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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Mon, 24 April 2017

Is an elite tour berth on the cards? Michael February has rocketed to 15th on the global WSL Qualifying Series rankings after his win in Durban yesterday, writes Spike.

February walked away from the Corona Durban Surf Pro presented by Quiksilver yesterday with R12,000 and another trophy, making it two wins and a runners up in the first three events of the inaugural City Surf Series. He won the Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro on 9 April and got a 2nd at the Buffalo City Surf Pro a week later.

Easier way to rack up points on the QS than going bankrupt going overseas all the time

South Africans dominated the lineup as the inaugural City Surf Series begins to pay dividends for cash-strapped locals. This is a much easier way to rack up points on the QS than going bankrupt going overseas all the time. February didn't travel to one of his favourite events, the Martinique Surf Pro in early April.

February needs more results, but a couple of big wins in the bigger events still to come could get him on the Championship Tour to join lone ranger Jordy Smith.

There are four events to come with QS points on offer. These are the Vans Surf Pro Classic in Lamberts Bay early June (1,000 points), the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing in Durban mid June (3,000 points), the Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro a week later (1,000 points), and the big daddy with a whopping 10,000 points, the Ballito Pro a week after that in early July.

Mens Winner_Michael_Feb0

APRIL BOON: Runner up Matt McGillivray and a very happy February. Photo WSL / Thurtell

Adin Masencamp and Kayla Nogueira were crowned Junior Champions. As predicted, the surf died off in glassy clean conditions, and the finals were held in 1-2' surf at Dairy Beach yesterday.

The top seeds in their respective QS1,000 rated events both delivered come-from-behind victories, producing high scoring rides in the dying minutes of their finals to bank 1,000 points towards their QS rankings. 

The JQS1,000 18-and-under titles went to Adin Masencamp (Strand) and Kayla Nogueira (uMhlanga) both of whom led for the bulk of their respective final encounters, with Masencamp posting two nine point rides that left his rivals combo’d and needing to replace both counting scores.


AIR SHOW: Surfers took to the air to keep the crowd entertained. Photo WSL / Thurtell

February (Kommetjie) has made the zebra striped Skullcandy rankings leader’s vest his own since his first win in the City Surf Series in PE. In Durban, he advanced to his third successive final after earning totals in the high teens in virtually every heat he contested.

Up against fellow QS campaigner Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay), February started the final with a couple of mid-range scores before being overtaken by his opponent, but came back with an excellent nine point ride in the last couple of minutes to secure his second win.

“I started the final with two mediocre rides and then Matt overtook me with that 7.8 he got under my priority, and then added a 6.3,” said February. “After sitting for nine minutes with priority I lost it on a small wave, so I was super nervous. But with three minutes to go probably the best wave of the heat came through and gave me the chance to get that 9.0.”

Michael February1

ZEBRA STYLE: February has made the striped leader's vest his own. Photo WSL / Thurtell

“I’m super happy to get another win and extend my rankings lead. These City Surf Series events have been great, they fill the gap between the two QS6,000 events in Australia early in the year and the bigger events here and overseas still to come. The momentum I’ve built up will really help me in Japan next month.”

McDougall came to Durban ranked 13 in the WSL Women’s QS standings, and dominated her heats on the way to the Final, and the Hawaiian started strongly with a 7.17. But a see-saw battle ensued when reigning WSL Africa Women’s champion Faye Zoetmulder (Cape St Francis) grabbed the lead and former elite tour campaigner Nikita Robb (East London) took over with back-to-back rides.

Without priority McDougall caught a wave in the dying seconds that walled up and she produced the manoeuvres that earned her a 7.57 and the title. “It was a pretty slow heat for waves and with the high tide all four of us were close to the pier trying to get the lefts,” said McDougall. “I swung on that last wave without priority and Emma (Smith) let me have it, so I guess I owe her one. I’m glad to pick up the 1,000 points and am going to spend another month in Jeffreys Bay – my dad is coming over for a surf trip – before going to Mexico and El Salvador for QS6,000 events early in June.”

Zoe McDougall0

ANKLE TAP: Hawaiian Zoe McDougall tore the two footers apart. Photo WSL / Thurtell

Masencamp won all three heats he contested in the Junior men’s event, finding the best waves and employing his full range of carving and above the lip manoeuvres that relegated his three fellow finalists to fighting for second place.

“I’m super happy to get the win here after struggling to get it together in the last two events,’ said Masencamp. “I feel like I’m fully in tune with the rhythm of the ocean and I’m surfing really well, so I’m looking forward to the next events in Cape Town and Lamberts Bay.”

"There were very few waves in the final and we sat for nearly five minutes before catching anything."

Nogueira bounced back to form with great surfing throughout Junior Women’s event, posting seven and eight point rides in every heat, including the final, and adding the Durban title to the one she collected in Port Elizabeth a fortnight ago.

“There were very few waves in the final and we sat for nearly five minutes before catching anything. But once I had that 8.17 I led all the way,” said Nogueira. “I really wanted to do well in this event ... I’m really stoked to be back at the top of the rankings again.”

After three back-to-back events on consecutive weekends, February has a significant 1,200 point lead at the top of the 2017 WSL Africa Men’s rankings, with Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) and Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) within 200 points of each over in second and third places.

The other three leaderboards are all much tighter with Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) holding a slender 50 point lead over Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) among the Women, Jake Elkington just 70 points in front of Masencamp in the Junior men and Nogueira a slightly more comfortable 250 points ahead of Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) in the Junior Women.

Highlights available at www.WorldSurfLeague.com and on the WSL App.

Men’s QS1,000 Final Results
1. Michael February (Kommetjie) 15.17 R12,000 1,000 pts
2. Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) 14.16 R 6,000 750 pts

Women’s QS1,000 Final Results
1. Zoe McDougall (HAW) 14.74 R8,000 1,000 pts
2. Faye Zoetmulder (Cape St Francis) 14.60 R4,000 750 pts
3. Nikita Robb (East London) 13.54 R2,500 560 pts
4. Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) 10.50 R2,000 525 pts

Junior Men’s JQS1,000 Final Results
1. Adin Masencamp (Strand) 18.03 R8,000 1,000 pts
2. Joshe Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay) 14.53 R4,000 750 pts
3. Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) 11.10 R2,500 560 pts
4. Luke Malherbe (East London) 9.70 R2,000 525 pts

Junior Women’s JQS1,000 Final Results
1. Kayla Nogueira (uMhlanga) 14.0 R4,000 1,000 pts
2. Kirsty McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) 10.76 R2,000 750 pts
3. Tayla de Coning (East London) 9.20 R1,110 560 pts
4. Taghiti Gericke (Wilderness) 8.66 R 900 525 pts

Men’s QS1,000 Semifinals Results (2nd = 3rd place; R3,000; 560 pts)
SF1: Michael February (Kommetjie) 18.0 def. Antonio Bortoletto (Durban) 14.50
SF2: Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) 16.83 def. Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) 11.14

2017 WSL Africa Rankings (Top 5 after three events) - Men
1 February, Michael Kommetjie 2750
2 Sawyer, Steve Jeffreys Bay 1560
3 De Vries, Beyrick uMhlanga 1365
4 Lightfoot, Dylan Jeffreys Bay 1330
5 Faulkner, Joshe Jeffreys Bay 1155

1 Smith, Emma Jeffreys Bay 1670
2 Hullett, Crystall St Francis Bay 1620
3 Bell, Sophie Salt Rock 1500
4 Zoetmulder, Faye Cape St Francis 1445
5 Pallet, Nicole La Lucia 1375

Junior Men
1 Elkington, Jake Kommetjie 2120
2 Masencamp, Adin Strand 2050
3 Oberholzer, Koby Warner Beach 1815
4 Elkington, Max Kommetjie 1575
5 Faulkner, Joshe Jeffreys Bay 1330

Junior Women
1 Nogueira, Kayla uMhlanga 2395
2 Bell, Sophie Salt Rock 2145
3 McGillivray, Kirsty Jeffreys Bay 1800
4 De Coning, Tatla East London 1400
5 Gericke, Taghiti Wilderness 1340

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