Michael makes great waves in Martinique

2015-05-05 07:15

Michael February from Kommetjie throws buckets of spray as he cuts back on his way to second place in the Martinique Surf Pro in Martinique, a Caribbean island. He achieved his best result ever in the series and is now SA’s highest ranked contest

Michael February from Kommetjie throws buckets of spray as he cuts back on his way to second place in the Martinique Surf Pro in Martinique, a Caribbean island. He achieved his best result ever in the series and is now SA’s highest ranked contest

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Kommetjie’s Michael February finished second in the inaugural Martinique Surf Pro, a QS3000-rated event and the eighth stop on the World Surf League qualifying series, on Saturday.

It was February’s best result in three years on the qualifying series, and earned the 21-year-old from Kommetjie $10 000 (about R120 000). He also jumped 61 places to No. 16 on the rankings, the highest by a South African. He was runner-up to Joshua Moniz of Hawaii.

February, who posted one of the only two perfect 10 point rides in the event during the quarterfinals on Friday, did not let an excellent score by Moniz on the first ride of the final alter his motivation and kept battling all the way to the final countdown in search of the 9.37 he needed to take the win.

“This is the best result I’ve ever had so I’m super happy,” February said. “Unfortunately that last wave didn’t give me enough to do enough turns and maybe I made a few mistakes, but I tried my best and I’m super happy to have put together a good contest again.”

Moniz, 18, could not have started the final any better, catching an excellent wave in the opening seconds, to deliver a series of exciting forehand turns and collect a 9.07. The Hawaiian didn’t take his foot off the gas and continued to capitalise on every opportunity he had to finally net an 8.87 as a backup and win the event.

“I was so nervous going into that heat. I knew to win it I’d have to get big scores,” Moniz said. “I’m so stoked, this is my first qualifying series win. Coming off another win in a pro junior in Hawaii I had a lot of confidence and I’m on kind of a roll so hopefully I can keep it going.”

Despite posting big scores all week, Moniz was in the underdog position up until his quarterfinal matchup in which he dispatched South African Beyrick de Vries. The Hawaiian then emerged as a potential threat for the event crown, and convincingly surfed two more brilliant heats to take the title home.

“I got a lot of confidence from that win over Beyrick,” Moniz continued. “I thought if I beat him well I can maybe go all the way. Everyone’s been super nice and helpful here and all the locals very supportive. My family and friends have been staying up late as well to watch me and texted me after every heat, I’m just tripping out I won.”

February opted to go local in terms of accommodation and stayed with a Martinican family to immerse himself in the local vibe. Supported during all his heats by an excited crowd, February has won the hearts of many locals.

“The people here are really good and they welcomed me so nicely,” February continued. “I’ve been getting really good food from the people I stayed with, tried new stuff and they also drove me to all the little secret spots. It’s just been a beautiful experience, I met some incredible people and I can’t wait to be back.”

In his semi-final February surprised everyone – when needing 7.70 with just seconds remaining he opted to ride left on the righthand point. Taking to the sky as the wave closed out, he successfully landed a high-flying “Hail Mary” 360 aerial manoeuvre that the judges rewarded with 7.87 and a spot in the final.

Visit www.worldsurfleague.com for more

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