The North America Qualifying Series (QS) and Pro Juniors last stepped foot on the island of Barbados in November of 2019 to finalize regional rankings on both fronts. Now, the Barbados Surf Pro QS 3,000 is back, alongside the Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia, but this time at the world-class wave of Soup Bowl and with the same implications.
The team at Barbados Surf Promotions Limited, led by Christopher Clarke and Louis Venezia, made their vision a reality by bringing a high-level QS event to the island in 2017 with the inaugural Barbados Surf Pro. Held at Drill Hall Beach on Barbados' south coast, Clarke and Venezia's goal was eventually to bring that same event to Soup Bowl's heavy reefbreak.
"It is great to finally have this level of QS at Soup Bowl for the first time ever," said Clarke. "Soup Bowl has been the mecca of Caribbean surfing for decades and this event will show why. We have some solid surfers and the forecast is looking very positive to have some high performance wedges for the competitors to show their moves."
Former event victors include former Championship Tour (CT) competitors Keanu Asing and Claire Bevilacqua in 2017, along with current North America No. 10 Leilani McGonagle and now CT rookie Lucca Mesinas in 2018. McGonagle remains the only surfer returning to reclaim her place atop the podium in this year's reboot and a big result is exactly what she needs.
A venue change will test McGonagle and her fellow competitors as Soup Bowl's ability to turn on is not for the faint of heart, but the majority of those in attendance have spent plenty of time at the iconic righthander performing at the Pro Junior and QS 1,000 level.
"It is always a good time when we get to remember and celebrate our fallen brother Zander Venezia in these Pro Junior events," added Clarke. "The surfers never disappoint in honoring his name."
"I'm just so excited that we finally have the WSL back to showcase what an iconic wave we have at Soup Bowl," said Venezia. "As of now these events are the crowning jewels for both the North America QS and Pro Juniors which makes it that much more exciting. These events determine the Challenger Series surfers and possibly the World Junior Championships juniors."
"This 3,000-level event seems to have a great track record in that, previous surfers who have won this event have qualified for the CT," added Venezia. "We're hoping this keeps that streak alive and that our local surfers perform well to send Barbados into that next realm once more after Chelsea Tuach made it a reality a few years ago."
Those tested group of competitors are joined by a stacked field ready to make their presence known and vie for valuable, needed points to secure their spot on the Challenger Series rankings. In that list are the likes of former QS Soup Bowl victors Josh Burke, sitting just outside the cutoff, Chauncey Robinson, and Che Allan.
The Barbados Surf Pro QS 3,000 and Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia will run March 28 - April 3, and be streamed live throughout the event window.