Fresh off the plane to Hawaii yesterday team Tracks ran straight into world title contender, Filipe Toledo. The whippet framed flyer was, rockin’ boardies and no shirt, enjoying the ‘grindz’ at North Shore institution Ted’s bakery. *Ted’s, located just up the road from Sunset, is the kind of honest, unpretentious eatery where you can smash a plate lunch with meat and two generous scoops of rice for under ten bucks.

Like the setting, Toledo looked relaxed, flanked by a crew (some looked related) of four who all boasted Toledo tattoos. When you are on the cusp of greatness and barely a dozen good waves away from becoming the world champion your entourage is a big deal. Do they wrap you in a bubble and resonate the intensity of a team of snarling pit-bulls or do they keep the positive talk flowing and the vibe upbeat?

Last year the brooding focus of Medina’s step-dad, Charlie, was an interesting sideshow in Gabriel’s victory. Any time the young Medina, whose profile grew to pop star proportions over the year, looked like deviating from his world title path, serious Charlie was there to steer him back on course. He famously told Tracks that his Pipeline Masters psyche up speech to Gabriel included the line, “Gabriel forget the chickas for now.”

The Ed and world title condender, Filipe Toledo, throwing shakas at North Shore insitution Ted's Bakery. The Ed and world title condender, Filipe Toledo, throwing shakas at North Shore insitution Ted's Bakery.

As for Toledo’s gang, the atmosphere seemed distinctly jocular. The banter flowed freely and the easy conversation was punctuated by regular laughter. I don’t speak Portuguese so I have no idea what they were talking about but the tone was definitely one of relaxed confidence. Filipe was happy to pose for photos, fill us in on what the surf had been like and ask us about our plans for

our trip. He still had the Sunset event to contest and it seemed that he had made the decision to stay outwardly focused on friends and heats rather than become consumed by thoughts of winning the title.

While Filipe and his air show antics are extremely popular with the Brazilian youth there will be a soccer crowd of South Americans on the beach at Pipe in a week’s time and they have three fellow countrymen contending the title. It’s going to be interesting to see whether the biggest cheers are reserved for the proven champ, Gabriel Medina, the long suffering, Adriano De Souza, or the kid who ate too many jumping beans, Filipe Toledo. One thing’s for sure, they won’t be cheering for Mick Fanning and in terms of vocal supporters on the beach Mick’s camp will be dwarfed by the Brazilian masses.

*The local Mahi Mahi (fish) is probably the pick of the meat. A Mahi Mahi sandwich at Ted’s makes you feel capable of tackling 15 ft Sunset. Ted’s is also world famous for its sweet pies. Even the strictest, low carb, low sugar devotees would struggle to go without at least one piece of Ted’s pie during their stay. Try saying no to Pineapple macadamia, blubbery cream or even the most famous of Ted’s pies

The Pumpkin Pie.

Filipe Toledo, 2014-15 from ENCYCLOPEDIA of SURFING videos on Vimeo.