SUNSET BEACH, Oahu, Hawaii, USA (Sunday, February 11, 2024) - Filipe Toledo (BRA), reigning two-time World Champion, today announced his withdrawal from the remainder of the World Surf League (WSL) 2024 Championship Tour (CT) season to take a one-year mental health break from competition.
Toledo shared insights into his decision in the following statement:
"It is with a heavy heart that I announce today that I am withdrawing for the remainder of the 2024 Championship Tour season. This decision has been so hard for me to make, and it comes after days of discussion with those closest to me. The WSL has been very supportive, and I am very grateful that they have granted me the wildcard for the start of the 2025 season. I am committed to coming back better than ever.
"In the past, I have been honest about some of my challenges not only with injuries, but also with mental health. Competing at the highest level for the past decade has taken a toll on me, and I need a break to recover for the next chapter of my career.
"The platform of the CT has given me everything - it is a dream life that has allowed me to support my family in ways I could never imagine and have incredible experiences. I love this. I live for this. I have so much respect for my fellow competitors, both the men and the women on tour. You guys are amazing.
"I have so much passion for the sport, but I need some time off to fully recover so I can come back stronger than ever. I appreciate the support and loyalty of my family, friends, sponsors, and the WSL. I hope my fans around the world understand this decision and will stick with me when I return to the tour next year. I wish my fellow competitors a great CT season ahead. I will be watching!"
Toledo will receive the 2025 Season Wildcard, which will allow him to compete in the 2025 CT season.
"The commitment and dedication involved in competing at the highest level can be all-consuming," said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL Chief of Sport. "We support Filipe's decision to prioritize his mental and physical health as he takes a step back. We hope he has the time and space to recover this year and look forward to seeing him back amongst the world's best via the WSL CT wildcard in 2025."
The first Brazilian surfer to win back-to-back World Titles, Toledo earned 17 Championship Tour event wins since first joining in 2013 at the age of 17, four of those victories coming in 2023.
Toledo's withdrawal opens the door for Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) to compete in all the upcoming CT events before the Mid-Season Cut, providing a strong chance for the 30-year-old Moroccan to solidify his position on the CT.
Boukhiam is the first North African surfer to qualify for the CT after he battled for over a decade to earn his spot. Unfortunately, Boukhiam withdrew from the 2023 season after sustaining an ankle injury but was awarded the WSL Replacement slot for 2024.
Boukhiam upset defending event winner Jack Robinson (AUS) in the first event of the season, the Lexus Pipe Pro, during his first CT appearance since a wildcard opportunity in 2013. Widely respected for an uncompromising technique, especially on his backhand, the strong goofy-footer will head into the coming events carrying high hopes on his shoulders.
The Hurley Pro Sunset Beach holds a competition window from Monday, February 12 through Thursday, February 22, 2024. The competition will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and the free WSL app. For fans watching in the United States, coverage of the competition's Quarterfinals and beyond will continue on WorldSurfLeague.com and ESPN+.