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SA duo advance to Round 3 Down Under
- Updated: February 24, 2016
Michael February and Dale Staples started their respective 2016 campaigns on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) with confident performances early on Wednesday when they both advanced to Round 3 of the Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Pro, a QS6,000 rated event at Merewether Beach in Australia.
Competing in one-metre waves and in their first outings of the season, both surfers won their opening encounters on Tuesday, with February repeating that in Round 2 while Staples finished runner-up in his second heat on Wednesday.
February earned scores of 7.60 and 7.93 (both out of 10) that left highly rated Brazilian Deivid Silva needing an excellent 8.53 for the heat win as the pair eliminated 2015 Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT) member Ricardo Christie (NZL) and Jose Ferreira (PRT) from the event.
The 22 year-old from Kommetjie ended the 2015 season No. 90 on the QS rankings, which will give him a start in all the highest rated QS events for the first half of 2016, and is determined to get closer to the Top 10 (who qualify for the elite CT the following year) this season.
Staples (St Francis Bay), 25, posted a 7.17, the highest score of his heat, but only added a 4.87 that saw him finish second behind Hizunome Bettero (BRA) as they ousted Adam Melling (AUS) and Reo Inaba (JAP).
Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) and David van Zyl (Glenashley), the two other South Africans who were seeded directly into the event, were sidelined after finishing outside the top two places in their respective Round 1 heats on Monday.
Matt McGillivray, who has been the top South African performer in the first four QS1,000 rated events in Australia this year and was No. 35 on the QS rankings heading into Newcastle, suffered the same fate in Round 1 on Monday.
The Jeffreys Bay based teenager, in his rookie year on the QS, produced stellar performances at Newcastle on Sunday when he advanced through five cutthroat rounds to win the 48-man Trials event and earn a spot in the Maitland and Port Stephens Toyota Pro.
Emma Smith, the only South African in the QS6, 000 Taggart Women’s Pro in Newcastle, was also a Round 1 casualty.
Picture of Staples courtesy of WSL/Bennett