Durban - the fourth event in Africa's 2018 men's Qualifying Series takes place this weekend 18-20 May, and local surfers are currently en route to Durban to compete. The Zigzag Durban Surf Pro pres by G-Force will feature QS 1,000 and JQS 1,000 events for both men and women.
The regional series, bolstered by the five event City Surf Series, has proven to be a great boon to South African surfing, with Michael February being the first graduate of the successful launch platform for aspiring South African surfers. Last year, Mikey walked away with three wins, a second and a third in the seven events staged in South Africa, including victory at this very event, to earn enough points to place him as an alternate surfer on the WSL Championship Tour.
A great result at the Ballito Pro pres by Billabong was what put him in the zone, but it was through much hard groundwork done at the City Surf Series that saw him hone his craft, allowing his contest experience to shine through at the bigger events.
Kelly Slater withdrew from the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast contest, giving Mikey a slot, and this continued at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach event, where Mick Fanning officially retired and Mikey officially got his slot in the top 32.
In Africa's 2018 women's Qualifying Series, Nicole Pallet is in front, with Kai Woolf right behind her and Zoë Steyn in third. At this crucial stage in the game, these surfers will be making a move to solidify their ranking for the second half of the year.
The contest venue for this event was originally set for New Pier, Durban, but the Durban beaches are currently going through a major sand-pumping operation after much sand was eroded from the beachfront during a recent storm. The event has now been moved to North Beach where the sandbanks are reported to be producing classic surf.
At this early stage of the game it looks like fairly small conditions on tap for the contest period, with a small lift in swell for the final day of competition.