South African surfer Michael February has had a perfect start to his career at the top of the sport. He was the first alternate on the World Surf League at the end of last year a big disappointment at the time.

However, he will be nearly full time at the top level this year, coming in as an injury and retirement replacement.

Already he has made his mark, beating favourite Matt Wilkinson of Australia in the second round of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast event.

February already knows he would be getting a chance at top level action from next month after Mick Fanning announced he will be retiring in April but his chance came sooner when 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater announced he had not recovered from a foot injury.

February came straight into round two and immediately made his mark, taking down former winner Matt Wilkinson in a slow heat where the Australian just never found his rhythm.

“It’s crazy. I mean the end of last year was pretty tough. But there are just so many positives to look at coming into this year. Everything that’s happened over the past couple of weeks, it’s been pretty insane. I guess it’s cool to have that feeling that everyone had who qualified at the end of last year. I get to have that feeling now at the beginning of this year.”

 February has a tough task in round three a match up against World Number 3 Julian Wilson. He is joining fellow South African Jordy Smith on the Tour.

Smith is also in round three  where he will meet Brazil’s Michael Rodriguez. World champion John John Florencer was upset in round 2, going down to Australian Mikey Wright.