Filipe Toledo And Caroline Marks Crowned World Champions At The Rip Curl WSL Finals
12 September 2023
Back-to-back World Titles for Toledo as Marks makes her mark at the Rip Curl WSL Finals.
The 2023 Championship Tour season is in the rearview after the ultimate day in competitive surfing saw Caroline Marks and Filipe Toledo rise above the rest to claim World Title glory. Solid, four-to-six-foot swell pulsed through the iconic lineup of Lower Trestles to provide a canvas for the final showdown of the 2023 season to determine our men’s and women’s World Champions. Maiden World Title celebrations ensued for the unstoppable backhand of Caroline Marks, while Filipe Toledo made history as the first Brazilian to earn back-to-back World Titles after a dominant display of high-performance surfing. Carissa Moore's redemption road fell just short to Marks before a dream run for Ethan Ewing carried him to his first World Title showdown despite dealing with a back injury.
The day kicked off with World No 4 Molly Picklum and World No 5 Caitlin Simmers in Match One of the Rip Curl WSL Finals. With almost 20 minutes going by without a single wave ridden, it was Simmers that took the first wave, closely followed by Picklum. Molly took the lead with a 6.17, while Simmers answered back with a 7.00. It was wave for wave in the final minutes, with our youngest surfer on tour dropping an 8.17 and getting the heat win, and meeting Caroline Marks in match two.
In the first men’s match of the day, it was World No. 4 Joao Chianca up against World No. 5 Jack Robinson. A back-and-forth affair, it was Robinson who got going early, but Chianca found his groove with strong, progressive surfing. In a heat full of excellent scores and lots of action, it was Chianca edging over Australia’s Jack Robinson, moving onto match two against World No. 3 Ethan Ewing.
Match two kicked off for Caitlin Simmers and Caroline Marks with more than ‘just’ a World Title on the line, with whoever winning the match-up also securing the second position for USA Olympic qualification. With so much to surf for, both surfers gave it everything they had. In the end, it was San Clemente local Caroline Marks who moved onto match three against 2x World Surfing Champion Tyler Wright.
Recovering from a back injury sustained in Tahiti, World No. 3 Ethan Ewing was in doubt to even compete in the event, despite the surfing world doubting his participation, Ewing looked stronger than ever, dominating match two with his signature rail game.
2x World Surfing Champion Tyler Wright officially began her campaign to win a third title. Coming up against Caroline Marks, Tyler kicked off the heat with a 7.17, closely followed by an 8.00 by Marks. In a wave for wave affair, it was Caroline Marks who continued the momentum, putting Wright in a combination and booking a spot in the World Title match against World No. 1 Carissa Moore.
Home town hero Griffin Colapinto had the whole town of San Clemente behind him in match three against Ethan Ewing. Both fighting for a spot in the World Title match against World No. 1 Filipe Toledo, Ewing went excellent with his first wave, while Colapinto took advantage of both lefts and rights putting strong scores on the board. In a similar nature to Caroline, Ewing continued his dominance from third position on the rankings, despite a charging Colapinto.
The stage was set for the World Title matches. Carissa Moore versus Caroline Marks, in a best of three fight for a chance to be World Champion. Marks continued her strong, event-long performance, using her local knowledge and sharp back-hand to gain an advantage over the 5x World Surfing Champion. Taking complete control in both heats, the 21 year-old dominated, claiming her first World Surfing Title.
“It's so inspiring to have my name on that list. It's been a goal of mine since I started surfing. Super happy, I feel really grateful, I just wanted to have fun today. Huge respect to Carissa, it was a dream of mine to be in the final with her. I had a special day with the ocean, wow it feels so good.” - Caroline Marks
The Filipe Toledo versus Ethan Ewing finale did not disappoint. Both surfers came firing out of the gates, securing excellent scores early, Toledo with a 9.00 and Ewing a 8.50 to kick off match one. Heat totals exceeded 17.00 in what was an action packed heat, Toledo’s progressive and innovative maneuvers gave him the edge and the win. Toledo backed up his efforts in match two, but not without a fight from Ewing. Until the very last minute Ewing needed just a 6.60 to surpass Toledo, but with priority and a quite ocean, Filipe Toledo claimed back-to-back World Titles!
“It’s so hard to put into words what it takes for me to be here right now. A lot of sacrifice to be honest. I knew in the long run this was going to pay off. This is a dream come true. I don’t think there is a Brazilian to make back to back, we are making history.” - Filipe Toledo