Filipe Toledo and Stephanie Gilmore crowned 2022 world surfing champions
Filipe Toledo and Stephanie Gilmore have won the 2022 2022 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour titles at Lower Trestles, California.
The Rip Curl WSL Finals got underway in stellar four-to-six-foot surf in the iconic California cobblestone break near San Clemente.
The clean conditions on offer allowed the top 5 male and female surfers to unleash their talent and skills in the famous high-performance wave.
It was a special day for Toledo and Gilmore.
The Brazilian won his maiden world title; the Australian won her eighth trophy and became the most successful female surfer in history.
The new finals format ran for the second time at Trestles and saw the number one rated male and female surfer receive a bid directly into the title heat.
The remaining four surfers in each division entered the Rip Curl WSL Finals bracket based on their year-end rankings.
Interestingly, the newly crowned champions only needed two back-to-back heat wins to conquer the best-of-three title match.
A Dream For Toledo
The men's division saw a 27-year-old surfer realizing a longtime dream.
Arguably one of the world's best aerial surfers of the last decade, Filipe Toledo had never quite materialized his supremacy.
Now, the regular-footer from Ubatuba, who has already won 13 CT events, finally added a world title to his trophy room.
Despite the narrow score margins in his battles against his fellow countryman Italo Ferreira, Toledo managed to handle the pressure and cruise to victory.
"It doesn't get much better than this. This is for Brazil, my family, and all of you here, " the Brazilian world surfing champion said.
"First of all, I want to thank Jesus for what he did for all my life, the last week, and the entire year. I kept calm and collected with help from the guy up there."
"Last night, we had a moment with Pastor John, Terry, my wife, and the whole family. The two words that he gave to us were 'peace' and 'power.' And that's what I had all day."
Filipe Toledo traveled with his family to all events of the season, and their support paid off.
"Whoever is chasing your dreams, it does pay off. It's hard, you get tired, and there are a lot of ups and downs and bad thoughts, but we did it," concluded Toledo.
A New Record for Women's Surfing
In the women's division, Stephanie Gilmore wrote history for herself, her country, and the sport of surfing.
To put it simply, the Australian surfed five heats in one day against the world's top athletes and won them all.
Gilmore dispatched Brisa Hennessy, Tatiana Weston-Webb, and Johanne Defay before defeating five-time world champion Carissa Moore.
The natural footer from New South Wales chose the best waves and applied her signature power yet elegant turns to earn the top scores from the judging panel.
"There are no words to describe this feeling right now. I love this format because it puts pressure on you and under the pump," Gilmore expressed.
"I'm proud that I was able to make it past Brisa, Tatiana, and Johanne, all of the most incredible female surfers in the world."
"In my mind, Carissa is the real world champ this year. So I thought that, if it happens, it is cool because I'm out here against the greatest of all time."
The 34-year-old surfer won her maiden world title in her rookie season (2007) and became the first surfer (male or female) to do it.
Gilmore is now the second most successful competitive surfer of all time, second only to 11-time world champion Kelly Slater.
2022 Rip Curl WSL Finals | Results
Men's Match 1
Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.37 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 11.83
Men's Match 2
Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.10 DEF. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 11.83
Men's Match 3
Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.10 DEF. Jack Robinson (AUS) 4.30
Men's Title Match, Heat 1
Filipe Toledo (BRA 15.13 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.97
Men's Title Match, Heat 2
Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.50 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.93
Women's Match 1:
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.76 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 14.33
Women's Match 2
Stephanie Gilmore (USA) 15.30 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 14.87
Women's Match 3
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.83 DEF. Johanne Defay (FRA) 10.53
Women's Title Match, Heat 1
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.00 DEF. Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.90
Women's Title Match, Heat 2
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.23 DEF. Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.97