Filipe Toledo, reigning two-time World Champion, has announced his withdrawal from the remainder of the World Surf League (WSL) 2024 Championship Tour (CT) season to take a one-year mental health break from competition.
The Brazilian surfer, known for his lightning-fast maneuvers and dominance over the past two seasons, cited the need to prioritise his mental health after a decade of high-pressure competition. With this decision, the 28 year old joins fellow big names in Australia’s Stephanie Gilmore and Hawaiian Carissa Moore in taking the year off.
In a statement, Brazilian surfer said: “In the past, I have been honest about some of my challenges not only with injuries, but also with mental health. Competing at the highest level for the past decade has taken a toll on me, and I need a break to recover for the next chapter of my career.”
“The platform of the CT has given me everything – it is a dream life that has allowed me to support my family in ways I could never imagine and have incredible experiences. I love this. I live for this. I have so much respect for my fellow competitors, both the men and the women on tour. You guys are amazing.”
“I have so much passion for the sport, but I need some time off to fully recover so I can come back stronger than ever. I appreciate the support and loyalty of my family, friends, sponsors, and the WSL. I hope my fans around the world understand this decision and will stick with me when I return to the tour next year. I wish my fellow competitors a great CT season ahead. I will be watching!”
Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL Chief of Sport, said: "The commitment and dedication involved in competing at the highest level can be all-consuming. We support Filipe’s decision to prioritise his mental and physical health as he takes a step back. We hope he has the time and space to recover this year and look forward to seeing him back amongst the world’s best via the WSL CT wildcard in 2025."
Toledo has already qualified for the Brazilian team for the Paris Olympics, although he didn’t address whether he planned to compete. It will take place at the infamous Teahupo'o break in Tahiti. This venue is notable for its large, barreling waves, which critics have pointed out as a weakness in Toledo's otherwise formidable repertoire. Toledo recorded a heat score of zero in the 2015 Tahiti Pro at Teahupo'o and has openly discussed his fear of the break after a terrifying wipeout in 2018.
Morocco’s Ramzi Boukhiam, who upset Australia’s defending champion Jack Robinson at the Pipe Pro, will take Toledo’s place in the Championship Tour field.