Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal

Toledo Wins Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal, Rises to World No. 2

Anna Dimond

Highlights: Toledo Soars to Win at Supertubos
Catch the best of the final day of action of the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Event Site
Heats On Demand: Heat Analyzer | Score-by-Score Recap Videos
Recap: Round 1 | Round 2, Heats 1-7 | Round 3, Heats 1-12 & Round 4, Heats 1-2 | Round 4, Heats 3-4 & Round 5, Heats 1-2
Complete Results

Filipe Toledo (BRA) flew, hacked and spun his way to winning the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal, his third Championship Tour (CT) win of the season. The win pushes him up in the Jeep rankings to No. 2, overtaking Adriano de Souza (BRA) and sitting just 200 points behind World No. 1 Mick Fanning (AUS).

Toledo handled the confounding conditions in Peniche with panache: Where some surfers saw dying inside sections, he saw a spot to spin; where some were crushed by heaving waves that closed down, Toledo made the drops; and in the Final, where he faced an on-fire Italo Ferreira (BRA), Toledo performed under pressure, scoring a 10-point ride along the way.

Toledo's Perfection in Portugal Final
The Brazilian phenom has already earned a number of 10-point rides in 2015. During the Final in Peniche, he added another to list.

It wasn't an easy feat: Supertubos was a fickle beast Friday, and the World Surf League Commissioners and athletes made the most of powerful, unpredictable conditions. Here's what you missed:

1. Medina Is Still Winning, Until He's Losing. And He's Now World No. 4

Gabriel Medina (BRA), doing his best to find some alone time before his Round 5 heat at the 2015 Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Gabriel Medina, trying to be alone in a crowd. - WSL / Poullenot/Aquashot

In case there were any doubters during the most-of-the-year slump, the man who won the first CT World Title for Brazil isn't done yet. Despite difficult conditions, little alone-time (see right) and a shot at stealing the No. 1 spot from Mick Fanning (AUS) (again), Gabriel Medina (BRA) powered his way to a Round 5 win over Tour rookie Keanu Asing (HAW). Amid choppy, heavy conditions, scores stayed relatively low, but Medina was just a few steps ahead the entire way.

Ferreira Scores Big Over Medina
Italo Ferreira dropped into a rare tube in the Quarterfinals at the Moche Rip Curl Pro, battling back in the heat with a 9.67.

But not long after those moments of brilliance, Medina was beat at his own game. In the Quarterfinals, following a 6-hour hold to let the tide fill in, he was up against another rookie, fellow Brazilian Italo Ferreira (BRA). Taking a page out of the World Champ's book, Ferreira climbed back after 15 minutes with a powerful barrel that scored him a 9.67. He followed it up with a huge, Medina-esque air-reverse for an 8.60 and called it a heat. Medina was booked on an 8 p.m. flight out of Portugal, now as World No. 4 on the Jeep rankings, and optimistic about his next contests.

2. Here Comes the Portuguese Tempest

Earlier in the contest, injury replacement surfer and Cascais local Frederico Morais (PRT) was the object of fan fervor when he took down Fanning. Throughout the day Friday, though, it was Vasco Ribeiro who carried the Portuguese torch.

Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) smashes the lip in the Semifinals. Vasco Ribeiro slices into Peniche in the Semifinals. - WSL / Poullenot/Aquashot

No, he didn't make the Final, but he was the first wildcard to make the Semifinals since 2012, when Dane Reynolds made them at the Quiksilver Pro France. Plus, Ribeiro took down some of surfing's best on his way there, including defeating Jeremy Flores (FRA), Michel Bourez (PYF) and Adriano de Souza (BRA). He earned an equal third in his first-ever Championship Tour (CT) appearance.

If nothing else, he and Morais made a huge statement for Portuguese surfing. As Morais said on the broadcast, they're part of the new generation of the country's surf community. What he didn't say was that you'll probably be seeing a lot more of them in years to come.

3. Brett Simpson Can Compete Well When He Wants To

Simpson vs. Toledo
Watch Filipe Toledo and Brett Simpson challenge each other for a spot into the Final of the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal.

It's been a red-letter event for California surfer Brett Simpson (USA). After a year that saw him sink to No. 34 on the Jeep Leaderboard - well below the line that would ensure him a job next year - he arrived in Portugal and conquered some competitive demons: He took down Kelly Slater (USA), then Nat Young (USA) and finally Morais, the local hero.

"I think just getting through some heats was a big confidence boost, maybe especially that first one with Parko (Joel Parkinson) where I was behind," Simpson said on Finals day. "It's pretty fatiguing surfing these conditions day in and day out. I physically felt great and my surfing has been there for a while, I just wasn't making a lot of those close heats. I will probably need a huge result in Hawaii to requalify, but at least with this event I've given myself a chance and I'm excited about that."

4. Toledo Won, But He Isn't the Only Guy Who Can Fly

Ferreira Lands Huge Punt in Peniche
Italo Ferreira did a massive backside air reverse for a 9.93 to battle back into the event Final.

While Toledo won the event, proving his determination and pole-vaulting right into the red-hot World Title race, Ferreira proved Friday that he can boost with the best of them. Not just in freesurfs for hordes of cameras, but when it really counts. Case in point: This massive air-reverse that earned him a 9.93 in the Final. It was something of a repeat of what helped him beat Medina, and matched Toledo's gameplan, too.

Catch the world's best next at the final event of the year, the Billabong Pipe Masters.