Michael February and Zoe McDougall claimed the Men’s and Women’s titles at the Corona Durban Surf Pro presented by Quiksilver and Roxy. The contest was held in the Dairy Beach bowl as the New Pier banks are yet to settle back into place after Cyclone Enawo in March.
February and McDougall both nailed the win by producing high scoring rides in the pressure-packed dying minutes of their finals to lift the trophies, pocket the bulk of the prize-money and add 1,000 precious points to their WSL Qualifying series rankings.
Up against fellow QS campaigner Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay), February started the final with a couple of mid-range scores before being overtaken by his opponent, but came back with an excellent nine point ride in the last couple of minutes to secure his second victory in April.
MFeb is now ranked 15th on the QS leaderboard – a spot that makes qualification look highly probable. He successfully holds onto the zebra striped Skullcandy rankings leader’s vest, being the most consistent of the field as this is his third successive final in the City Surf Series.
“I started the final with two mediocre rides while Matt overtook me with a 7.8 that he got under my priority, and then he backed that up with a 6.3,” said February. “After sitting for nine minutes with priority I lost it on a small wave, so I was super nervous. But with three minutes to go I got the best wave of the heat and it gave me the chance to get that 9.0.”
“I’m super happy to get another win and extend my rankings lead,” MFeb enthused. “These City Surf Series events have been great, they fill the gap between the two QS6,000 events in Australia early in the year and the bigger events here and overseas still to come. The momentum I’ve built up will really help me in Japan next month.”
McDougall came into the event ranked No. 13 in the WSL Women’s QS standings, and dominated her heats on the way to the final. The Hawaiian started strong with a 7.17 but a see-saw battle ensued when reigning WSL Africa Women’s champion Faye Zoetmulder (Cape St Francis) grabbed the lead and then former WCT campaigner Nikita Robb (East London) took over with back-to-back rides.
Without priority McDougall caught a wave in the dying seconds that walled up and she produced the manoeuvres that earned her a 7.57 and launched her into the lead.
“It was a pretty slow heat for waves and with the high tide all four of us were close to the pier trying to get the lefts,” said McDougall. “I swung on that last wave without priority and Emma (Smith) didn’t use her priority to drop in on me, so I guess I owe her one. I’m glad to pick up the 1,000 points and am going to spend another month here in Jeffreys Bay – my dad is coming over for a surf trip – before going to Mexico and El Salvador for QS6,000 events early in June.”
The JQS 1,000 titles went to Adin Masencamp (Strand) and Kayla Nogueira (uMhlanga) both of whom led for the majority of their final encounters, with Masencamp posting a pair of nine point rides that left his rivals in combination. Masencamp found the best waves and employed his full range of carving and above the lip manoeuvres that relegated his three fellow finalists to fighting for second place.
“I’m super happy to get the win here after struggling to get it together in the last two events,’ said Masencamp. “I feel like I’m fully in tune with the rhythm of the ocean and I’m surfing really well, so I’m looking forward to the next events in Cape Town and Lamberts Bay.”
Nogueira displayed great surfing throughout the Junior Women’s event, posting excellent scores in every heat and adding the Durban title to the one she collected in Port Elizabeth a fortnight ago.
“There were very few waves in the final and we sat for nearly five minutes before catching anything. But once I had that 8.17 I led all the way to the end,” said Nogueira. “I really wanted to do well in this event so it feels good and I’m really stoked to be back at the top of the rankings again.”
After three back-to-back events on consecutive weekends, February has a significant 1,200 point lead at the top of the 2017 WSL Africa Men’s rankings, with Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) and Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) within 200 points of each over in second and third places.
The other three leaderboards are all much tighter with Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) holding a slender 50 point lead over Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) among the Women, Jake Elkington just 70 points in front of Masencamp in the Junior men and Nogueira a slightly more comfortable 250 points ahead of Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) in the Junior Women.
The competing surfers will be heading home to regroup and fine-tune their surfing for the next event in a months time at Lambert’s Bay. The City Surf Series has been deemed invaluable as the athletes gain points, experience and knowledge that will hopefully see the level of surfing jump and land another Zaffa or two on tour.
Corona Durban Surf Pro presented by Quiksilver and Roxy
Men’s QS1,000 Final Results
- Michael February (Kommetjie) 15.17 R12,000 1,000 pts
- Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) 14.16 R 6,000 750 pts
Women’s QS1,000 Final Results
- Zoe McDougall (HAW) 14.74 R8,000 1,000 pts
- Faye Zoetmulder (Cape St Francis) 14.60 R4,000 750 pts
- Nikita Robb (East London) 13.54 R2,500 560 pts
- Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) 10.50 R2,000 525 pts
Junior Men’s JQS1,000 Final Results
- Adin Masencamp (Strand) 18.03 R8,000 1,000 pts
- Joshe Faulkner (Jeffreys Bay) 14.53 R4,000 750 pts
- Jake Elkington (Kommetjie) 11.10 R2,500 560 pts
- Luke Malherbe (East London) 9.70 R2,000 525 pts
Junior Women’s JQS1,000 Final Results
- Kayla Nogueira (uMhlanga) 14.0 R4,000 1,000 pts
- Kirsty McGillivray (JBay) 10.76 R2,000 750 pts
- Tayla de Coning (East London) 9.20 R1,110 560 pts
- Taghiti Gericke (Wilderness) 8.66 R 900 525 pts
Men’s QS1,000 Semifinals Results (2nd = 3rd place; R3,000; 560 pts)
SF1: Michael February (Kommetjie) 18.0 def. Antonio Bortoletto (Durban) 14.50
SF2: Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) 16.83 def. Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) 11.14
2017 WSL Africa Rankings (Top 5 after three events)
1 February,Michael Kommetjie 2750
2 Sawyer,Steve Jeffreys Bay 1560
3 De Vries,Beyrick uMhlanga 1365
4 Lightfoot,Dylan Jeffreys Bay 1330
5 Faulkner,Joshe Jeffreys Bay 1155
1 Smith, Emma Jeffreys Bay 1670
2 Hullett, Crystall St Francis Bay 1620
3 Bell, Sophie Salt Rock 1500
4 Zoetmulder, Faye Cape St Francis 1445
5 Pallet, Nicole La Lucia 1375
1 Elkington,Jake Kommetjie 2120
2 Masencamp,Adin Strand 2050
3 Oberholzer,Koby Warner Beach 1815
4 Elkington,Max Kommetjie 1575
5 Faulkner,Joshe Jeffreys Bay 1330
1 Nogueira,Kayla uMhlanga 2395
2 Bell,Sophie Salt Rock 2145
3 McGillivray,Kirsty Jeffreys Bay 1800
4 De Coning,Tatla East London 1400
5 Gericke,Taghiti Wilderness 1340