NewsLive Like Zander Junior ProAva McGowan

Women Make Their Debut at Live Like Zander Junior Pro

Heavy rains plagued the morning's proceedings with a full day of competition at the men's Qualifying Series (QS) Thomo QS 1,000 in Memory of Bill Thomson and both men's and women's Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia events. Implications remained at the forefront of competition with both the North America QS Regional Title hanging in the balance and a spot at the World Junior Championships on the line.

Challenging morning conditions tested Pro Junior competitors' grit as they looked to make their respective appearances into finals day.

Sawyer Lindblad Takes Down First-Ever Soup Bowl Heat

Sawyer Lindblad (USA) winning her Quarterfinal heat at the Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia. Sawyer Lindblad came out strong to defend her No. 2 ranking toward a spot at WSL Junior Championships. WSL / Andrew Nichols

The San Clemente, California, native looks to secure her place at the No. 2 spot and guarantee a place into Taiwan later this month to take on the world's best juniors - starting off in great form despite challenging conditions in her Soup Bowl debut. Lindblad's backhand was well-equipped to take on the windy sections delivered in the early goings, earning a 6.33, as she worked to find her place in the lineup at a new venue.

"That was crazy - I walked out at one of the keyholes and stepped on an urchin right away (laughs)," said Lindblad. "But I just tried not to worry about it and went to surf my heat. I was psyched that first wave came to me because then I wasn't as nervous. It feels good to start like that and gives me confidence just not surfing this wave before."

Fellow WSL Junior Championships contender Ella McCaffray also made her Quarterfinal heat count.

Ava McGowan Returns Brilliantly to Barbados

Ava McGowan (USA) winning her Quarterfinal heat at the Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia. Ava McGowan looks for a second-straight Final appearance at the Live Like Zander Junior Pro. WSL / Andrew Nichols

But it was last year's runner-up McGowan who unleashed a backhand attack of her own to garner an excellent 8.00 and set the standard heading into finals day. The Floridian, 14, continues to find her rhythm in WSL events at a young age with plenty of time to grow within the sport. McGowan hasn't missed a finals day appearance yet in her three competitions but tracks down an elusive, maiden victory.

"I was pretty stressed because they both had a wave already and I knew some time went by but I was so stoked to get that wave," said McGowan. "I was so out of breath and I couldn't tell if they said it was a four or a six (laughs). This would be a really special win after coming close last year - it'd be the best feeling."

A 7:30am will determine an 8:00am start to the local events ahead of the Quarterfinals start.

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, and Ry's on the Beach.

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