An opportunity to start with a seed at the highest-rated Qualifying Series (QS) next year is on the line at Soup Bowl November 6 - 10, but the Thomo QS 1,000 in Memory of Bill Thomson means a lot more than that to the island of Barbados.
The surfing community of Barbados was rattled last year, losing 16-year-old Zander Venezia to heavy surf and one of the island's competitive pioneers Bill "Thomo" Thomson after unexpected health complications. But, the Barbadian spirit is not easily kept down and, with the likes of Alan Burke leading the charge on the men's QS front, both events are back to celebrate their lives.
"Having the Thomo QS 1000 coincide with the Live Like Zander Junior Pro is a match made in heaven, they will be for sure watching over the event," Burke said. "Thomo was the father of modern competitive surfing in Barbados and in particular international surfing. To have a WSL event in his memory is a perfect fit."
When Burke mentions being the father of competitive surfing, it wasn't just within the beauty Barbados holds and an extended event window hopes to capture what Soup Bowl can truly deliver.
"He played a major role of implementing the Caribbean Cup to our region back in November 1985 with the Orchard International and pretty much every year since then. With the event window larger this year, expect Soup bowl to light up during this time."
Burke's eldest son Josh is a byproduct of what Thomson started back in 1985 and is one of the island's top hopes for a chance at Championship Tour (CT) qualification at the moment -- currently sitting at No. 101 on the rankings. Now, the 21-year-old looks to pay homage to one of his mentors and make him proud with a second QS win of 2018, but this time at his home break.
"It's really cool to have a QS in memory of Uncle Bill," Burke said. "He loved the competitive aspect of surfing. This event provides the Bajans with an opportunity to gain valuable points without leaving home and the experience competing against talented athletes. I love surfing contests at SoupBowl, especially when there's good swell, so hopefully we are blessed with some dreamy waves during the event."
Last year's inaugural winner Che Allan brought a long-awaited QS title back to his home island after Josie Graves earned the last Soup Bowl QS win in 2007 for Puerto Rico. Now, he looks to defend that title in honor of Thomson and earn some valuable points toward his 2019 campaign.
The Thomo QS 1,000 in Memory of Bill Thomson will run November 6 - 10 at Soup Bowl, Bathsheba, Barbados.