair of waves in the seven-point range. Her win signals not only a personal triumph, but a shift at the top of the women's ranks that has been long overdue. Long locked up by a consistent four -- Gilmore, Wright, Moore and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) -- Conlogue's victory and Buitendag's Final appearance are fantastic steps forward for the Top 17.
The men's Semifinals featured faceoffs between pair of Brazilians and a pair of Australians. The Filipe Toledo (BRA) show continued to deliver innovative gold, with gem after gem of inspired, above-the-lip surfing. His opponent, rookie Italo Ferreira (BRA), was no slouch: The dark horse found eight waves in 30 minutes, but ultimately didn't find the magic he'd shown in previous rounds. Toledo flew to the win and into the loving arms of his fans.
Bede Durbidge (AUS) and Matt Wilkinson (AUS) battled next. Durbidge, who, like Buitendag, has found a new electricity in his performances this year, won with a pair of scores in the seven-point range.
The men's Final only reinforced the tectonic shift taking place in professional surfing. Durbidge threw the first air, and got some crowd appreciation. But the waving flags, the foam fingers, and the serious chanting were all for one man: Toledo. His first throw-tail reverse earned him huge applause. His next move, a full rotation to a set of elegant, inside turns, earned him a perfect score, a buckled board, and renewed devotion from the beach.
As Joe Turpel said, "Toledo's breaking the mold as we speak."
And Toledo's numbers did the talking. He comboed Durbidge in the first 10 minutes of the Final, leaving the veteran Aussie looking for two new scores. And the mouth-dropping maneuvers just kept on coming: By the halfway point, Toledo had a throwaway 8.33, with an 18.53 total to the Aussie's 12.67.
It's not like Durbidge sat and watched. After a few mistakes, he found a solid runner, attacking the wave with skill on his backhand. He earned a 7.60, but it wasn't enough to start a climb out of the combo. His final wave, another air, saw him smile on the landing, fully aware of the national pride that ruled the day.
With a final scoreline of 19.87 (out of a possible 20), Toledo literally soared to his win.
"The first thing I did was crying, because look at the crowd," he told Rosy Hodge from the back of a ski. "I've never seen such a blessed week. Such blessed friends and family. I need to be grateful for everything God has done in my life."
Catch Toledo, Conlogue and the rest of the world's best competing next in Fiji. Tune in LIVE daily for the Fiji Women's Pro from May 31 - June 5, and the Fiji Pro June 7 - 19. Watch the action anywhere with the WSL App.