• FREDERICO MORAIS CLAIMS RUNNER UP AT JEFFREYS BAY

Photo: WSL / Steve Sherman / Kelly Cestari / Pierre Tosti

Frederico Morais has claimed a runner-up finish at the Corona J-Bay Open held in South Africa. It represents the best ever finish for a Portuguese surfer on the WSL Championship Tour (CT) and moved the 25-year-old up to No. 12 in the world.

In a giant killing run in some of the best waves ever seen for a surfing competition, Morais defeated world champions Mick Fanning, John John Florence and Gabriel Medina on the way to the final against Brazilian Filipe Toledo. A highlight was scoring a perfect 10-point ride in a last-minute defeat of the current world champion John John Florence in their quarterfinal.

"It's been the most amazing week of my life for sure," Morias said after the final. "From shark sightings to10-point rides to making my first final as a rookie on the CT. I'm most proud of stepping up against all those world champions and making a statement. That's probably what I'll take home the most from a memorable week."

"It's been a real growth period for Frederico's surfing," said Richard Marsh, Billabong's International Junior Development Coach, who has been by Fred's side for the last five years. "He has gone past the rookie stage into real self belief. I think he might look back at this week as a pivotal point in what should be a long career at the top."

Morais will now head home to a rapturous reception in Portugal for a few days before heading to California and then on to compete in the Billabong Pro Tahiti.

"The goals for this year was to requalify for next year's CT and put up performances that showed I belong," continued Morais. "I think this result has pushed me closer to both those aims. However it's nowhere near over. There is still so much work to do, and plenty of more fun to be had."