A decisive moving day at the Thomo QS in Memory of Bill Thomson 1,000-level event determined Quarterfinalists in tricky, two-to-three foot conditions at Soup Bowl. Competitors made work of the scoring potential on offer and capitalized with clutch performances to seal a spot into the final day of action with some of the top event threats all through.
Some of Soup Bowl's finest remain to keep the event title on home soil while a few mainland talents are feeling right at home.
Three Barbados Contenders Remain
The hosting nation of Barbados is well-represented with three of its top competitors still in the mix on finals day. Josh Burke, defending event winner Che Allan, and Dane Mackie all made crucial Round 3 heats count to make their countrymen proud. The three used their local knowledge to its full potential in the shifting lineup, but it was Burke who was the most in rhythm and even used the rare lefthander for an explosive air-reverse that earned him a 7.90 (out of a possible 10).
Burke can take over the No. 2 spot from Kevin Schulz and solidify himself a spot in the QS 10,000s to start 2019 should things go array at the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
"I couldn't seem to get scores in my heat before during the Independence Pro so I just said screw it and went for some big airs," Burke said. "Hopefully I can keep this momentum going and the waves show up tomorrow. I feel like I have the biggest advantage out there just knowing this wave the best and it feels good to get a heat win like that when it's hard."
Chauncey Robinson: "Che and I Again? Hopefully We Put On A Good Show"
After Thursday's Round 2 witnessed a glimpse of last year's final between Allan and Chauncey Robinson, Quarterfinal Heat 2 will feature a man-on-man rematch this time around. Robinson continues to showcase his decimating forehand attack, earning an excellent 8.83 and 15.33 (out of a possible 20) heat total - the day's highest - as he returns to another finals day in 2018.
"Today was super tricky, but I think that new swell is starting to pulse now and Soup Bowl is treating me really well," Robinson said. "I knew he was getting second in that heat before me toward the end and I was paying attention to who I would get. Che (Allan) and I again? It sounds fun and hopefully we put on a good show. It's been such a long build up surfing a lot of heats between this and the Independence Pro, but it's helped keep me in rhythm."
Eithan Osborne Continues the Airshow
Ventura, California, native Eithan Osborne looks unstoppable on all fronts with a finals day appearance locked in for each of the Thomo QS 1 ,000, Live Like Zander Junior Pro, and local TSL Independence Pro events. Osborne soared off a similar lefthanded gem to Burke's that Soup Bowl offered and stomped a full-rotation for the day's highest single-wave score of 9.00. The 18-year-old now looks forward to a big weekend of surfing at one of his favorite destinations around the world.
"I'm psyched to have three Quarterfinals and it's great to be having a good relationship with Soup Bowl this year, I love this place," Osborne said. "I'm really only focused on the junior to make Worlds, but this is a bonus with no pressure and I'm feeling good. It definitely helps going into the lineup with no weight on my shoulders and it's the best vibe here. Everyone's always giving you high fives whether you win or lose and it's just amazing."
Schulz Looks to Closeout 2018 Strong
Stevie Pittman topped off a vital day of competition with a last-minute heat win, but Schulz kept his North America Regional Title hopes alive earning runner-up behind Pittman. The San Clemente, California, competitor kept the trend of finding lefts alive and traded the lead with Pittman multiple times before the horn sounded. The 23-year-old knows what the job at hand requires of him and remains in the moment to get it done.
"If I make the Semis then Josh (Burke) can't catch me so I'll just prepare for tomorrow like I have every night, taking it easy and talking to my family and my girlfriend," Schulz said. "That's the maximum I've done so far is just getting the job done after two pretty sketchy heats. I turned to the air game to try and get some scores which I'm glad worked out to get that score right away. I just don't think about it as much as I can knowing what's at stake and having my support system with family, girlfriend, sponsors, it's all just positive."
A 7:30 a.m. AST call will determine a possible 8:00 a.m. AST start to Quarterfinal action.