Like a game of football, Semifinal Heat 2 between Filipe Toledo and Kolohe Andino at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro was a tale of two halves. In this particular case, the role of second-half comeback winner was played by Kolohe Andino. Midway through the heat, Toledo was on a tear, had a solid lead and the psychological advantage of never having lost to Andino in a man-on-man heat.
But then Mother Nature played her cruel hand in the form of a large salmon bait ball invading the Main peak at Margaret's, forcing event directors to clear the lineup in the name of "safety first". Salmon are big fish, but they are definitely not at the top of the food chain pyramid.
Obviously shaken by the preponderance of marine wildlife boiling and skirting through the lineup at Main Break, both Andino and Toledo jumped at the chance to head to the beach, reset and paddle back out when the lineup cleared of any remaining possibilities of men in the grey suits.
The second-half chance was all Andino needed to get the upper hand. Making amends for a less than stellar result at the Quik Pro at Snapper Rocks (after finishing 2nd there in 2015), Andino has continued to carry the terrific form that saw him ranked No. 4 overall in 2016. And while it was superior wave selection and high-line tubes that saw him take out Jordy Smith, Andino's technical rail game and end-section smashes provided the difference versus the spicy Brazilian.
Toledo, for his part, surfed a smart heat and his high-speed down carves and critical end-dump floaters held the heat in the balance until the final seconds. Requiring a good, but not great, score to advance, the ocean went flat for Toledo and Andino moved on to the Final to face World Champ John John Florence.