Claiming her third consecutive World Surf League (WSL) Sprite Soup Bowl Junior Pro, Chelsea Tuach (BRB) put up a brilliant final performance to earn a victory over runner-up Brisa Hennessy (HAW). Putting the final touch on her dream year, Tuach's form has taken her to the top of the North America Junior Women's rankings, securing her a spot into the World Junior Championships again, as well as earning qualification to the 2016 elite women's Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT) through her performance on the Women's QS.
With a new rising swell in the water, competitors were given plenty of scoring opportunity and took full advantage of the best conditions during the event window - posting near-excellent scores (8.00 or higher) throughout the day in beautiful Barbados conditions.
"It feels so great to win my last event here at home," Tuach said. "There was so much tough competition this year, the girls were making me work for it. Luckily we had some waves for the Final and I was able to snag two really good ones - I was actually pretty nervous for a while and didn't think I would take it. I'm so relieved and so happy to be at home to celebrate with my family and friends."
Posting a 15.00 heat total in the Final, Tuach defeated the talents of Hennessy, Maddie Peterson (USA), and Dax McGill (HAW). Finding her 7.83 and 7.17 on her final two rides, the Bajan looked to be in trouble but found the waves necessary to turn the heat and win in front of the hometown crowd.
"I went into the Final just thinking I only need two waves so I sat out the back just waiting," Tuach said. "All the girls had gotten a wave on the previous set and I was just left waiting, but a really good one came through and I was actually too late and went over the falls, so I really needed to regroup. I only had to find a medium wave to get back on my feet and got a 5 so I didn't need a big score to get into first - played it cool and Maddie let a set wave go so I took advantage of that."
Earning runner-up and solidifying her place in the World Junior Championships through the Hawaiian region, Brisa Hennessy (HAW) ripped through a stacked Semifinal and found herself in the Final - but couldn't quite find the scores to overtake the in-form Tuach.
"I'm so happy with my result here," Hennessy said. "The waves were super fun and I got to surf against so many amazing girls. Finding out I qualified for the Worlds is the best feeling ever. It was great to have that rhythm in the Semifinals but just couldn't get it together in the Final against Chelsea. She was surfing amazing and it's so inspiring to surf against these talented girls."
Making it to the Semifinals, Tia Blanco (USA) earned her qualification into the World Championships alongside Tuach for North America and is elated with the opportunity. Watching from the sidelines in past years, it is now her chance to compete for a Junior World Title.
"I've never made Worlds before and this is my last year as a Junior so I'm really excited to make it," Blanco said. "Surprisingly I don't feel a lot of pressure and just want to give it my best. I've watched the World Juniors for the past three years and I can't believe I'm a part of it."