SEAT Pro Netanya
Event is South African's first WSL QS win
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 20 January, 2018 - Matthew McGillivray has won the SEAT Pro Netanya pres. by Reef today in shifty three-to-five foot surf, defeating Charly Martin (FRA) in the event’s final. The final day of competition resumed in solid surf from the storm that hit the Israeli coast yesterday and conditions cleaned up to deliver great finals.
Stop No. 1 on the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) European Qualifying Series, the SEAT Pro Netanya pres. by Reef unfolded in great conditions over the ten days of the event’s waiting period, culminating today with McGillivray’s victory.
“This feels amazing,” McGillivray stated. “This is my third year on the QS, I’ve put in a lot of hard work so it feels amazing to finally get a win. Yesterday was huge with the big storm so we were wondering what was going to happen today with the waves, but it got better and better and there were some amazing waves in the final.”
The 20 year-old from South Africa had an incredible run from Round One through to the final, scoring seven heat totals above 14 points, including a near-perfect 18.33 in the semis to eliminate one of the strongest surfers this week, California’s Kei Kobayashi.
This victory today marks McGillivray’s first on the Qualifying Series and will see the young surfer from Jeffreys Bay take the number one spot on the QS before the next leg of events, already underway in Australia.
“Israel’s an amazing country,” he continued. “Everyone we met here was so passionate about surfing, there are way more surfers that I could have ever expected. Everyone was super friendly and very supportive on the beach, we’ve had great food every day, it’s really been a great trip!”
In the final, Martin opened with a little cover up and a good turn for a 6.5 to turn an early lead on the heat. Ten minutes in, both surfers took off on back-to-back waves, surfing a similar right with a massive first turn and a couple of follow-up maneuvers. McGillivray got the nod with a 7.2 over Martin’s 6.9.
The South-African continued to build with a big forehand rotation to post an 8.33 and take the lead. Despite many efforts, Martin couldn’t come back from this blow and placed runner-up.
The surfer from Guadeloupe who finished his 2017 season with a win at a QS3,000 in China, opens his 2018 campaign with 2,250 points and a great confidence boost.
“Obviously I would have loved to win this one too,” Martin said. “I felt like I had done the hardest part, but I’m stoked to get a final at my first event of the season. Last year I didn’t get a good result until November so I’m definitely starting a lot better. I’ve had a blast the past ten days just flew by, the people and the country are great.”
After a stellar run through the earlier rounds, Kei Kobayashi (USA) couldn’t quite find the same rhythm in his semifinal bout with McGillivray. The young Californian looked a little anxious in the semis and missed the landings of a couple of aerials, ultimately conceding the win to the South African.
With an equal third place and 1,680 points belted in Netanya, Kobayashi will start his season ranked third on the Qualifying Series before the first big events of Australia.
“Matt surfed really well and I knew I was going to need two big scores,” Kobayashi stated. “We both knew we’re going to go for airs, and I had a couple I knew could have been very big scores but I made mistakes and didn’t land them. The waves were firing in the expression session before our heat and I think I frothed out and lost my calm a little.”
In the second semifinal, Nelson Cloarec (FRA) had a strong lock on the heat with only minutes on the clock, but Martin pulled a big maneuver to turn the situation. Losing his priority and needing a big number, Cloarec couldn’t crawl out of the situation and eventually placed equal third to start his 2018 qualifying effort.
“It’s really positive to start the year with a result like that,” Cloarec said. “I’ve been coming in for three years and have always managed to get a good result so I’m super happy with this experience again. I think this is the best of all three editions waves-wise and I’ll definitely be back!”
In the quarterfinals, the surprise eliminations of Miguel Pupo (BRA) and Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) came at the hands of Cloarec and McGillivray respectively. Conditions early this morning were extremely difficult with shifting peaks and closeout sets across the beach.
With the first event of the season completed, the current European Top 5 stands as follows:
European QS Top 5:
1 - Charly Martin (FRA)
2 - Nelson Cloarec (FRA)
3 - Jorgann Couzinet (FRA)
3 - Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
5 - Tom Cloarec (FRA)
SEAT PRO NETANYA FINAL RESULTS:
1 - Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 15.53
2 - Charly Martin (FRA) 13.93
SEAT PRO NETANYA SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 18.33 def. Kei Kobayashi (USA) 6.80
SF 2: Charly Martin (FRA) 15.30 def. Nelson Cloarec (FRA) 13.50
SEAT PRO NETANYA QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Kei Kobayashi (USA) 14.50 def. Reo Inaba (JPN) 12.10
QF 2: Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 14.17 def. Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) 11.34
QF 3: Nelson Cloarec (FRA) 12.43 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.34
QF 4: Charly Martin (FRA) 13.26 def. Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 13.23