The iconic Soup Bowl of Bathsheba, Barbados, can experience an array of conditions and weather sitting at the tip of the Caribbean and that was evidence today - along with the concept of anything can happen in any given moment.
From rain to sunshine, competitors powered through Round 2 of both the men's Qualifying Series (QS) Thomo QS 1,000 in Memory of Bill Thomson and Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia. A chance at competing among the world's best juniors is at stake and the contenders showed they're ready.
The current North America No. 3 Alan Cleland is fighting told hold his place into the WSL Junior Championships and showed he's ready for the challenge with the event's highest single-wave and heat total in his debut. The Pascaules, Mexico, native found a 9.60 to open up the heat after navigating through the first barrel of the event and finishing off strong on the inside. But, Cleland wasn't done there and locked in an excellent 8.67, totaling an incredible 18.27 (out of a possible 20) heat total, on his forehand attack, and already adds points to his cause by making it out of Round 2 as well as winning his Thomo QS 1,000 Round 2 heat.
"I've just been having fun and getting really good waves, there's nothing else you really need," Cleland said. "It was the best feeling considering there was 15-to-20 knot, onshore winds and I'm glad I know how to ride barrels because it was a tricky one. I get to surf way more with both events and it helps me get more consistent. Hopefully I can make it far in both of them but my focus on the Pro Juniors and I'll try to my best."
Fellow WSL Junior Championship contender Tommy Coleman found his form as well and earned a crucial Round 2 victory and also joins Cleland in the Thomo QS Round 3 after earning a solid 7.33 along the way following a great performance at the ISA World Junior Games.
From Gold to Soup Bowl Momentum for Dimitri Poulos
Dimitri Poulos (USA) may not be in contention for a Top 3 spot, but the Ventura, California, native came out in terrific form following a solo Gold Medal at the ISA World Junior Games. Poulos' 7.33 easily secured safe passage into the Quarterfinals as he looks to finish the year strong with one season remaining in his Pro Junior career.
"I bogged in my QS heat so it feels good to actually get waves that feel decent in a heat and get the ball rolling," said Poulos. "My surfing felt fine, but just getting the right waves was important so I was stoked to find a couple in that heat. I don't think you can beat winning a Gold Medal then coming straight here, it's surreal. I didn't do too many events this year just focusing on amateur events still but next year I'm planning on getting more into these events."
Isauro Elizondo Right at Home
Panama's own Elizondo put on a display of solid surfing after making his Soup Bowl debut in Thursday's proceedings. Elizondo followed up that performance with more forehand dominance to lock in a 7.00 in his Round 2 battle with top seeds Taro Watanabe and Caleb Rapson, both eliminated behind Caleb Crozier.
"The waves were firing in that heat and just watching the heats before mine I noticed the judges were looking for big turns on the outside so I was focusing on trying to find those waves," said Elizondo. "This is my first time here and it reminds me a bit of home with a lot of water moving, and needing to know what board to ride. It's such a fun wave and I feel really comfortable out there now."
Event organizers will reconvene at 9:00am AST to start the Live Like Zander Junior Pro women's event before moving into junior men's Quarterfinals and Thomo QS Round 3 battles.
The Thomo QS 1,000 In Memory of Bill Thomson and Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia will run November 7 - 10 at Soup Bowl, Bathsheba, Barbados. The event is supported by Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Tourism Development Corporation, Eco LifeStyle and Lodge, Infra Rentals. Lynch insurance Brokers, The Atlantis Historic Inn, BHTA, TSL Barbados Glacial Pure, Sun,Group Hotels. Drive a Matic Car Rentals, Garbage Master, Peg Farms Container Services, Zander Venezia Trust, Thomo Charity, Barbados Surfing Association, Creative Junction, Ry's on the Beach.