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February Finishes Fifth at Vans US Open of Surfing :: Jumps to No 2 in Rankings

August 7th, 2017
Michael February (Kommetjie) takes to the air on his way to 5th place in the Vans US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach in California Photo: WSL / Morris

Michael February (Kommetjie) takes to the air on his way to 5th place in the Vans US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach in California Photo: WSL / Morris

Bianca Buitendag Places 13th in Women’s Championship Tour Event

South Africa’s Michael February finished fifth in the QS10,000 Vans US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach in California on Sunday to surge into second place on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) rankings.

The 24-year-old from Kommetjie in Cape Town continued his superlative 2017 form, winning four consecutive heats against the world’s best surfers to reach the quarterfinals in California. There he lost to Carlos Munoz (CRI) in a wave-starved heat where each surfer only had two rides in the 35 minute clash.

February’s haul of US $7,000 (approx. R94,000) and 5,200 points saw him take the tally from his best five results this season to 14,750 points, overtaking Brazilians Willian Cardoso and Yago Dora and moving up to No. 2 on the QS leaderboard behind runaway rankings leader Jesse Mendes, also of Brazil.

The Capetonian, who ended 2016 ranked 53rd, has already won 26 competitive heats this year, six more than No. 8 ranked Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) whose 20 heat wins is the second highest for 2017. February has featured in the final of four QS1,000 events, winning three, and also reached the semifinals of QS10,000 Ballito Pro last month.

“This has been my best start to a season and just thinking about what’s different, we usually have a big gap between events after Australia, but this year we had about four or five events in South Africa,” said February last week. “Just to be able to surf a lot of heats has been nice to get that practice in leading up to Ballito, getting a result there, and really just enjoying surfing, which is always great.”

Based on the 2016 season, February will need a minimum of around 19,000 points to have a chance of finishing in the Top 10 on the QS rankings and joining Jordy Smith on the elite WSL Championship Tour (CT) in 2018.

“I’m not going to lie and say I don’t want to qualify, everyone on the QS is trying to do that and I’m stoked with results from my last few events and just want to keep the positives alive going into the next few,” February continued.

He will be targeting the QS6,000 rated events scheduled for Pantin in Spain, the Azores (where he posted his previous career-best performance with 3rd place last year) and in Maresias, Brazil; along with the QS10,000 in Cascais, Portugal to try an pick up the necessary points.

The final two QS10,000 events in Hawaii in November and December are notoriously difficult, not only featuring some of the world’s biggest and most powerful waves, but also a host of highly competitive local entries and also all the CT members who are in danger of not making the Top 22 cutoff for re-qualification on the elite tour.

The Vans US Open of Surfing was won by Huntington Beach local Kanoa Igarashi (USA) who secured a popular victory over Tomas Hermes (BRA) in the final to clinch the US $100,000 winner’s pay cheque and 10,000 points that resulted in the Californian rocketing up 66 places to No. 3 on the QS rankings.

Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS10,000 Final Results:
1 – Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 17.23
2 – Tomas Hermes (BRA) 11.10

Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS10,000 Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 12.26 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.92
SF 2: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 11.84 def. Carlos Munoz (CRI) 10.70

Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS10,000 Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 13.30 def. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 11.83.
QF 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.43 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.10
QF 3: Carlos Munoz (CRI) 10.06 def. Michael February (ZAF) 5.17
QF 4: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 12.47 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.40

2017 WSL Men’s Qualifying Series Rankings (After Vans US Open of Surfing):
1 – Jesse Mendes (BRA) 22,700 pts
2 – Michael February (ZAF, Kommetjie) 14,750 pts
3 – Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 13,310 pts
4 – Tomas Hermes (BRA) 13,010 pts
5 – Griffin Colapinto (USA) 12,380 pts

South Africans (Top 100)
11 – Jordy Smith (ZAF, Durban) 10,000 pts
46 – Beyrick de Vries (ZAF, uMhlanga) 5.375 pts
70 – David van Zyl (ZAF, Glenashley) 4,090 pts


The Vans US Open of Surfing Women’s event, Stop No. 6 of 10 on the WSL Women’s CT, was won by Sage Erickson (USA) who secured her maiden CT event victory by outpointing defending event winner Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) in the final on Sunday.

Earlier last week, South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag got a start in the event as an injury replacement for Malia Manuel (HAW). Buitendag finished second in her Round 1 heat and was then eliminated from the event in equal 13th place overall when she narrowly lost to eventual semifinalist Courtney Conlogue (USA) in Round 2.

See full results, news, images, video footage and more at www.worldsurfleague.com and on the WSL App.

Vans US Open of Surfing Women’s CT Final Results:

1 – Sage Erickson (USA) 11.84
2 – Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 9.80

Vans US Open of Surfing Women’s CT Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 11.10 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 7.34
SF 2: Sage Erickson (USA) 13.33 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.46

2017 WSL Women’s Jeep Leaderboard (After Vans US Open of Surfing):
1 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 41,400 pts
2 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 39,900 pts
3 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 38,300 pts
4 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 34,750 pts
5 – Johanne Defay (FRA) 33,400 pts


About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.

The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running in excess of 180 global events across the Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the 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, and in doing so crowns the undisputed world champions in Men’s, Women’s across all divisions within the tour.

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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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