GO DURBAN: Men’s event winner Michael February (Kommetjie) and runner-up Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) celebrate on the podium at the Corona Durban Surf Pro presented by Quiksilver and Roxy at Dairy Beach yesterday.Picture: WSL / Thurtell
DURBAN – Michael February and Zoe McDougall claimed the men’s and women’s titles at the World Surf League (WSL) Durban Surf Pro which was completed in glassy half to one-metre waves at Durban's Dairy Beach on Sunday.

The top seeds in their respective QS1,000 rated events both delivered come-from-behind victories, producing high scoring rides in the pressure-packed dying minutes of their finals to lift the trophies, pocket the bulk of the prize money and add 1,000 precious points to their WSL Qualifying series rankings.

The JQS1,000 Under-18 event titles went to Adin Masencamp (Strand) and Kayla Nogueira (uMhlanga) both of whom led for the bulk of their respective final encounters, with Masencamp posting a pair of nine-point rides that left his rivals combo’d and needing to replace both their counting scores.

February (Kommetjie), ranked No 26 on the QS leaderboard, has been the in-form surfer throughout the City Surf Series and advanced to his third successive final after earning totals in the high teens in virtually every heat he contested.

Up against fellow QS campaigner Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay), February started the final with a couple of mid-range scores before being overtaken by his opponent, but came back with an excellent nine-point ride in the last couple of minutes to secure his second victory in April.

McDougall came into the event ranked No 13 in the WSL Women’s QS standings, and dominated her heats on the way to the final, and the Hawaiian started strongly with a 7.17. But a see-saw battle ensued when reigning WSL Africa Women’s champion Faye Zoetmulder (Cape St Francis) grabbed the lead and then former WSL Championship Tour (CT) campaigner Nikita Robb (East London) took over with back-to-back rides.

Without priority McDougall caught a wave in the dying seconds that walled up and she produced the manoeuvres that earned her a 7.57 and the title.

Masencamp won all three heats he contested in the junior men’s event, finding the best waves and employing his full range of carving and above the lip manoeuvres that relegated his three fellow finalists to fighting for second place.

Nogueira bounced back to form with great surfing throughout Junior Women’s event, posting seven and eight point rides in every heat, including the final, and adding the Durban title to the one she collected in Port Elizabeth a fortnight ago.

After three back-to-back events on consecutive weekends, February has a significant 1,200 point lead at the top of the 2017 WSL Africa men’s rankings, with Steven Sawyer (Jeffreys Bay) and Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga) within 200 points of each over in second and third places.

The other three leaderboards are all much tighter with Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) holding a slender 50-point lead over Crystal Hulett (St Francis Bay) among the women, Jake Elkington just 70 points in front of Masencamp in the junior men and Nogueira a slightly more comfortable 250 points ahead of Sophie Bell (Salt Rock) in the junior women.

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