Cape Town's Michael February and Hawaiian Zoe McDougall produced sparkling performances on Day 2 of the Corona Durban Surf Pro presented by Quiksilver and Roxy held in idyllic half to one metre waves at Dairy Beach.
February effortlessly dropped excellent range scores in both his Round of 24 and Round of 16 heats using his trademark combination of rail carves and aerial manoeuvres on both his forehand and his backhand. The Skullcandy rankings leader recorded the highest heat total of the men's event, a 17.90 which included a near perfect 9.23 that matched the day's highest single ride by Beyrick De Vries (uMhlanga).
"There's a fun A-Frame peak at Dairy with really good lefts and I enjoy surfing on my backhand," said February. "That 9.23 was on a right that stood up and after my first off-the-top it let me do three or four more turns without losing any speed.
"I'm not too worried about the leader's vest as once I got through my first heat on Friday I couldn't be overtaken even if my closest rivals win this event. It's great having these back-to-back QS1,000's here at home and getting a decent seeding for the big events later in the year here and overseas."
Matthew McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay), who won the last heat of the day to advance to the Men's Round of 8, is another of South Africa's QS campaigners who is happy about the increase of QS rated events at home.
‘Super fun waves at Dairy today, mostly lefts, and I've been getting some good scores which has built some confidence in my backhand surfing," said McGillivray. "Good to have so many QS events here, it gives everyone more contest experience and points and they‘re great as a warm up for the higher rated events."
McDougall, who flew in after her last event in Barbados to compete in both the Women's and Junior Women's Corona Durban Surf Pro presented by Roxy, was the standout performer of the day, racking up a near-perfect 9.77 and a heat total of 18.27.
"We were lucky that the girls were in the water earlier today, before the wind got on it," said McDougall. "It was really fun, the lefts were lined up but I found a couple of rights also."
Ranked No. 13 on the QS, the 17 year-old is keen to climb into the top six and qualify for the elite WSL Championship Tour (CT), but is not putting any pressure on herself to do so this year.
"It would be awesome to make the top six, but I'm not going to make any calls this early in the year, I'm just going to do my best in every event. I'll be going to QS6,000 rated events in Mexico and El Salvador after this and then hope to come back and defend my title at the Ballito Pro."
The competitors in all four events have been reduced to the last eight. The men will be first up on Sunday morning with the top two in each four-man heat qualifying for the man-on-man semifinals. The other events will run four-person heats to the final.
Organisers hope to get the contest underway by 7.30am and the event champions will be crowned at Dairy Beach on Sunday afternoon.
The Corona Durban Surf Pro is supported by Quiksilver, Roxy, Volkswagen, Yesman, Tsogo Sun, Skullcandy, El Jimador, California Dreaming and Accelerate Sport.