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The tale of David and Goliath rarely applies to surfing. Most surfers are Davids — compact, lightweight, small — like Monster Energy team rider Filipe Toledo. But once in a blue moon comes a Goliath, like Willian Cardoso, who looks like he belongs in a rugby jersey rather than a surf singlet. The two Brazilians found themselves in the final of the Vans US Open of Surfing on Sunday and biblical fans everywhere wondered if history would repeat itself; if little could beat big. While Willian unleashed bullish power hacks on Huntington Beach’s meek waves, Filipe started throwing proverbial stones (but literal tails). The flyweight took to the air and put together his best heat of an already stellar event, ending the final with a 17.56 heat total. “I just took my game to the air so I could do what I love, and it worked,” said an elated Toledo, still just 18 years old. He had toppled Goliath and won $100,000 in the process, and while he mentioned nothing of his victory celebration, we know a guy who’d be a perfect bouncer.
There have been six events in the Women’s WCT this year and Monster Energy’s Tyler Wright has made the Final in half of them. In the first two, she lost to current ratings leader Carissa Moore. Her third time in the Final, against Stephanie Gilmore at the US Open of Surfing on Sunday, would be her charm. So charming, in fact, that she’d beat Carissa Moore along the way, 15.93 to 11.93 in the Quarterfinals. Just a little sugar on top. Tyler surfed loose and fast the entire event, reminding the hundreds of thousands of people on the beach that she is the most versatile woman on a surfboard. She even stomped one of the airs of the event — men’s and women’s. Her come-from-behind victory over Gilmore in the Final netted her $60,000 and a bump to third-place in the overall ratings. And while third time might be a charm for event wins, third place in the world is not, and Tyler will carry the momentum into the back half of the year, eyes locked on the number one.