It wasn't until he had secured the win that we learned this was actually a triumph over some trying personal circumstances.
And it was almost poetic that he picked his home-turf event to pull out all the stops -- no wonder his victory celebration was so emotional, against the backdrop of thousands of adoring countryman, replete with brasilian flags aflutter in the sea breeze.
He was on fire, in the sort of waves that showcase his speed and flair. All this culminated in the now iconic image of the three-time Rio champ on a jetski taking a victory lap in front of the screaming masses. You don't get that energy anywhere else on Tour.
And how did he get on top of the proverbial podium? He bested Kelly Slater in the Quarter Final, then put in a show against Frederico Morais in the Semis, followed by huge performance against Jordy Smith in which he racked up an 18.04 heat total.
"Once I get into the Quarters and Semis, it's like something clicks in my head, especially here in Brasil," said Toledo at the time. "The crowd just gets me pumped and I just want to do my best. But it's so hard, surfing can be anybody's game."
"A lot of people don't know, but I've been going through a very difficult year personally. It's been tough to concentrate on doing what I love most, but the crowd is what pulled me through and I'm eternally grateful," he said.
When all was said and done, he had reaffirmed his position as one of the most dangerous competitors on tour, thanks in no small part to that home crowd.