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Bianca Buitendag and Jordy Smith Progress in WSL Hawaiian Events

November 30th, 2015 No comments
Bianca Buitendag Photo: WSL Cestari

Bianca Buitendag Photo: WSL Cestari

Benji Brand Into Round 3 at Sunset After Winning Opening Two Heats
Michael February and Beyrick de Vries Bow Out

South Africans Bianca Buitendag and Jordy Smith progressed to Round 4 of their respective World Surf League (WSL) events at Honolua Bay on Maui and Sunset Beach on Oahu in Hawaii on Sunday.

Buitendag, ranked No. 6 on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Women’s Championship Tour (CT) going into the season ending Target Maui Pro, had a forgettable opening encounter in which she struggled to find the best waves and also suffered a broken leash that necessitated a time-consuming change of equipment.

However, the 22 year-old from Victoria Bay in the Southern Cape bounced back in Round 2, using her signature high-performance backhand repertoire to post a convincing victory over Laura Enever (AUS) in the inconsistent but pristine 1.0 to 1.5 metre waves.

After getting off to a great start in her Round 3 clash, Buitendag was overtaken by Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS). Her runner-up finish means Buitendag now faces a do-or-die clash against good friend Johanne Defay (FRA) for a place in the quarterfinals when competition resumes.

Jordy Smith Photo: WSL / Kirstin

Jordy Smith Photo: WSL / Kirstin

Smith, who has slipped to 29th on the men’s CT rankings after an injury plagued season, gained some competitive momentum for the first time since the Margaret River event in April when he placed second in his opening heat in Round 3 of the QS10 000 Vans World Cup of Surfing.

Competing in windswept, unruly 3 metre plus surf at Sunset, Smith’s powerful, carving manoeuvres on the double to triple-overhead waves earned the lanky 1.9 metre Durbanite a heat total of 13.10 out of 20 and a spot in Round 4 along with heat winner Frederico Marais (PRT).

Benji Brand, whose family has homes in Kommetjie and on the North Shore of Oahu and who competes as a WSL Hawaii member, showed the value of experience in the huge ‘playing field’ at Sunset Beach when he convincingly won both his Round 1 and 2 heats on Saturday. A former finalist in junior events at the break, the 19 year-old caught the best waves in his heats and eliminated a quartet of higher ranked opponents.

When competition in the Vans World Cup resumes, Brand will be in the first heat against WSL CT stars John John Florence (HAW) and Kolohe Andino (USA), as well as US Open of Surfing winner Hiroto Ohhara (JAP).

Beyrick de Vries Photo: WSL / Kirstin

Beyrick de Vries Photo: WSL / Kirstin

Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) was unlucky in his Round 2 encounter when he was wiped-out as he exited one of the biggest tube rides of the day, earning just 2.60 points out of 10 for what could have been a heat-winning ride. Out of rhythm for the rest of the heat, de Vries ended his 2015 campaign on the WSL Qualifying Series with an 81st place finish. He pocketed US $500 and 500 rankings points that will not factor into his overall ranking which currently stands at No. 50.

Michael February (Kommetjie) was eliminated in his Round 1 heat on Saturday. In his rookie season in the season ending Van Triple Crown of Surfing events in Hawaii, February produced excellent performances to advance through two rounds in the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa last week and will have gained plenty of experience for future campaigns in Hawaii.

Ranked No. 78 going into the final QS event of the year, February will be hoping that the tally of ranking points he has earned from his best five results during 2015 will be sufficient to ensure that he gains a coveted spot in the elite 96-man fields who will contest the QS10000 events next year.

Both the Target Maui Pro and the Vans World Cup can be watched live on www.WorldSurfleague.com starting at 7pm daily.

TARGET MAUI PRO (Honolua Bay, Maui, Hawaii)

UPCOMING TARGET MAUI PRO ROUND 4 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
Heat 2: Malia Manuel (HAW), Tyler Wright (AUS)
Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat 4: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Johanne Defay (FRA)

TARGET MAUI PRO ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 15.37, Lakey Peterson (USA) 8.83, Tyler Wright (AUS) 6.83
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.93, Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.83, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 7.30
Heat 3: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 14.10, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.44, Johanne Defay (FRA) 10.34
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.60, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 11.67, Coco Ho (HAW) 11.50

TARGET MAUI PRO ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Coco Ho (HAW) 14.37, Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 11.57
Heat 2: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 13.94, Sage Erickson (USA) 11.96
Heat 3: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.23, Dax McGill (HAW) 13.70
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.20, Keely Andrew (AUS) 8.50
Heat 5: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 14.64, Laura Enever (AUS) 6.53
Heat 6: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 17.73, Silvana Lima (BRA) 15.27

TARGET MAUI PRO ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 15.07, Tyler Wright (AUS) 9.50, Dimity Stoyle (6.67)
Heat 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.96, Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.16, Sage Erickson (USA) 13.10
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.73, Silvana Lima (BRA) 10.20, Dax McGill (HAW) 7.00
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 16.50, Keely Andrew (AUS) 12.57, Coco Ho (HAW) 12.57
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.44, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 11.97, Laura Enever (AUS) 7.76
Heat 6: Johanne Defay (FRA) 16.60, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 14.50, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 2.20
Vans World Cup of Surfing (Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii)
Results

Round of 64 (1st and 2nd advance to next round)
Heat 1: Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.90pts, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.10pts, Seth Moniz (HAW) 12.96pts, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 9.37pts

Round of 96 (1st and 2nd advance to next round)
Heat 1: Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.97pts, Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 10.34pts, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 8.17pts, Charles Martin (GLP) 4.67pts
Heat 2: Benji Brand (HAW) 10.34pts, Seth Moniz (HAW) 8.60pts, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 3.87pts, Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 3.10pts
Heat 3: Jack Robinson (AUS) 11.67pts, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 10.94pts, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 10.34pts, Evan Valiere (HAW) 4.67pts
Heat 4: Kekoa Cazimero (HAW) 8.27pts, Conner Coffin (USA) 7.56pts, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 6.74pts, Kaito Kino (HAW) 6.20pts
Heat 5: Mason Ho (HAW) 12.03pts, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.03pts, Thomas Woods (AUS) 10.43pts, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 9.00pts
Heat 6: Torrey Meister (HAW) 13.84pts, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 12.87pts, Glenn Hall (IRL) 9.84 pts, Gonzalo Zubizarreta (ESP) 8.13pts
Heat 7: Marco Giorgi (URY) 13.50pts, Joan Duru (FRA) 8.87pts, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 5.40pts, Sunny Garcia (HAW) 2.07pts
Heat 8: Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) 12.27pts, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 11.53pts, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 5.73pts, Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 5.47pts
Heat 9: Carlos Munoz (CRI) 11.70pts, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 11.67pts, Cooper Chapman (AUS) 9.94pts, Thiago Camarao (BRA) 3.46pts
Heat 10: Soli Bailey (AUS) 13.00pts, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 9.90pts, Kevin Sullivan (HAW) 8.47pts, Michael Dunphy (USA) 4.47pts
Heat 11: Dusty Payne (HAW) 8.84pts, Pedro Henrique (PRT) 7.00pts, Santiago Muniz (ARG) 6.67pts, Mitch Crews (AUS) 2.93pts
Heat 12: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 14.33pts, Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 11.40pts, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 11.34pts, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 9.90pts
Heat 13: Joel Centeio (HAW) 14.86pts, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 11.57pts, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 8.54pts, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 8.06pts
Heat 14: Brent Dorrington (AUS) 15.16pts, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 14.94pts, Makai McNamara (HAW) 9.17pts, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 5.44pts
Heat 15: Miguel Tudela (PER) 13.66pts, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 12.43pts, Olamana Eleogram (HAW) 10.90pts, Evan Geiselman (USA) 5.76pts
Heat 16: Deivid Silva (BRA) 13.84pts, Bino Lopes (BRA) 10.93pts, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 7.10pts, Elijah Gates (HAW) 5.47pts

ENDS

NOTE: High resolution images are available to Media Outlets on request

About the World Surf League
The mission of the WSL is simple: to inspire positive change for surfing, our fans and the environment. Formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global products across the Samsung Galaxy men’s and women’s Championship Tours, Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels; it strives to put the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has energized an already-passionate global fan base with millions around the world tuning-in to see the likes of Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Makua Rothman, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Greg Long, Stephanie Gilmore, John John Florence, Carissa Moore and others do battle in the most dynamic field of play in all of sports. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

#labcomm

World Surf League Africa Announces 2015 Regional Champions

November 26th, 2015 No comments
David van Zyl (Durban), the 2015 WSL Africa men’s champion, in action during the Ballito Pro where he was the highest placed South African surfer  Image: Luke Patterson

David van Zyl (Durban), the 2015 WSL Africa men’s champion, in action during the Ballito Pro where he was the highest placed South African surfer  Image: Luke Patterson

David van Zyl, Nikita Robb, Dylan Lightfoot and Nicole Pallet Clinch Prestigious Titles
WSL Africa Invitees for World Junior Championships Finalised

As the 2015 World Surf League (WSL) season draws to a close, the WSL Africa regional office is proud to announce its 2015 Champions in the Open and Pro Junior categories for men and women.

David van Zyl, 22, from Durban clinched the Men’s title by finishing the highest placed WSL Africa member in the QS10 000 Ballito Pro presented by Billabong in July and then taking 17th place in the QS1 500 rated Quiksilver Pro Casablanca, the first event to be co-sanctioned by both WSL Africa and WSL Europe.

“I’m really stoked to be crowned the WSL Africa champ and it’s great to get a wildcard into all events up to QS6 000 for 2016,” said van Zyl. “It will be great next year if there’s more QS events here in Africa as the WSL Africa winner then will get a spot in the Primes (QS10 000) for the following year. That’s my goal for next year, to be comfortably in those Prime events, and ultimately the goal is to qualify for the CT!”

Former WSL Championship Tour (CT) campaigner, Nikita Robb, 26, originally from East London and now living in Cape Town, secured the Women’s title by winning the Ballito Women’s Pro presented by Billabong in July.

“It’s awesome to be the WSL Africa champion again, even though there was only one event this year,” said Robb. “The girls in South Africa are surfing so well and I look forward to defending the title next year when hopefully there will be more events for women.”

The WSL Africa Pro Junior champions earned their 2015 titles from results in the three Billabong Junior Series presented by BOS events run at Seal Point in Cape St Francis at the end of 2014 and again in September 2015 and at Magnatubes in Jeffreys Bay in July.

Jeffreys Bay standout Dylan Lightfoot, 20, won one and finished second in two of the events to capture the Men’s title in his final year in the Pro Junior age category.

“I just wanted to end my junior career with a bang and winning at Seal Point and claiming the WSL Africa title there felt amazing,” said Lightfoot. “I’ll be going to Hawaii for the QS 3000 at Pipe at the end of January, then on to Australia for the two QS6 000’s. It’s exciting times and I’m putting my head down to work hard and start off 2016 with some solid results,” Lightfoot added.

La Lucia’s Nicole Pallet, 20, secured the Pro Junior Women’s title after finishing fifth in the first event at Seal Point and then winning the next two.

“I was super stoked to win the title this year and after a great year of competing I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to compete with the best in the world,” said Pallet. “This means taking my surfing to the next level and I’ve already started training hard for the World Juniors in January and putting 110% into every surf I have.”

Lightfoot and Shane Sykes (Salt Rock), Adin Masencamp (Strand), Jordan Maree (Kalk Bay), Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) and Bevan Willis (Durban), have received invitations to compete in the WSL Junior Championships in Portugal in January 2016.

“I’m looking forward to surfing in the World Junior Champs at Ericeira in Portugal in January. It’s an incredible wave and I feel it suits my style of surfing being a right hand point break,” said Lightfoot who finished 17th in the event last year.

Lightfoot and McGillivray earned their spots in the squad as the two highest ranked WSL Africa Pro Juniors on the QS rankings while the other four are the next highest in the regional rankings.

Pallet will be joined in Portugal by Gina Smith (Jeffreys Bay), the runner-up in the WSL Africa Pro Junior women’s rankings who also competed at the 2014 edition of the event.

“Congratulations to the 2015 WSL Africa champions and those who have earned invitations to the WSL Junior Championships,” said Colin Fitch, the WSL Africa Operations Manager. “There are great prospects for more WSL Africa sanctioned events in 2016 and beyond, which will give our members an even better start to their surfing careers.”

WSL Africa – 2015 Yearend Rankings

Men
1. David van Zyl (Durban) 385points
2. Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) 317
3. Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) 205
4. Remi Peterson (Jeffreys Bay) 120
5. Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) 110

Women
1. Nikita Robb (East London) 1 000 points
2. Faye Zoetmulder (Port Elizabeth) 750
3. Teal Hogg (uMhlanga) 560
4. Heather Clark (Port Shepstone) 510

Pro Junior Men
1. Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) 2 500 points
2. Shane Sykes (Salt Rock) 1 700
3. Adin Masencamp (Strand) 1 575
4. Jordy Maree (Kalk Bay) 1 400
5. Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) 1 260

Pro Junior Women
1. Nicole Pallet (La Lucia) 2 420 points
2. Gina Smith (Jeffreys Bay) 1 730
3. Olivia Brand (uMhlanga) 1 610
4. Chanelle Botha (Warner Beach) 1 420
5. Teal Hogg (uMhlanga) 1 410

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The mission of the WSL is simple: to inspire positive change for surfing, our fans and the environment. Formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global products across the Samsung Galaxy men’s and women’s Championship Tours, Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels; it strives to put the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has energized an already-passionate global fan base with millions around the world tuning-in to see the likes of Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Makua Rothman, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Greg Long, Stephanie Gilmore, John John Florence, Carissa Moore and others do battle in the most dynamic field of play in all of sports. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

#labcomm

WSL RELEASES 2016 EVENT SCHEDULE

November 21st, 2015 No comments
The world class right-hander at Jeffreys Bay will return to the Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour in 2016  Image: WSL / Cestari

The world class right-hander at Jeffreys Bay will return to the Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour in 2016  Image: WSL / Cestari

– WORLD’S BEST RETURN TO JEFFREYS BAY IN 2016
– NORTH POINT ADDED AS BACKUP VENUE IN MARGARET RIVER
– MORE AT WORLDSURFLEAGUE.COM

LOS ANGELES, California/USA (Friday, November 20, 2015) – The World Surf League (WSL) has released its 2016 schedule of events covering the Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours (CT), Qualifying Series (QS), Pro Junior tours and Longboard tours.

Staying true to its core DNA of putting the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves, the 2016 schedule is designed to foster world-class performances from athletes at events taking place around the globe, from Australia to the South Pacific to Europe and beyond.

Among the changes to the 2016 schedule is the introduction of Western Australia’s North Point, which will serve as an exciting additional location to Margaret River and The Box in the event the waves are firing. The WSL is also introducing a new JQS Series of events in Australasia, providing a stronger platform for young men and women surfers to qualify for the World Junior Championship, where, if they perform, they will gain valuable seeding benefits to kick-start their path through the QS to the CT.

“Surfing takes place on the most dynamic and unpredictable playing field in all of sports,” said Kieren Perrow, Commissioner of the WSL. “This year, we’ve witnessed another season of barrier-breaking performances in all kinds of surf and weather conditions. We look forward to an incredible Tour finale for both our Men’s and Women’s CT in Hawaii and onward to 2016.”

2016 World Surf League (WSL) Samsung Galaxy Men’s Championship Tour
• Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast – March 10-21, 2016
• Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach – March 24-April 5, 2016
• Drug Aware Margaret River Pro – April 8-19, 2016
• Rio Pro – May 10-21, 2016
• Fiji Pro – June 5-17, 2016
• J-Bay Open – July 6-17, 2016
• Billabong Pro Teahupo’o – August 19-30, 2016
• Hurley Pro at Trestles – September 7-18, 2016
• Quiksilver Pro France – October 4-15, 2016
• Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal – October 18-29, 2016
• Billabong Pipe Masters – December 8-20, 2016

Earlier this year, three-time WSL Champion Mick Fanning experienced a shark encounter in the Final of the J-Bay Open in South Africa. Since the incident, speculation regarding the event’s future on the WSL Championship Tour has been a consistent topic in the media, and the WSL will return to J-Bay in 2016.

Addressing this issue, Commissioner Perrow said, “Athlete safety is a top priority for the League. We have been in constant discussions with our athletes, event organizers and administrators regarding the future of this event. The WSL has made significant investments in the areas of surveillance and response for all current and future Tour spots, and we are currently working with a number of firms specializing in mitigation technology that focus on both athlete safety and the safety of the marine environment.”

Perrow continued: “The strides we’re making in the areas of surveillance and response are significant, but there presently exists no technology that has been proven to be 100% effective. Our athletes are aware of this, as they have always been.”

The 2015 WSL Championship Tour will finish with the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons in the coming weeks with an historic six surfers in the running for the world surfing crown – Mick Fanning (AUS), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Adriano de Souza (BRA), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Owen Wright (AUS) and Julian Wilson (AUS).

The past two seasons have seen major enhancements to the quality and quantity of events for the world’s best female surfers, with the addition of Fiji, Trestles, as well as the move to Hossegor (FRA) and Maui.

“The quality venues have produced some of the most impressive surfing of the season,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, WSL Women’s Commissioner. “And the battle between Carissa Moore (HAW) and Courtney Conlogue (USA) for the 2015 WSL Title will be one for the record books.”

2016 World Surf League (WSL) Samsung Galaxy Women’s Championship Tour
• Roxy Pro Gold Coast – March 10-21, 2016
• Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach – March 24-April 5, 2016
• Drug Aware Margaret River Pro – April 8-19, 2016
• Rio Women’s Pro – May 10-21, 2016
• Fiji Women’s Pro – May 29-June 3, 2016
• Vans US Open of Surfing – July 25 – 31, 2016
• Trestles Women’s Pro – September 7-18, 2016
• Cascais Women’s Pro – September 24-Oct 2, 2016
• Roxy Pro France – October 4-15, 2016
• Maui Women’s Pro – November 22-December 6, 2016

The 2015 WSL Women’s Championship Tour is culminating next week at Honolua Bay with the Target Maui Pro.

A full 2016 WSL schedule, including the Qualifying Series, Pro Junior and Longboard tours as well as Specialty events, can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/1NiiLdu

For more information, check out www.worldsurfleague.com

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The mission of the WSL is simple: to inspire positive change for surfing, our fans and the environment. Formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global products across the Samsung Galaxy men’s and women’s Championship Tours, Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels; it strives to put the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has energized an already-passionate global fan base with millions around the world tuning in to see the likes of Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Makua Rothman, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Greg Long, Stephanie Gilmore, John John Florence, Carissa Moore and others do battle in the most dynamic field of play in all of sports. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Dave Prodan
VP of Communications dprodan@worldsurfleague.com
+1 805-758-5586

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

Michael February Wins Opening Heat at Hawaiian Pro

November 19th, 2015 No comments
Michael February (ZAF, Kommetjie) in action while winning his Round 1heat at the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa on Thursday  Image: WSL / Cestari

Michael February (ZAF, Kommetjie) in action while winning his Round 1heat at the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa on Thursday  Image: WSL / Cestari

South Africa’s Michael February won his Round 1 heat at the Hawaiian Pro on Thursday, posting an excellent heat total of 15.74 out of a possible 20 in rising overhead waves at Ali’i Beach in Haleiwa on the North Shore of the island of Oahu in Hawaii.

The first jewel in the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Hawaiian Pro is a QS10 000 rated event on the WSL Qualifying Series (QS) and one of nine major events in the series that determines the 10 qualifiers for the following year’s elite Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT).

Competing in a WSL event in Hawaii for the first time thanks to his current No. 80 ranking on the QS, February took advantage of the opportunity to cement his place in all the major QS events for the 2016 season. After six consecutive lay days due to small surf, the Hawaiian Pro got underway in inconsistent one metre waves that grew to two metre plus overhead surf on Thursday.

The 22 year-old from Kommetjie opened his account with a 7.17 (out of 10) before being overtaken by Michael Dunphy (USA) who posted a near perfect 9.40. Using his priority intelligently, February paddled into a set wave and after racing through the first section, blasted two turns off the lip before carving a cutback in the tricky ‘Toilet Bowl’ section of the break.

The ride earned an excellent 8.57 from the judges and moved him into a lead that his three opponents could not match. The South African advanced to the Round of 96 along with Dunphy, while third and fourth placed Adrien Toyon (FRA) and Hawaiian Elijah Gates were eliminated from the event.

“Day 1 done – thanks everybody for the rad support. I’m too stoked to be competing in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing,” said February on his Facebook page after his victory.

History was made at the Hawaiian Pro when 2000 World Champion and six-time Triple Crown winner, Sunny Garcia (HAW), 45, took to the surf in his Round 1 heat. He matched the 29 appearances of fellow Hawaiian legend, 1993 World Champion and four-time Triple Crown champion, Derek Ho.

Garcia went on to place second and progress to Round 2. With the surfing series now in its 33rd year of prestige, it is doubtful anyone will rival Garcia’s accomplishments here.

“It’s the cherry on the top of the pie for me,” said Garcia. “Competing in Hawaii… it’s not like competing, but just the feeling of being home. I love the Triple Crown. “I love that Randy Rarick built something that Hawaiian surfers can enjoy at home and make a living competing in their own events.”

Rarick, with whom Garcia had a tempestuous relationship at the height of career in the 1990’s and early 2000’s, created the prestigious season-ending series of events in Hawaii in 1983 along with 1968 World Champion and eventual Hawaiian Senator, Fred Hemmings, before retiring after 30 years at the helm at the end of last year.

The Hawaiian Pro will resume with Heat 3 of Round 2 later today. South Africa’s Beyrick de Vries (ZAF, uMhlanga) will open his campaign in Heat 4 against Evan Geiselman (USA) and Hawaiians Kaito Kino and Kakoa Cazimero.

February will take on Carlos Muniz (CRI), former World Junior Champion, Pedro Henrique (PRT), and veteran Hawaiian standout Olamana Eleogram in heat 10.

Jordy Smith (ZAF, Durban), who is seeded directly into Round 3 of the Hawaiian Pro, returns to action for the first time since the J-Bay Open in July after a succession of injuries to his knee, foot and back. Smith will be in Heat 3 which is likely to run towards the end of the day.

The Hawaiian Pro has a holding period that runs until Monday 23 November. All the action at the can be followed live at http://www.worldsurfleague.com/events/2015/mqs/1313/hawaiian-pro/live staring at 8 pm South African time daily.

HAWAIIAN PRO RESULTS (Thursday 18 November)

Round of 128 (1st and 2nd advance to next round)

H1: Granger Larsen (HAW) 14.10pts, Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.67pts, Dylan Goodale (HAW) 11.24pts, Kevin Sullivan (HAW) 7.77pts
H2: Timothee Bisso (GLP) 13.33pts, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 12.26, Steven Pierson (PYF) 9.50, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 5.73
H3: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 11.00pts, Kekoa Cazimero (HAW) 8.76pts, Thiago Camarao (BRA) 4.27pts, Kaimana Jaquias (HAW) 2.76pts
H4: Kaito Kino (HAW) 12.10pts, David Do Carmo (BRA) 10.83pts, Mason Ho (HAW) 10.63pts, Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 10.06pts
H5: Medi Veminardi (REU) 13.97pts, Sunny Garcia (HAW) 9.37pts, Tom Whitaker (AUS) 7.44pts, Makai McNamara (HAW) 5.70pts
H6: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 15.93pts, Joshua Moniz (HAW) 13.83pts, Alex Smith (HAW) 11.33pts, Mikey Bruneau (HAW) 7.73pts
H7: Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 15.67pts, Imaikalani Devault (HAW) 13.30pts, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 12.70pts, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 11.23pts
H8: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 13.00pts, Seth Moniz (HAW) 12.03pts, Marco Fernandez (BRA) 10.83, Hank Gaskell (HAW) 10.40
H9: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 15.33pts, Olamana Eleogram (HAW) 14.06pts, Kai Barger (HAW) 10.90pts, Marco Giorgi (URY) 10.27pts
H10: Michael February (ZAF) 15.74pts, Michael Dunphy (USA) 14.90, Adrien Toyon (FRA) 9.94pts, Elijah Gates (HAW) 9.67pts
H11: Kalani David (HAW) 11.83, Tim Reyes (USA) 10.53pts, Nomme Mignot (FRA) 9.80pts, Myles Padaca (HAW) 8.23
H12: Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 16.60pts, Gavin Gillette (HAW) 13.37, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 13.17,
Evan Valiere (HAW) 12.30
H13: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 15.00pts, Joel Centeio (HAW) 12.37, Miguel Tudela (PER) 10.74
Luke Shepardson (HAW) 5.93
H14: Frederico Morais (PRT) 17.96pts, Billy Kemper (HAW) 15.63pts, Lucas Silveira (BRA) 14.36, Isaiah Moniz (HAW) 12.87pts
H15: Hiroto Arai (JPN) 11.70pts, Luel Felipe (BRA) 11.47pts, Charly Martin (GLP) 11.14, Benji Brand (HAW) 10.23pts
H16: Thomas Woods (AUS) 13.17pts, Koa Smith (HAW) 13.06pts, Gonzalo Zubizarreta (ESP) 12.63pts, Ian Gentil (HAW) 4.60pts

Round of 96 (1st and 2nd advance to next round)

H1: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 11.66pts, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 10.43pts, Granger Larsen (HAW) 8.03pts, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 5.70pts
H2: Tiago Pires (PRT) 14.60pts, Timothee Bisso (GLP) 13.47pts, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 12.77pts, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 11.27pts

ENDS

Note: High resolution images are available on request to media outlets.

About the World Surf League
The mission of the WSL is simple: to inspire positive change for surfing, our fans and the environment. Formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), the WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global products across the Samsung Galaxy men’s and women’s Championship Tours, Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels; it strives to put the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has energized an already-passionate global fan base with millions around the world tuning-in to see the likes of Kelly Slater, Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina, Makua Rothman, Grant “Twiggy” Baker, Greg Long, Stephanie Gilmore, John John Florence, Carissa Moore and others do battle in the most dynamic field of play in all of sports. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

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