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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Mon, 5 June 2017

Michael February has now won three of four events in the City Surf Series to cement his world QS ranking after taking out the men's title at the Vans Surf Pro Classic in Lamberts Bay yesterday.


WINNING TRIO: Mikey February, Jake Elkington and Sophia Fulton. Photo AVG

February (Kommetjie), who is #1 in Africa and #19 in the world, joined Australian Sophia Fulton and Jake Elkington (Kommetjie), who claimed the women’s and junior men’s titles respectively in cooking 4-5' surf at Yo-Yo’s.

The World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) events at a break similar to the high performance waves at Lower Trestles in California attracted the country’s top competitors and dozens of emerging international stars.

February was the standout performer throughout the three day men’s event, capitalizing on meticulous heat strategies and earning excellent scores for his stylish manoeuvres, particularly on his backhand in the reeling left-breaking waves, while also shredding on the rights.

Taking on good friend Davy van Zyl (Glenashley) in the final, February had a slow start but grew in confidence after an excellent 8.17 on a right. He then sealed his third win in four events in South Africa this year on a long-running left that came in at 7.50.


SOLID YOYOs: Shane Sykes. Solid 5' sets pushed thro at the West Coast Trestles. Photo AVG

“The final went pretty well. I was up against one of my best mates and I was happy getting into the final with him,” said February. “Being here at Lamberts Bay you know you’re going to get good waves. I felt a bit shaky on my first rides but managed to put it together on a good right and that calmed the nerves a bit. Then I got a good backup on my backhand, so I’m really happy.”

“These QS1,000 event here at home have been really great for building momentum for the QS3,000 and QS10,000 events coming up this month. It’s nice that Beyrick (de Vries) and I are pushing each other on the rankings and this win will really help me.”

In the man-on-man semifinals Van Zyl dropped two excellent rides to leave Renan Peres (BRA) ) in a combination situation and needing to replace both his rides to get into contention.

February was on fire in his semi, posting scores of 9.33 and 8.0 that left his Brazilian opponent Wesley Leite comboed. February caught his last wave in the final seconds and punted back-to-back aerials, an enormous air reverse followed by alley-oop, to earn the only perfect 10 point score of the event and the highest heat total of 19.33 out of 20.


PEAKY SUNRISE: YoYos is developing a reputation with the internationals. Photo Thurtell

Fulton, who had delivered at least one excellent range score in every heat in the QS1,000 women’s event, opened her account in the final with a 9.17 on a long lefthander. Zoe McDougall (HAW) mounted a great comeback with 7.50 in the final minute, but Fulton added an 8.50 going left on the same wave to secure the victory.

“The final was pretty tricky but I was really excited to get some waves, even though every time a good one came I didn’t have priority, so it was really difficult,” said Fulton. “I was definitely nervous on that last ride, but it felt pretty good when I finished it. South Africa is a really nice place and I’m looking forward to going to Durban, Cape Town and Ballito for the next events.”

McDougall, ranked No. 12 on the QS leaderboard coming into the event, finished runner-up with Nicole Pallet (La Lucia), who has shown the benefit of regular international competition in home waters, grabbed third place while former Championship Tour (CT) surfer Nikita Robb (East London) ended fourth.


MIKEY ON FIRE: His technical nous, strategy and skill are unbeatable. Photo Thurtell

In the JQS1,000 junior men’s event, Elkington won every heat he contested, including the final where he added an 8.23 to the 8.50 he had earned earlier to overtake arch-rival Adin Masencamp (Strand) who had taken the lead with a 9.0 with just minutes remaining.

“It was a really great final with amazing waves and I started off with a great ride, but then didn’t get another for a long time while everybody else was shredding,” said Elkington. “Adin went into the lead near the end and thought that was it, but then my last score dropped in, and it was just an amazing feeling.”

“Lamberts Bay is one of the best waves in the world, it’s such a high performance wave, really fun and really consistent and one of my favourites in South Africa. This result is another keeper in my campaign to qualify for the WSL Junior Champs in Australia in January. I just want to keep this rhythm going and take this confidence into the next event.”

The junior men’s runner-up spot went to Masencamp who was followed by Joao Chianca (BRA) and Takuto Ohta (JAP) in a high scoring affair where each of the competitors recorded a ride of 8.0 or higher.

All the results, rankings, news, images and video footage from the Vans Surf Pro Classic can be found at www.worldsurfleague.com and on the WSL App.

Men’s QS1,000 Final Results
1. Michael February (Kommetjie) 15.67 R12,000 1,000 pts
2. David van Zyl (Glenashley) 12.07 R 6,000 750 pts

Women’s QS1,000 Final Results
 1. Sophia Fulton (AUS) 16.97 R8,000 1,000 pts
2. Zoe McDougall (HAW) 16.37 R4,000 750 pts
3. Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) 14.60 R2,500 560 pts
4. Nikita Robb (East London) 8.50 R2,000 525 pts

Junior Men’s JQS1,000 Final Results
1. Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) 16.73 R8,000 1,000 pts
2. Adin Masencamp (Strand) 16.17 R4,000 750 pts
3. Joao Chianca (BRA) 15.23 R2,500 560 pts
4. Takuto Ohta (JAP) 13.00 R2,000 525 pts

Men’s QS1,000 Semifinals Results (2nd = 3rd place; R3,000; 560 pts)
SF1: David van Zyl 16.73 def. Renan Peres (BRA) 12.60
SF2: Michael February (Kommetjie) 19.33 def. Wesley Leite (BRA) 14.16

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