Kommetjie crowned kings

2017-04-11 06:02
Michael February from Kommetjie flies to victory in the men’s event at the Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. The 23-year-old won the final.PHOTO: Ian Thurtell

Michael February from Kommetjie flies to victory in the men’s event at the Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro in Port Elizabeth on Sunday. The 23-year-old won the final.PHOTO: Ian Thurtell

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Michael February from Kommetjie won the men’s title in the inaugural Nelson Mandela Bay Surf Pro presented by Billabong on Sunday.

Jake Elkington, also from Kommetjie, won the junior men’s title.

Another Kommetjie surfer, Jarred Veldhuis, came third in the men’s event.

The junior men’s final was dominated by the Elkington brothers from Kommetjie. Jake Elkington won the title in the last minute.

Luke Slijpen from Cape Town came third in the junior men’s final, while Julia Ploughman, also from Cape Town, came third in the junior women’s final.

Crystal Hulett won the women’s title, while Kayla Nogueira clinched the junior women’s crown.

The first internationally rated World Surf League (WSL) qualifying series (QS) events to be staged in Port Elizabeth enjoyed contestable but testing surf and great weather for the three days. The competition featured 128 participants, including South Africa’s top talents and entrants from the United States and Australia.

February demonstrated why he is the country’s highest ranked QS surfer by dominating throughout the QS1000-rated men’s event, including the final. Surfing with unparalleled speed, power and flow, the 23-year-old Capetonian effortlessly connected long rides all the way to the beach, cruising over flat sections and performing powerful manoeuvres whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Fellow QS campaigner Dylan Lightfoot kept pace for the first half of the 25-minute final, but an excellent 8.67 by February late in the heat left Lightfoot, third-placed Veldhuis and fourth-placed Beyrick de Vries (last year’s WSL Africa champion) all needing 16.01 points for victory.

“Super happy with that result. I haven’t won an event for a couple of years and that’s my first QS1000 event title,” says February.

“The final was tricky, the waves were really far out and you couldn’t hear what the situation was, but after I had had two decent rides I stayed close to Dylan and Jarred to keep them off the good ones.

“It’s good to be home, pick up the maximum points available and to move up the rankings. I’m feeling positive and motivated for the rest of the events here and to wearing the rankings leader’s jersey next week.”

February pocketed R10 000 and 1000 rankings points which will see him vault from 91st into the top 40 on the QS leader board.

He takes the early lead in the race for the WSL Africa title, which means he will wear the zebra-striped leader’s vest in East London over the Easter weekend.

The second event on this year’s WSL Africa calendar, the Buffalo City Surf Pro, will feature QS1000-rated events for men and women and JQS1000-rated events for junior men and women.

The junior men’s final was dominated by the Elkington brothers, with younger brother Max leading until the last minute when older sibling Jake rode the highest scoring wave of the 25-minute clash to grab victory.

“I got that 7.23 in the last 30 seconds and I was really stoked to overtake Max and get my first WSL Junior title,” says Jake.

“It gives me the early lead in the WSL Africa junior rankings and will hopefully help me to secure a place in the squad for the WSL world junior championships in Australia in January.

“This win has really given me confidence and I’m looking forward to East London next weekend.”

The winners were presented with their trophies and cheques by the mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.

Results Men’s final

1. Michael February (Kommetjie) – 1000 points

2. Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) – 750

3. Jarred Veldhuis (Kommetjie) – 560

4. Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) – 525

Women’s final

1. Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) – 1000 points

2. Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) – 750

3. Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) – 560

4. Tayla Hanak (Australia) – 525

Junior men’s final

1. Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) – 1000 points

2. Max Elkington (Kommetjie) – 750

3. Luke Slijpen (Cape Town) – 560

4. Calvin Goor (Salt Rock) – 525

Junior women’s final

1. Kayla Nogueira (Durban) – 1000 points

2. Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) – 750

3. Julia Ploughman (Cape Town) – 560

4. Kirsty McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) – 525

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