Sydney’s Manly Beach has not been kind to South Africa’s WSL Qualifying Series campaigners so far, apart from Michael February. The Kommetjie local is the last Saffa remaining in contention in the Men’s division at the QS6000-rated Hurley Australian Open of Surfing, with all his compatriots having been eliminated in the early rounds of competition in testing, dribbly conditions.
M-Feb has grafted his way through to Round 3 in small surf at Manly Beach.
After a more than two month break from WSL competition for most of the SA contenders, getting back into the Qualifying Series groove has not proved easy. David Van Zyl (3rd), Slade Prestwich (4th) and Dale Staples (4th) couldn’t find the scores they needed in their Round 1 heats and were eliminated from the event. Michael February and Dylan Lightfoot, meanwhile, won their respective match-ups and joined Beyrick De Vries in Round 2.
In the Women’s division, Cape Town’s Tanika Hoffman finished fourth in Heat 4 of Round 1 and was knocked out of the event. Dream Tour campaigner, Bianca Buitendag is yet to surf. The Southern Cape local’s high seeding sees her first match-up taking place in Round 3, where she will face Pauline Ado (FRA), Stephanie Single (AUS) and Laura Macauley (AUS).
Slade Prestwich and Dylan Lightfoot were also competing in the Pro Junior division and both won their Round 1 heats to advance. Slade Prestwich then finished runner-up in Heat 5 of Round 2, while Dylan Lightfoot was eliminated in Heat 1. USA’s Kanoa Igarashi and Australia’s Jordan Lawler proved too tough for Slade in Round 3, knocking the KZN ripper out of the event.
Mikey’s had plenty of support from the rest of the Saffa crew, who’ve been staying together.
Mikey February, meanwhile, followed up his Round 1 victory with a runner-up finish in Heat 3 of Round 2, booking his spot in Round 3. There he will face experienced campaigner, Nathan Hedge (AUS), Mateia Hiquily (PYF) and Takumi Nakamura (JPN). Beyrick and Dylan fought hard in their Round 2 match-ups, but joined the rest of the SA posse on the beach after failing to advance from their respective heats.
M-Feb will be up in the first heat of Round 3 when competition resumes. Go to australianopenofsurfing.com to watch it live and to view results.