Barbados' surfing has been on the rise within the last five years from such competitors as Josh and Jacob Burke, as well as Bruce and Dane Mackie. Not to mention its first Championship Tour competitor Chelsea Tuach in 2015, alongside Qualifying Series (QS) warrior Chelsea Roett.
But, only Che Allan and Tuach have claimed a victory at the WSL level on their home island. The 19-year-old earned his maiden WSL victory in 2016 at the Soup Bowl Pro Junior, now the Live Like Zander Junior Pro, and claimed the inaugural Thomo QS1000 in Memory of Bill Thomson last year for his first-ever QS win. Now, Allan is back to defend that win against some of the region's best.
WSL caught up with one of Soup Bowl's finest ahead of next week's event.
WSL: What did it mean to win the inaugural Thomo event and bring back a QS title to Barbados after 10 years?
Che Allan: It was special winning the first year in memory of Bill even though it wasn't my main focus just trying to qualify for World Juniors that year. I think having no pressure in the Thomo event really helped. There hadn't been a local win at Soup Bowl in awhile in terms of QS or Pro events so it felt great to do that.
How important are these events and a world-class wave like Soup Bowl?
It's a great event to have on schedule. It's an amazing wave and feels good to have a chance at points near home without any traveling. There is a little bit of pressure just from the last two years of winning events at Soup Bowl, but I'm not trying to think about that too much.
Do you approach this event any different or keep it simple?
The next few days I'll just keep living the normal day-to-day -- working with my dad, surfing Soup Bowl in the evening and stay healthy. A few days before the event I'll start trying out boards and really putting in the time there.
Being home definitely helps just surfing at the local break, having friends and family around, and sleeping in my bed is amazing. It's all about being comfortable when it comes to competing I've learned.
This was also your first full year on the QS. What has this year consisted of and learning the travel aspect?
The QS is definitely a grind, but this year I just wanted to take it a little easier after the stress of qualifying for Worlds the last two years. So I did a few events that were close to home, or cool places, or convenient like the Australian events since I was already there and actually got a few good results which was great.
We'll see what happens next year and maybe doing a few more.
Look for Che Allan and plenty more of North America's top regional talents at the Thomo QS 1,000 in Memory of Bill Thomson beginning November 6 - 10 at Soup Bowl, Barbados.