2017 was a tough year for the surfing community, and island as a whole, of Barbados with the loss of two of its own. Before the untimely passing of Zander Venezia that rattled many around the world, Barbados lost one of its surfing pioneers and competitive icons Bill "Thomo" Thomson. Thomson helped push the competitive surfing scene to new heights and getting the likes of Alan Burke, father to QS campaigners Josh and Jacob, to competing around the world.
Alan Burke continues to work alongside Louis Venezia and Christopher Clarke, along with a team of board members for the Thomo event, to ensure this event's return each year.
"We at the Bill Thomson Charity are proud to once again make this event happen for the third-consecutive year," Thomo Chairman of Trustees Alan Burke said. "As one of the founding executives of the reformation of the Barbados Surfing Association In 1983, and accredited for bringing National ,International & Professional Surfing To Soup Bowl every November since 1981, Thomo would be humbled and proud to know that this World Surf League event was conceptualized in his honor & memory. Especially as it coincides with the WSL Live Like Zander Junior being that Thomo played a major role in providing opportunities for upcoming Junior surfers from Barbados."
"We thank all the Thomo Charity supporters,the Barbados Surfing Association. Surf Promotions Barbados and the island of Barbados for hosting the WSL Thomo QS 1000 In memory of Bill Thomson and the WSL Live Like Zander Junior Pro In memory of Zander Venezia at Soup Bowl - its a match made in heaven."
This event at Soup Bowl gives spectators and local competitors an opportunity to witness top-class surfing in their own backyard while gaining important WSL points. It also offers competitors such as defending event winner Chauncey Robinson, who has been attending the Pro Junior event since its 2016 and claimed the local Independence Pro title last year as well, a chance to develop their talents away from home at a world-class wave.
"Im always so grateful to return back to Barbados," Robinson said. "Soup Bowl is easily one of the top 5 best waves on the QS, and we're so fortunate to have it on the schedule again this year. Winning last year was absolutely amazing and to defend that win would be awesome. I'm really just looking forward to sharing waves with everyone on the island that has become family to me over the years."
Winning the Independence Pro was absolutely incredible, I feel honored to be a part of Barbados' surfing history even if it's just a small piece," Robinson added. "Zander won the Independence Pro a few times along with some of the all-time greatest out at Soup Bowl and to be a part of that is so special to me. The first time I went to Barbados was for a free-surf trip at age 16, Zander showed me the ropes of how Soup Bowl worked and showed technique well beyond his years, and for that I'm eternally grateful."
The Thomo QS 1,000 In Memory of Bill Thomson will run November 7 - 10 at Soup Bowl, Bathsheba, Barbados.