Filipe Toledo didn't lose a heat on his road to victory at the Oi Rio Pro. While several of the top Brazilian surfers fell victim to rookies (or perhaps the pressure of the crowd), Toledo's energy seemed to grow with every wave. All the elements of his game seemed finely tuned throughout the event -- chief among them, the boards under his feet.
Even his equipment malfunction was impressive. Upon boosting for a 10-point ride in the Final, Toledo buckled his signature model, the Holy Toledo, and turned to his trusted OK model as a backup. Despite the mid-heat switch-up, he went on earn a 9.87. But that was no accident: Over the last few years, Marcio Zouvi of Sharp Eye Surfboards has worked closely with Toledo, developing two boards that have carried the Brazilian to three victories in as many months. Zouvi shared his insights on what it's like to shape for the No. 2 surfer in the world.
World Surf League: It looked like Toledo used his magic board from the Gold Coast as his backup?
Marcio Zouvi: The OK model he used in the Final of the Oi Rio Pro was a duplicate of the Gold Coast, a 5'9" x 18.25" x 2.25" round tail, 24 liters. He painted it exactly the same design as the Snapper board. I think it was a mental thing.
WSL: Filipe broke two boards in one heat -- how many boards does he typically go through in a year?
Zouvi: Last year we made a little over 60 boards.
WSL: It looked like mayhem trying to get his backup board out through the crowd on the beach. Do you know where the boards ended up?
Zouvi: The OK got stolen on the beach and the Holy Toledo was given away by mistake. I heard the guy sold it on the same day for 10K Brazilian Real.
WSL: Filipe gets a lot of pop when he does airs. What is it about the tail design allows him to get that momentum off the water?
Zouvi: Filipe generates a lot of speed off of his turns and bottom turns. I think that is why he launches so easily. We do have some secrets that I think might make a difference, but I can't tell you. Ha, ha.
WSL: How often do boards crease when landing on the flats, as Filipe sometimes did in Rio?
Zouvi: Very often. We have almost 70 percent of the boards getting creased after a while.
WSL: Shaper's often glass lighter for team riders, which can lead to more broken boards. How does lighter glassing add or alter a board's overall performance?
Zouvi: It is a major factor. Filipe likes his 5'8" and 5'9" at 5.25 pounds. His 5'10" and 5'11" at 5.6lbs. We've done some boards under 5 pounds and he didn't like them as much. Filipe has been increasing his leg strength lately, so the super-light boards don't feel right anymore.
WSL: How will his quiver change for Fiji? What types of boards will he be taking with him?
Zouvi: He will take the OK model from 5'10" to 6'0", all round tails and semi-gun models from 6'1" to 6'8", all round pins. All glassed a bit heavier.