February soars to second

2017-08-08 06:01
Michael February from Kommetjie takes to the air on his way to fifth place in the Vans US Open of Surfing in California. PHOTO: WSL/ Morris

Michael February from Kommetjie takes to the air on his way to fifth place in the Vans US Open of Surfing in California. PHOTO: WSL/ Morris

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Kommetjie’s Michael February finished fifth in the QS10 000 Vans US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach in California on Sunday to surge into second place on the World Surf League (WSL) qualifying series (QS) ranking.

The 24-year-old continued his good form this year so far, winning four consecutive heats against the world’s best surfers to reach the quarter-finals in California.

Then he lost to Carlos Munoz in a wave-starved heat where each surfer only had two rides in the 35-minute clash.

February’s haul of $7000 (R94 000) and 5200 points saw him take the tally from his best five results this season to 14 750 points, overtaking Willian Cardoso and Yago Dora and moving up to second spot on the QS leader board behind ranking leader Jesse Mendes.

The Capetonian, who ended last year ranked 53rd, has already won 26 competitive heats this year, six more than No. 8 ranked Hiroto Ohhara, whose 20 heat wins is the second highest for the year.

February has featured in the final of four QS1 000 events, winning three, and also reached the semi-finals of the QS10 000 Ballito Pro last month.

“This has been my best start to a season. Just thinking about what’s different, we usually have a big gap between events after Australia, but this year we had about four or five events in South Africa,” said February last week.

“Just to be able to surf a lot of heats has been nice to get that practise in leading up to Ballito, getting a result there, and really just enjoying surfing, which is always great.”

Tough time aheadBased on last year’s season, February will need a minimum of around 19 000 points to have a chance of finishing in the top 10 on the QS rankings and joining Jordy Smith on the elite WSL championship tour (CT) next year.

“I’m not going to lie and say I don’t want to qualify; everyone on the QS is trying to do that and I’m stoked with results from my last few events and just want to keep the positives alive going into the next few,” said February.

He will be targeting the QS6 000-rated events scheduled in Spain, the Azores (where he posted his previous career-best performance with third place last year) and in Maresias, Brazil, along with the QS10 000 in Cascais, Portugal to try and pick up the necessary points.

The final two QS10 000 events in Hawaii in November and December are notoriously difficult, not only featuring some of the world’s biggest and most powerful waves, but also a host of highly competitive local entries and also all the CT members who are in danger of not making the top 22 cutoff for requalification on the elite tour.

The Vans US Open of Surfing was won by Huntington Beach local Kanoa Igarashi who secured a popular victory over Tomas Hermes in the final. The Californian shot up 66 places to No. 3 on the QS ranking.

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