Michael February, aka “Mickey,” is a professional surfer from Cape Town, South Africa. He was born on May 17, 1993, a year before the apartheid-era ended and Nelson Mandela became president. Due to segregation, Mickey’s father was not allowed to surf on certain beaches when he was growing up and surfing was dominated by mostly white South Africans.
However, when Michael February was just six years old, he took him surfing and after four separate sessions, he was able to stand up on his own. Mickey fell in love with surfing ever since, and his family decided to move to Kommetjie, where he was able to catch bigger waves more frequently.
Michael February started surfing by age ten and competed locally. He won a surf competition at a beach that his father was kicked out from roughly 15 years prior. His father knew that this was a breakthrough for black South African surfing.
Although Mickey’s success did not come over night, he kept pushing himself and in 2014, he joined Vans, representing South Africa. He has been given the nickname “Freestyle,” due to his effortless and unique surfing style.
In 2015, he made the Final in Martinique and in 2016, he won third place at the Azores Airline Pro. In 2018, Michael February officially qualified for the World Surf League’s 2018 Championship Tour, when Mick Fanning retired, leaving a spot open for him. He chose jersey number 54, which represents the number of countries in Africa.
Since partnering with Vans, he has been inspiring at risk-youth in South Africa and has been an inspiration for black surfers worldwide. Michael February has helped collect over 750 surfboards in partnership with the organization Waves of Change, to help kids heal through surfing.
Michael February Black Moments:
- First non-white South African 2018 World Surf League Championship Tour
- Ballito Pro Third Place
- US Open of Surfing Fifth Place
- Featured in Vans’ surf documentary “Can’t Steal Our Vibe”
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