|Brazilians Strike On Opening Day with Electric Performances
Current World No. 1 Filipe Toledo (BRA) debuted with strength and laser focus to notch another Opening Round victory in his prolific 2022 season. The World Title contender’s signature forehand flair and power led the way against wildcard threat, local hero, Bryan Perez and CT veteran Nat Young (USA). Toledo’s affiliation with world-class right-handers is never in question with multiple wins at Jeffreys Bay, his win at this year’s Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, and 2015 win at Snapper Rocks, and he’s looking to add another big win to his resume at Punta Roca.
“I feel great, blessed, happy, and comfortable,” said Toledo. “It’s been quite a trip since G-Land. Got back home for a night then jump back in the plane to get here in El Salvador with only three or four days to set it up, and dealing with jet lag, and surf. It’s pretty crazy but it’s part of the game. I’m humbled to be here and in the position I’m at right now.”
Right behind Toledo, fellow Brazilians Gabriel Medina, Caio Ibelli, and Yago Dora took commanding Opening Round victories.
Dora missed the entirety of this season leading up to the Mid-season Cut and returned with a flurry. The injury replacement showed his explosive capabilities with jaw-dropping aerial antics to garner a near-perfect 9.00 and 5.27 to catapult his way into the Round of 16. Ethan Ewing (AUS) also put on an inspiring performance for a 14.00 heat total, but not enough to escape the Elimination Round.
“That was the most exciting thing that’s happened since my injury actually,” said Dora. “I’m just so happy right now coming back from an injury and landing an air like that, it feels amazing. Not even happy about that heat, just that air, even if I didn’t make the heat I’d be happy. When you’re injured you don’t know if you’re going to be doing one of these in your life, with a jersey on, it feels amazing. I hope to have a lot more good heats.”