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A Rematch for the Ages as Felipe Toledo Beats Griffin Colapinto at the El Salvador Pro

El Salvador Pro

They say that lightning never strikes twice, but if your name is Felipe Toledo, Griffin Colapinto, or the El Salvador Pro, that might not be true. Last year’s inaugural world tour contest at Punta Roca was dominated by the two high-speed, high-fi regularfoots. Felipe and Griffin met in the final, where Griff came out on top with a dominant performance in the head-high rights. Considering the conditions on offer in El Salvador this year, as well as Toledo and Colapinto’s pedigree in small right-hand point breaks and the fact that they came into the event ranked third and first on tour, respectively, the buzz around the contest site was all about how cool it would be to see another finals rematch between the two this year.

 

 

As the two surfers worked their way through opposite sides of the draw over the past week, the buzz got considerably louder—and by the time they were both seeded into opposite semifinals, the rematch felt all but inevitable. The Brazilian and American are arguably the two best in the world when it comes to high-performance surfing in head-high right-handers—lightning fast, tack sharp, and able to mix things up with a wide, spontaneous repertoire of futuristic maneuvers. So, when they faced off in the final, it was anyone’s game. Would it be the defending event champion from California—or the defending world champion from Brazil (who also happens to live in California)?

Interestingly, after virtually replicating the 2022 event with their finals clash, the boys ended up turning the entire thing on its head in the last 30 minutes. Whereas last year Griff was the event winner but came up short at the end of the year, this year it was Felipe who came out on top in El Salvador—but in doing so only moved up into second place on the ratings, whereas Griff maintained his spot atop the rankings. With three events left in the season, Colapinto has a slight advantage over Toledo (remember, the top-rated surfer in the Championship Event at Lower Trestles is automatically seeded into the three-heat final for the world title, whereas the second through fifth rated surfers have to surf their way through the field for a shot at the hardware. With seven events completed, the top five on the men’s side include Colapinto, Toledo, Joao Chianca, Ethan Ewing, and Gabriel Medina, who surfed his way up into fifth with a strong result here in El Salvador. Jack Robinson and John John Florence are just off the pace in sixth and seventh, respectively.

Over on the women’s side, it was American Caroline Marks who took out the win over two-time world champion Tyler Wright. But neither finalist was able to overcome Carissa Moore at the top of the ratings, after the Hawaiian locked in yet another strong result with a third-place finish in El Salvador. The top five on the women’s tour after seven events include Carissa Moore, Tyler Wright, Caroline Marks, Molly Picklum, and last year’s world champ Steph Gilmore.

 

The tour heads to the OI Rio Pro in Brazil later this month, then finishes with back-to-back dream tour events at Jeffreys Bay in July and Teahupoo in August.

Meanwhile, here in Hawaii, the Surf Into Summer event was completed yesterday, with former world tour competitor Keanu Asing beating Isaiah Moniz, Robert Grilho, and Kai Martin in a hard-fought final at Ala Moana Bowls for the win. The women’s event was won by Keala Tomoda-Bannert, who beat out Eweleiula Wong, Moana Jones Wong, and Puamakamae DeSoto.