NewsLive Like Zander Junior Pro

Live Like Zander Junior Pro: Keeping Zander's Legacy Alive

Remembering Zander Venezia: Live Like Zander Junior Pro
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Family and friends look back on what Zander Venezia meant to them and honoring him with the Live Like Zander Junior Pro.

Some of North America's top Pro Junior talents converge upon Bathsheba, Barbados, to conclude their respective seasons at one of the world's best waves known as Soup Bowl. This event began in 2013 as the Soup Bowl Junior Pro and now honors one of Barbados' own - Zander Venezia as the Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia after his death in 2017.

The 16-year-old traveled the region competing in every event and was the inspiration for bringing the Pro Juniors to his home break of Soup Bowl. Each new generation that learns to surf at the iconic reefbreak will come to learn of his positivity and impact on the Barbados surfing community for years to come. For those that grew up with him, both at home and competitors from around the region, the memories are held strong as each one of them now carries a piece of his legacy to spread that joy and love for surfing around the world.

Caleb Rapson (BRB) earning third-place in his Round One heat at the Thomo QS1,000 In Memory of Bill Thomson. Rapson prepares for his final season among the Pro Juniors in 2020 and looks to capitalize at home to end 2019. WSL / Andrew Nichols

Caleb Rapson is one of those competitors who grew up alongside Venezia and heads into his final Pro Junior event before aging out and taking on the QS full-time. For Rapson, this event is more than just a contest though his intentions to excel have never been higher.

"This event is extremely important to Barbados surfing, carrying on Zander's legacy and keeping his memory alive with events like this and will help to ensure surfing's survival and future in Barbados," Rapson said. "Zander was my friend, my mentor and my rival. He motivated me to train harder and get better and I hope by continuing to honor his legacy with events like these we can continue to grow and strengthen our surfing community here. I know my ability is better than my results (this year) and that motivates me to do better in my last event here at home and take that momentum into next year."

Louis Veneza holding an honorary Live Like Zander Junior Pro jersey. Since the Championship Tour's Jeep Leader Jersey is yellow, that color jersey was retired on the QS and Junior Tours, but a special jersey in honor of Zander Venezia, as well as Bill Thomson, was made in dedication to the event. The event was renamed in 2017 and an honory yellow jersey, no longer a useable color in the QS or Pro Juniors, was dedicated to commemorate Venezia's legacy. WSL / Andrew Nichols

Louis Venezia and Christopher Clarke continue to work alongside the Barbados Surf Association in helping invigorate the surfing culture that the island possesses and bring more events to the island. It began when Zander brought up the idea of having an event at Soup Bowl to his father since the Pro Junior events were largely held at beach breaks that tested their abilities. Now in its third year of honoring Zander, the event remains a staple in the surfing community.

"It means the world to host this event again for another year," Louis said. "Soup Bowl has always been a very popular venue and to know that it is being attended and supported in memory of Zander is heartwarming. Zander was actually the inspiration to do the first event back in 2013 so it's only fitting to keep the event going. It is always nice to see all the family and friends we have met throughout our years of traveling and competing."

The Live Like Zander Junior Pro will run November 7 - 10 at Soup Bowl, Bathsheba, Barbados.

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