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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Mon, 22 January 2018

Matt McGillivray, 20, of Jeffreys Bay starts the 2018 season on top of the QS leaderboard after winning the first event of the year, the SEAT Pro Netanya in Israel.

Matthew McGillivray_ZAF_0011-Netanya18Masurel

AIR TIME: McGillivray was on fire at his first event in the Med. Photo WSL / Masurel

The finals of the WSL Qualifying Series 3,000 event at Kontiki Beach north of Tel Aviv in Israel yesterday was held in chunky 2-4 foot - the remnants of a big storm that slammed through with big, shifty close-outs that had glassed off gradually into clean, peaky sets.

"This feels amazing," McGillivray said. "This is my third year on the QS, I've put in a lot of hard work so it feels amazing to finally get a win. Yesterday was huge with the big storm so we were wondering what was going to happen today with the waves, but it got better and better and there were some amazing waves."

Charly Martin (FRA) and McGillivray opened with almost identical rides, the latter getting 7.2 over Martin's 6.9. The South African launched into a big forehand rotation to post an 8.33 and build a solid lead. Despite several attempts from the Frenchman, the situation remained the same.

Charly Martin_FRA_and_Matthew_McGillivray_ZAF1489-Netanya18Masurel

WINNERS: Charly Martin (FRA) and McGillivray went toe to toe in the final. Photo WSL / Masurel

McGillivray's best results have been runner-up finishes in Durban and Tahiti. His path to the final included seven consecutive heats with a heat score of more than 14 points, and a near-perfect 18.33 in the semis.

"Israel's an amazing country," he added. "Everyone we met here was so passionate about surfing, there are way more surfers that I could have ever expected. Everyone was super friendly and very supportive on the beach, we've had great food every day, it's really been a great trip."

Martin has had a few major wins, including his last event of 2017 in China.

Matthew McGillivray_ZAF_1412-Netanya18Masurel

HISTORIC WIN: McGillivray notches up his first win on the Qualifying Series. Photo WSL / Masurel

"Obviously I would have loved to win this one too," Martin said. "I felt like I had done the hardest part, but I'm stoked to get a Final at my first event of the season. Last year I didn't get a good result until November so I'm definitely starting a lot better. I've had a blast and the past 10 days just flew by. The people and the country are great."

Kei Kobayashi, who lost to McGillivray in the semis, said: "Matt surfed really well and I knew I was going to need two big scores," he said. "We both knew we're going to go for airs, and I had a couple I knew could have been very big scores but I made mistakes and didn't land them. The waves were firing in the expression session before our heat and I think I frothed out and lost my calm a little."

In the second semifinal, Martin and Nelson Cloarec went heat-to-head in what was probably the closest battle of the day. Cloarec had the upper hand for most of the 30-minute heat but a big rotation stopped the former European Junior champ's run in Israel.

Charly Martin_FRA0690-Netanya18Masurel

MARTIN AIRLINES: The Frenchman brought his air game to the party. Photo WSL / Masurel

Final Results:
1. Mathew McGillivray (ZAF)
2. Charly Martin (FRA)
3. Kei Kobiyashi (USA), Nelson Cloarec (FRA)
5. Reo Inaba (JPN), Jorgann Couzinett (FRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Maxime Huscenot (FRA)

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