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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa
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Mon, 20 August 2018

South Africa's Michael February delivered his career best result yesterday when he finished fifth behind winner Gabriel Medina in the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o in small chunky but clean Chopes.


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A MAN CALLED MEDINA: Love him or hate him, Gabby knows how to surf. Photo WSL / Poullenot


February, who had not progressed beyond Round 3 in his previous six events on the elite 34-man tour, was eventually ousted by Jeep Rankings Leader Filipe Toledo (BRA) in their quarter-final.

The CT rookie from Cape Town had earlier defeated compatriot Jordy Smith (Durban) in Round 3 and then won his three-man Round 4 heat over Wade Carmichael (AUS) and Ezekiel Lau (HAW). The 4,745 points he earned saw February jump four places to #27 on the CT rankings and within 2,000 points of a qualifying spot for the 2019 elite tour with four events remaining in the 2018 season.

Gabriel Medina (BRA) claimed his second Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o title and his first event win of 2018 by defeating Owen Wright (AUS) in the final held in clean but inconsistent 3-5' waves at the famed South Pacific reef pass.

“I’m just so happy to win here again and, first, I just want to thank God,” Medina said. “I came here and trained a lot, and I was just waiting for the victory. I love Tahiti and I’ve had some great Finals here. I’ve won here before, two second-place finishes, and another win now.”

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TUBE BLUR: Mikey Feb pulled in and out of this fast breaking Chopes barrel Photo WSL / Cestari


Since his first Tahiti Pro win in 2014, the Brazilian superstar has never dropped below third place at the event. His win over Wright came after he ousted Jeremy Flores (FRA) in the semi-finals and fellow Brazilian Italo Ferreira in the quarters.

“Now I can kind of start thinking about winning a World Title. I think anything is possible. There’re a couple of events to go and I just want to keep giving it my best.”

Medina’s victory moves him up from 3rd to 2nd on the Jeep Leaderboard, 6,300 points behind Toledo and well within striking distance of capturing a second WSL Title this year if he maintains strong results in the final four events, two of which he won last year.

Wright’s runner-up finish today marks his best result in Tahiti and his best result of the season. To make his first final in Tahiti the Australian took down Jeep frontrunner Toledo in the semis and Carmichael in the quarters. Before Tahiti, Wright sat at 11th on the Jeep Leaderboard, but his result now boosts him up to 6th.

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WAVES WERE GRASSY: Owen Wright and Medina celebrate #1 and #2 spots. Photo WSL / Poullenot


“It’s a sting, but it’s just nice to be back in the final,” Wright said. “Right now, it’s a hard loss to take a second, but it’s been an incredible week. It all came down to those last two waves. I made the wrong decision and I’m already feeling that deep burn and drive. I’m stoked for Gabby, well-deserved win for him after it got taken off him by Julian (Wilson) just last year. Congratulations to Gabby."

Toledo fell just short of his third final of the year, losing to eventual runner-up Wright in a hard-fought semi-final bout. The rankings leader’s form was impeccable throughout the event, including a brilliant quarter-final win over rookie Michael February (ZAF), and he will retain the Jeep Leader Jersey going into the next stop, the Surf Ranch Pro.


“I feel really happy and proud of myself with all the hard work I put out here, and a semi-final result in Tahiti is definitely a keeper,” Toledo said. “I’ve been on the Tour for six years now and this is one of those years where everything is clicking and everything’s happening. I’m just making sure to capitalise and get the job done. It’s important to just keep the focus on what I’ve been doing - my training, my surfing – and not worrying about the outside world.”

The next stop on the 2018 WSL Championship Tour will be the Surf Ranch Pro pres. by Hurley in Lemoore, California from September 6-9.

For more information, check out www.WorldSurfLeague.com

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FILIPE TORPEDO: MFeb could not get past the current best surfer in the world. Photo WSL / Poullenot


Tahiti Pro Final Results
1 - Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.50
2 - Owen Wright (AUS) 12.07

Tahiti Pro Semifinal Results
SF 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.60 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 10.03
SF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.17 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 6.10

Tahiti Pro Quarterfinal Results
QF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.43 def. Michael February (ZAF) 8.60
QF 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.00 def. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 9.57
QF 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.57. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 7.57
QF 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.34 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 5.74

WSL Men's CT Jeep Leaderboard
1 - Filipe Toledo (BRA) 41,985 pts
2 - Gabriel Medina (BRA) 35,685 pts
3 - Julian Wilson (AUS) 32,380 pts
4 - Italo Ferreira (BRA) 30,160 pts
5 - Wade Carmichael (AUS) 25,550 pts

South Africans:
 7 - Jordy Smith (Durban) 23,575 pts
27 - Michael February (Cape Town) 11,000 pts
43 - Matthew McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) 420 pts

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