Home > Contests, WSL > Michael February finishes runner-up at Martinique Surf Pro : Rockets to No. 16 on QS rankings

Michael February finishes runner-up at Martinique Surf Pro : Rockets to No. 16 on QS rankings

April 26th, 2015
Michael February (Kommetjie) throws buckets of spray as he cuts back on his way to second place in the Martinique Surf Pro.  Image: (c) WSL / Poullenot

Michael February (Kommetjie) throws buckets of spray as he cuts back on his way to second place in the Martinique Surf Pro.  Image: (c) WSL / Poullenot

South Africa’s Michael February finished runner-up to Joshua Moniz (HAW) in the inaugural Martinique Surf Pro, a QS3 000 rated event and the eighth stop on the 2015 World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS), on Saturday.

The result, February’s best in three years on the QS, earned the 21 year-old from Kommetjie US $10 000 (approx. R120 000) and 2 250 points which saw him rocket up 61 places to No. 16 on the latest rankings, the highest by a South African.

February, who posted one of the only two perfect 10 point rides in the event during the Quarters on Friday, did not let an excellent score by Moniz on the first ride of the Final alter his motivation and kept battling all the way to the final countdown in search of the 9.37 he needed to take the win.

“This is the best result I’ve ever had so I’m super happy,” February said. “Unfortunately that last wave didn’t give me enough to do enough turns and maybe I made a few mistakes, but I tried my best and I’m super happy to have put together a good contest again.”

Moniz, 18, could not have started the final any better, catching an excellent wave in the opening seconds, to deliver a series of exciting forehand turns and collect a 9.07. The Hawaiian didn’t take his foot off the gas and continued to capitalise on every opportunity he got to finally net an 8.87 as a backup and win the event.

“I was so nervous going into that heat, I knew to win it I’d have to get big scores,” Moniz said. “I’m so stoked, this is my first QS win. Coming off another win in a Pro Junior in Hawaii I had a lot of confidence and I’m on kind of a little roll so hopefully I can keep it going.”

Despite posting big scores all week, Moniz was in the underdog position up until his quarterfinal matchup where he dispatched South Africa’s Beyrick De Vries (Umhlanga), 22. The Hawaiian then emerged as a potential threat for the event crown, and convincingly surfed two more brilliant heats to take the title home.

“I got a lot of confidence from that win over Beyrick,” Moniz continued. “I thought if I beat him well I can maybe go all the way. Everyone’s been super nice and helpful here and all the locals very supportive. My family and friends have been staying up late as well to watch me and texted me after every heat, I’m just tripping out I won.”

Joshua Moniz (Left) and Michael February on the podium and the end of the Martinique Surf Pro.  Image: (c) WSL / Poullenot

Joshua Moniz (Left) and Michael February on the podium and the end of the Martinique Surf Pro.  Image: (c) WSL / Poullenot

February opted to go local in terms of accommodation and stayed with a Martinican family to immerse himself into the local vibe. Supported during all his heats by an excited crowd, February has won the hearts of many Basse-Pointe locals today.

“The people here are really good and they welcomed me so nicely,” February continued. “I’ve been getting really good food from the people I stayed with, tried new stuff and they also drove me to all the little secret spots. It’s just been a beautiful experience, I met some incredible people and I can’t wait to be back.”

In his Semifinal February surprised everyone including himself when needing 7.70 with just seconds remaining he elected to ride left on the righthand point. Taking to the sky as the wave closed out, he successfully landed a high-flying ‘Hail Mary’ 360 aerial manoeuvre that the judges rewarded with 7.87 and gave him a berth in the Final.

“Sure it’s a little frustrating to go out like that but I made a mistake,’ said Tudela who finished third overall. “I had priority and let him go. I never thought there was any scoring potential on a left and he proved me wrong, so hats off to Michael! I’m stoked to have made the semis here, like I said before this is probably the best event I’ve ever been to and I’ll be back for sure to Martinique, contest or no contest.”

Michael February takes to the air with the 'Hail Mary' 360 backhand aerial that earned him a spot in the Final of the Martinique Surf Pro.  Image: (c) WSL / Poullenot

Michael February takes to the air with the ‘Hail Mary’ 360 backhand aerial that earned him a spot in the Final of the Martinique Surf Pro.  Image: (c) WSL / Poullenot

Cooper Chapman (AUS), 20, fell short of a mere 0.34 in second Semifinal after an exciting final exchange with Moniz in the last moments of the heat. Chapman improved both his counting rides including an impressive 9.03 on his final wave, but he couldn’t match Moniz’s flair and rhythm.

“Waves were great again today and I knew I was going to have to put down another 17+ score,” Chapman reflected. “As soon as Josh got his 9 I knew it would take another huge score but I had faith I’d get another opportunity. I got that last wave, got a 9 but he got the next wave behind me and beat me. I’ve had a great time here, the waves were perfect, some of the best I’ve ever had in an event. The place is beautiful, I can’t wait to be back next year!”

South Africa’s de Vries finished equal fifth when he was eliminated in the Quarterfinals while Dale Staples (St Francis Bay) and Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) finished ninth and 13th respectively after Round 5 exits.

All the news, results, photos, videos and more from the Martinique event can be found at http://www.worldsurfleague.com/events/2015/mqs/1228/martinique-surf-pro

MARTINIQUE SURF PRO FINAL RESULTS:
1- Joshua Moniz (HAW) 17.94
2- Michael February (ZAF) 16.10

MARTINIQUE SURF PRO SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Michael February (ZAF) 14.80 def. Miguel Tudela (PER) 14.63
SF 2: Joshua Moniz (HAW) 17.80 def. Cooper Chapman (AUS) 17.46

World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) Rankings (After Martinique)
1 Andino, Kolohe (USA) 8260 points
2 Muniz, Alejo (BRA) 7550
3 Freestone, Jack (AUS) 6050
4 Gouveia, Ian (BRA) 5030
5 Hiquily, Mateia (PYF) 4920

South Africans (Top 100)
16 February, Michael (Kommetjie) 3390
38 Staples, Dale (St Francis Bay) 2195
43 De Vries, Beyrick (Umhlanga) 2030
70 Lightfoot, Dylan (Jeffreys Bay) 1450

ENDS

About the World Surf League

The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

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

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