Oi Rio Pro

Does Progression Belong in Pro Surfing?

As the Championship Tour moves from the the punchy beachbreaks of the Oi Rio Pro to the potentially hollow tubes of Fiji's Cloudbreak, fans here have been debating what progression's place should be in pro surfing.

For some of you, the type of airs that saw Filipe Toledo (BRA) soar to the top in Rio are a snooze-fest: Only places with heavy waves like those in Fiji, Tahiti and Hawaii have merit as elite Tour venues. To others, that kind of high-performance surfing matters too: You can't call yourself the best in the world if you can't make the unpredictable sections of a beachbreak look like gold. As the pros prepare to take on heavy reefbreaks at the Fiji Pro, here's what fans are saying.

(Editor's note: Some comments have been trimmed for brevity, but otherwise they appear as posted, with no edits for grammar or spelling.)

View 1: Progressive Playgrounds Matter

Toledo's Perfect 10
Does this maneuver into a seamless turn count as contest-worthy?

Daniel Canto:
Some people say that progressive surf is not surf? WHAT?? So, if developing the sport is not a good way to make it bigger, perhaps they should forbidde slam dunks in basketball... or maybe goalkeepers in soccer, shouldn´t take freekicks...the brazilian storm are making surf much more interersting than it was a few years back, with only cutbacks, floaters, and stuff. Long live to progressive surf and this Brazilian Storm!!!! #GO77

Renato Eckel:
Impressive performance from Toledo, again. Perhaps WSL should simple give the 10.000 points of Trestle event and just move on to the next stop, because, really, anyone doubt that Toledo will win there anyway? Lol, just kidding. ALOHA

MichelAngelo BuonaRoti:
Degree of difficulty is a key criteria also. Denying that an air reverse is a more complex maneuver to execute is delusional. This type of surfing demands high speed and control. ... I saw Filipe gaining high scoring due to traditional surfing at Snappers. (check out the final recap).

Rebecca Mead:
I agree with someonelses comment before if WCT was only perfect big waves, do it all in Indo or Hawaii...congrats to WSL for putting such great venue in RIO....that's great effort to surf reaching another level, surf is global and fun!!

View 2: Big Boosts Are Boring

Rio: Final Day Highlights
The highlights from the final day of competition in Rio had fans raving. What's your reaction?

Michiel Bertou:
Ridiculous , this is surfing ? I wanna see life threathening barrels . Somebody who is prepared to put bis life on à line to score big points ! No skateboarding flicks without Wheels !?

Shane Reed:
Was that in New Jersey? At least there was some head high waves but kinda dumpy looking. And can we get an air with a grab or something? The...same air reverse is boring looking. You can only watch someone dunk a basketball so many times. Yaaawwwwnnnn..........

Reece Goodsell:
Thought it was a expression session one manoeuvre per wave after the first air reverse they all look the same no variety. Very boring to watch

Nicholas Tee:
[Toledo's] moves might have some functionalty in a skatepark, but little or none in proper waves. ...Congratulations to Toledo for his skills, good on him, but c'mon, we really should seeking progressive innovation that improves a good surfer to being able to ride a quality wave with functional manoevers.

Michael Ant:
Personally I laugh at it because I remember guys like Fletcher boosting huge airs back in the late 80's and people would say, 'oh he is just an air guy' but today it gets you a 9.5 score and a heat win. ...Regardless I like Toledo and congratulate him on winning, he seems like the coolest of the Brazilian's. In terms of the contests though ... I want to see those big power turns and barrels!

View 3: I'll Take My Airs and Big Waves, Too

Air Medina
No matter your position on the role of progression in pro surfing, you can still have fun flying. Strider Wasilewski shows how it's done.

Jeff Hanson
i know the waves in brazil arent perfection when you compare it to somewhere like fiji or tahiti. but that contest is so important in surfing right now. surfings new blood is coming, and they are coming from brazil. to be a world champ you must be able to surf huge barrels in perfect waves, i agree, but you must also be able to tear it up in 2 foot beach breaks too. ...the 10 filepe got in the final was a rotation we are all getting used to seeing, but what sets that wave apart from others was the landing, pure progression.

Joao MA
At the moment in beachbreaks and head high point-breaks Toledo is setting the bar for the rest of the tour. Lets see how he does in heavy tubes. Medina was also a beachbreak master but progressed into a very good heavy tube rider. Toledo will probably improve there as well.

Nick Dee:
Toledo at Ballito In South Africa last year or the year before was doing massive airs on double overhead powerful waves. It was heavy. Felipe has the heart of a lion; so much courage. He should do very well at J-Bay since he can control his speed & turns on the face so well, particularly if J-Bay is smallish and fast. As for the big surf, Felipe is only a small guy so give him some time to learn and charge Pipe like Michael Ho did when was young and small.

Harry Handy:
A well rounded game is essential. ...I, for one, can't wait to see some flimsy trick flicker riding the express elevator to the flats with a lip in his chest, or hopelessly flapping 20' in front of the pocket at JBay. Water is going to find it's own level. Progressive surfing is here to stay, but the judges are still rewarding power surfing. I like it all...

Julien Beausoleil:
What makes surf a unique sport is that it's not only technical, but artistic. Some surfers on the tour have a such a unique style, so recognisable ...I'm not an air hater, but I think, like some other radical tricks, that it's great when it ponctuates a great wave and great manouvers before that...

Catch Toledo and the rest of the world's best take on tubes in paradise at the Fiji Pro LIVE on the World Surf League website June 7 - 19.