There's a phrase at the poker table called "heating up." A guy keeps getting dealt better and better hands. The same phrase is used in sports, too, for pro basketball players on the court that continually build on their performances within a timeframe during a game.
But does greatness really snowball like that or do some athletes just get really, really comfortable?
Regardless, in Heat 11 of Round One, Filipe Toledo heated up to some molten-level degrees we may not have ever seen in our sport. At least in waves equal to what was offered up at Winkipop today.
Starting off calm and collected, Filipe caught a few deep ones at Winkipop, perhaps just to test the waters, so to speak. Air to carve combos aren't uncommon for Filipe, but by the middle of the heat, his high-8's became throwaway scores. As in, he burned a 8.93 and an 8.17.
Though Conner Coffin and Bede Durbidge - both amazing natural footers suited for Winkipop's perfect righthanders - were also in the heat, Filipe entered a place where he was essentially competing against himself.
As if his 8.93 wasn't sturdy enough, he bagged a 9.70, and in the closing minute of the heat, scored a perfect 10.
"I finished so far down the point I didn't really know what the score was and I asked someone and they were like, ‘It was a 10!' and I was like, ‘WHAT?!'" laughed Toledo. "I wasn't even sure it was going to be a 10 because it was a smaller wave, but I did do everything I could on it. I was just happy to make it through, but also happy to be surfing such perfect waves."
With a 19.70-point heat total, it'll be interesting to see what Toledo's approach will be in Round Three. Perhaps, just surf in a short-arm steamer so he doesn't over-heat?
Never one to shy away from hyperbole, former World Champion Barton Lynch weighed in with this: "He just built the heat so well. He started it good and then just put himself in the position where he could let those fireworks go. He just built and built and let himself go."
"It's as good a performance as I've ever seen, I reckon. It was just incredibly managed, and athletically, it was beyond my comprehension."
A reckoning of a heat, indeed.