Cape Town’s Michael February (ZAF) finished fifth in the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o on Sunday 
and moved up to No. 27 on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) rankings.
Credit: © WSL / Poullenot

Michael February Delivers Career Best Result with Fifth Place in Tahiti Pro
- Gabriel Medina Earns Second CT win at Teahupo’o
- Filipe Toledo Retains Jeep Rankings Leader Jersey

TEAHUPO’O, Tahiti (Sunday, August 19, 2018) – South African Michael February delivered his career best result on Sunday when he finished fifth in the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o, event No. 7 of 11 on the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT).

February, who had not progressed beyond Round 3 in his previous seven events on the elite 34-man tour, was eventually ousted by Jeep Rankings Leader Filipe Toledo (BRA) in their quarter-final match-up.

The CT rookie from Cape Town had earlier defeated compatriot Jordy Smith (Durban) in Round 3 and then won his three-man Round 4 heat over Wade Carmichael (AUS) and Ezekiel Lau (HAW). The 4,745 points he earned saw February jump four places to No. 27 on the CT rankings and within 2,000 points of a qualifying spot for the 2019 elite tour with four events remaining in the 2018 season.

Gabriel Medina (BRA) claimed his second Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o title and his first event win of 2018 by defeating Owen Wright (AUS) in the final held in clean but inconsistent 1 – 1.5 metre waves at the famed South Pacific reef pass.

“I’m just so happy to win here again and, first, I just want to thank God,” Medina said. “I came here and trained a lot, and I was just waiting for the victory. I love Tahiti and I’ve had some great Finals here. I’ve won here before, two second-place finishes, and another win now.”

Since his first Tahiti Pro win in 2014, the Brazilian superstar has never dropped below third place at the event. His win over Wright came after he ousted Jeremy Flores (FRA) in the semi-finals and fellow Brazilian Italo Ferreira in the quarters.

“Now I can kind of start thinking about winning a World Title. I think anything is possible. There’re a couple of events to go and I just want to keep giving it my best.”

Medina’s victory moves him up from 3rd to 2nd on the Jeep Leaderboard, 6,300 points behind Toledo and well within striking distance of capturing a second WSL Title this year if he maintains strong results in the final four events, two of which he won last year.

Medina added. “I’m really happy right now, but I know Owen’s got the same feeling I had last year, which was horrible for me, but it’s competition and that’s why we love competing. I feel blessed to have been in the right spots at this event and now I’m going to enjoy this moment, then I’m focusing on the next event.”

Wright’s runner-up finish today marks his best result in Tahiti and his best result of the season. To make his first final in Tahiti the Australian took down Jeep frontrunner Toledo in the semis and Carmichael in the quarters. Before Tahiti, Wright sat at 11th on the Jeep Leaderboard, but his result now boosts him up to 6th.

“It’s a sting, but it’s just nice to be back in the final,” Wright said. “Right now, it’s a hard loss to take a second, but it’s been an incredible week. It all came down to those last two waves. I made the wrong decision and I’m already feeling that deep burn and drive. I’m stoked for Gabby, well-deserved win for him after it got taken off him by Julian (Wilson) just last year. Congratulations to Gabby."

Toledo fell just short of his third final of the year, losing to eventual runner-up Wright in a hard-fought semi-final bout. The rankings leader’s form was impeccable throughout the event, including a brilliant quarter-final win over rookie Michael February (ZAF), and he will retain the Jeep Leader Jersey going into the next stop, the Surf Ranch Pro.

“I feel really happy and proud of myself with all the hard work I put out here, and a semi-final result in Tahiti is definitely a keeper,” Toledo said. “I’ve been on the Tour for six years now and this is one of those years where everything is clicking and everything’s happening. I’m just making sure to capitalise and get the job done. It’s important to just keep the focus on what I’ve been doing - my training, my surfing – and not worrying about the outside world.”

The next stop on the 2018 WSL Championship Tour will be the Surf Ranch Pro pres. by Hurley in Lemoore, California from September 6 - 9, 2018.

For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.

Tahiti Pro Final Results:
1 - Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.50
2 - Owen Wright (AUS) 12.07

Tahiti Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.60 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 10.03
SF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.17 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 6.10

Tahiti Pro Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.43 def. Michael February (ZAF) 8.60
QF 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.00 def. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 9.57
QF 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.57. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 7.57
QF 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.34 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 5.74

WSL Men's CT Jeep Leaderboard (After Tahiti Pro):
1 - Filipe Toledo (BRA) 41,985 pts
2 - Gabriel Medina (BRA) 35,685 pts
3 - Julian Wilson (AUS) 32,380 pts
4 - Italo Ferreira (BRA) 30,160 pts
5 - Wade Carmichael (AUS) 25,550 pts

South Africans
7 - Jordy Smith (Durban) 23,575 pts
27 - Michael February (Cape Town) 11,000 pts
43 - Matthew McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay) 420 pts