- WSL / Cait Miers

He missed out on Olympic selection and was tipped as a future world champion, but after a couple of quiet seasons, and 2020 spent at home, Filipe Toledo almost fell off the radar.

His countrymen, Italo Ferreira and Gabriel Medina, have soaked up much of the attention with the pair locked in a tight World Title race in 2019 and Ferreira's maiden World Title at the Billabong Pipe Masters.

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Toledo's breakout year came in 2015 when he won three events and finished fourth on the WSL Leaderboard. In 2019, he battled for the World Title at Pipeline, finishing the season again at number four in the world.

He stumbled out of the gates in 2021, finishing 17th at the Pipe Master. However, an exceptional campaign at the recent Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona saw the 25-year-old from Ubatuba, Brazil, land a Semifinals berth, elevating his position to number seven on the rankings.

Toledo proved in Newcastle he is still one of the most lethal competitors on tour. Reacting to his buzzer-beater Semifinal victory against Conner Coffin with a lion roar was demonstrative of exactly how badly he wants to be back in the winner's circle.

NEWCASTLE, AUS - APRIL 10: Filipe Toledo of Brazil of Brazil surfing in Heat 4 of Quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona on April 10, 2021 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Matt Dunbar/World Surf League via Getty Images) Filipe Toledo flying above the inside shorebreak in Newcastle. - WSL / Matt Dunbar

Despite falling short to eventual event winner Ferreira, Toledo appears to have found that same fire that set alight his previous Title campaigns. While we can be forgiven for counting him now as an underdog, perhaps the label will shield him from any added scrutiny.

And with the recent event announcement for the third leg of the 2021 season and a World Title showdown set to go down at the Rip Curl WSL Finals at Trestles, you could say 2021 has never been more suited for Toledo to fulfill his destiny.

Possessing a devastating air game and a reputation as one of the most dangerous, if not the best, small-wave surfer on the Championship Tour, he is just as lethal above or below the lip.

NEWCASTLE, AUS - APRIL 1: Filipe Toledo of Brazil surfing in Heat 2 of Round 1 of the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona on April 1, 2021 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Cait Miers/World Surf League via Getty Images) With a good result in the first stop of the Australian leg, Toledo and the Brazil crew are having a good time Down Under. - WSL / Cait Miers

He also knows how to win having won eight CT events including, J-Bay, Brazil, Snapper Rocks, Portugal and Trestles. With that track record, he remains a scary opponent to draw at either end of an event.

As we countdown to the next Australian leg event at Narrabeen in just a few days, Toledo will be out for redemption and looking to further stake a claim on a Championship Tour victory in 2021 and berth in a world title play-off.

At Newcastle, the Brazilian mostly opted for his gouging hooks and rail game instead of his signature above-the-lip antics. But if he wants to catch his peers he may need to dig deep into his arsenal and show us his whole bag of tricks.

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