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Career Best Result for Mikey February in Azores :: Jordy Smith into Quarters in California

September 12th, 2016
Michael February throws an arc of spray on his way to a career best 3rd place result at the Azores Airlines Pro on Saturday  Photo: WSL / Masurel

Michael February throws an arc of spray on his way to a career best 3rd place result at the Azores Airlines Pro on Saturday  Photo: WSL / Masurel

– Early Elimination for Bianca Buitendag at Trestles
– WSL Africa Titles up for Grabs in Morocco this Week

Cape Town’s Michael February posted best result of his professional career on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) in the Azores on Saturday, while Durban’s Jordy Smith advanced directly into the Quarterfinals of the Hurley Pro Trestles, Stop No. 8 of 11 on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour (CT), in California later the same day.

Competing in the QS6,000 rated Azores Airlines Pro, February cut a swathe through the top seeds in the event before being narrowly pipped in the semi-finals, finishing the event in equal third place with earnings of US $5 500 (R77 000) and 3 550 points.

Despite still wearing strapping on the ankle he injured before the Ballito Pro in June, the 23 year-old from Kommetjie benefitted from his powerful manoeuvres and excellent strategic decisions to defeat higher rated opponents such as Pat Gudauskas (USA), Mitch Coleborn (AUS) and others before falling to eventual event winner Ian Gouveia (BRA).

His record setting points haul sees February leapfrog 45 places up the QS leaderboard to No. 35, which cements his place in the remaining top rated QS10,000 events at Cascais in Portugal next week, and the two season-ending Hawaiian events in November and December, and assures him of preferential seeding in those events.

February is now less than 5 000 points off the Top 10 on the QS rankings, and 1 000 points behind Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga), whose 73rd place result in the Azores dropped him three places to No. 27 in the rankings. Although they will be up against the world’s best at Cascais, and particularly in Hawaii, the pair has the opportunity to challenge for a top 10 yearend finish and qualification for the elite 2017 WSL CT.

See full results and video highlights from the Azores Airlines Pro at http://bit.ly/2cSNkK6

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Jordy Smith propelled himself into the 2016 World Title race with a towering display in his Round 4 match-up at the famed high-performance cobblestone break of Trestles on Saturday afternoon. Posting a pair of scintillating 9.0 point rides, the lanky resident of nearby San Clemente dispatched Michel Bourez (PYF) and Kelly Slater (USA) to cutthroat Round 5 elimination heats while progressing directly to the last eight himself.

“Going into that heat with Michel [Bourez], obviously one of the most powerful surfers in the world, as well as Kelly [Slater] — I just wanted to do my best surfing and Round 4 allows you to be a lot more free,” said Smith, who narrowly scraped through his Round 3 heat earlier in the day.

Ranked equal No. 5 on the Jeep Leaderboard coming into the event, Smith is now the highest seeded surfer left in the contest after a series of major upsets saw rankings leader John John Florence (HAW), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Adrian Buchan (AUS) and Julian Wilson (AUS) all eliminated from competition.

Having already earned 5 200 points, enough to see him move into fourth place in the rankings, Smith will face the winner of the Round 5 duel between Bourez and giant-killing wildcard Brett Simpson (USA) when competition resumes. A repeat of his 2014 victory at Trestles would see Smith move to within 1 000 points of a top three berth heading into the last three events of the year on the CT in France, Portugal and Hawaii.

See results, videos, image and LIVE coverage from 4.30pm daily at http://bit.ly/2bH1E6Q

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Bianca Buitendag was eliminated in Round 2 of the Swatch Women’s Pro at Trestles last week, finishing equal 13th in the event where she was runner-up last year.

Sitting right on the qualification bubble going into Stop No. 7 of 10 on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Women’s CT, Buitendag is likely to drop out of the Top 10 who automatically re-qualify for the elite top tier as several lower ranked women are still in contention in California.

With a QS ranking of No. 166, the 22 year-old from Victoria Bay in the Southern Cape, who ended last year ranked a career-high fourth on the CT, will be determined to post good results in the remaining three events of season in Portugal (Cascais), France and Maui in Hawaii in order to retain her seat at Women’s surfing’s highest table.

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The 2016 WSL Africa regional titles for Men and Women will be up for grabs in Morocco when the Quiksilver Pro Casablanca and Roxy Pro Casablanca, both QS1,500 rated events, start tomorrow in front of the Anfaplace Shopping Center in the city.

The second edition for Men and inaugural Women’s event are co-sanctioned by WSL Africa and WSL Europe with the points earned counting towards the surfers’ respective regional rankings.

While WSL Africa rankings leader Beyrick de Vries and second placed Micheal February have opted to remain in Europe to practice for the QS10,000 rated Cascais Pro in Portugal starting next weekend, third ranked Dylan Lightfoot and fourth ranked fellow Jeffreys Bay resident Matt McGillivray will be determined to claim the coveted WSL Africa title, won last year by David van Zyl (Glenashley).

The champions from each region are guaranteed entry into all the major QS events in the following year which is a huge advantage for any surfer hoping to qualify for the elite WSL Championship Tour.

Tanika Hoffman (Hout Bay) and Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) will be aiming to overtake current rankings leaders Faye Zoetmulder (Cape St Francis) and Nikita Robb (East London) to clinch the regional Women’s title. Hoffman, currently third, only needs to collect her vest for the first heat to take the lead, but will be wary of Smith who can grab the title by finishing first or second in the event.

Watch the events unfold live at http://bit.ly/2cQBh1m

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AZORES AIRLINES PRO MEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Ian Gouveia (BRA) 12.53
2 – Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 9.10

AZORES AIRLINES PRO MEN’S SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 13.13 def. Michael February (ZAF) 12.00
SF 2: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 14.10 def. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.93

AZORES AIRLINES PRO MEN’S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 12.97 def. Yago Dora (BRA) 8.26
QF 2: Michael February (ZAF) 15.93 def. Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 15.50
QF 3: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 15.27 def. Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 11.66
QF 4: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.16 def. Lucas Silveira (BRA) 11.84

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Men’s Hurley Pro Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.27 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 9.83
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.83 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.17
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.27 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 9.34
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.70 vs. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.50
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.10 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 10.40
Heat 6: Brett Simpson (USA) 15.16 def. John John Florence (HAW) 8.74
Heat 7: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 17.34 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.13
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.23 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.00
Heat 9: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 16.37 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.94
Heat 10: Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.84 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.66
Heat 11: Josh Kerr (USA) 15.67 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 9.67
Heat 12: Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 15.47 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.70

Men’s Hurley Pro Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 18.50, Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.50, Kelly Slater (USA) 13.16
Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.97, Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.60, Brett Simpson (USA) 14.14
Heat 3: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 14.84, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 13.67, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.90
Heat 4: Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 14.56, Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.80, Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.26

Men’s Hurley Pro Round 5 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 3: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 4: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)

ENDS

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Issued on behalf of:

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

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