A few things are key when two events overlap such as the Thomo QS1000 in Memory of Bill Thomson and men's Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia where much of the field compete in both; consistency and, in the case of shifting Soup Bowl peaks, rhythm. When those factors are on the competitor's side, even an up-and-coming talent can take down experienced surfers -- a trend that's occured so far in competition here.
The men's Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia opened up the day's surfing with incredible performances. All the competitors still on the hunt for a World Junior Championships spot remain standing.
Kade Matson continues to show he's a threat to the future QS scene with powerful surfing at age 15. The San Clemente, California, native showcased that power and style all day at Soup Bowl as he posted both of the day's highest heat totals -- a 16.57 (out of a possible 20) in Round One and a 16.60 in Round Two. Though Matson is out of the running for earning a spot into the Top 4, it's not stopped him from displaying his full potential after a big run at the HIC Sunset Pro QS3,000, in which he earned a Quarterfinal result.
"This is the funnest Soup Bowl I've ever surfed, it's just ridiculous," Matson said. "I'm just going out and having fun since I have nothing to lose, there's no pressure and I'm just going out for another surf it feels like which seems to be working. I'm still psyched on that Sunset event and then had a few days at home to regroup, so to come straight into really fun waves again is amazing."
Current No. 6 Tommy Coleman is keeping pace with the Top 4 picture and earned the juniors highest single-scoring wave of a 9.10 in his Round One bout. But, he still has to face current No. 2 John Mel, along with Barbados' Evan Moll and up-and-comer Santiago Hart, in his Round Two heat to stay on track. The Floridian's innovative backhand attack will be one to watch over the weekend as he vies for a spot into the World Junior Championships.
"I was really nervous since I haven't had a good heat since I've been here so when I saw that wave coming it was just amazing to really open up," Coleman said. "It's nice to get through that first heat for the junior and I'll just keep that mentality of step-by-step going into tomorrow."
South Carolina native Luke Gordon unleashed his forehand attack on the prime Soup Bowl conditions and earned a winning 15.80 heat total in Round Two after a Round One win that included an excellent 8.00. He is now safely into the Quarterfinals, but knows the work is not done yet to solidify his spot among the Top 4, while also still in the running for a QS win.
"Even though yesterday I got my first official heat out of the way, I was so nervous this morning," Gordon said. "But, I'm feeling good now and the waves are fun so whatever happens, happens. It's pretty much whoever's on the best waves and it's crazy to see everybody ripping. But, I'm not going to think about it too much and just wake up to do my best."
Also still remaining is current No. 5 Tyler Gunter, who must keep pace with Gordon to overtake him, and No. 1Ryland Rubens with a chance to clinch the North America Regional Junior Title drawing closer each heat.
In honor of the Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia, the Venezia family have founded the Zander Venezia Foundation to aid and assist disabled and underprivileged children throughout Barbados. Donations can be made here: http://www.gofundme.com/livelikezander.
"Zander's short, but incredible time here on Earth has had a ripple effect on so many people, crossing borders of nationality and age," Zander's father, Louis said. "All the donations will go directly to helping these children that Zander was touched so deeply by, causing that ripple effect to become a tidal wave of love for the less fortunate."
Event organizers will reconvene at 7:30 a.m. AST for a possible 8:00 a.m. AST start.