- WSL / Andrew Nichols

The World Surf League (WSL) North America Qualifying Series (QS) and Pro Juniors are back in Barbados for a massive conclusion to the 2021/22' QS season. The Barbados Surf Pro QS 3,000 and Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia pres. by Diamonds International combine to bring the best of both events to the island's famed reefbreak of Soup Bowl. Last ran in 2018, the Barbados Surf Pro changes venues to join the Live Like Zander Junior Pro which took place in 2019 before events halted and continues to honor Barbados' own Zander Venezia.

Josh Burke (BRB) earning runner-up in his Round heat at the Thomo QS 1,000 In Memory of Bill Thomson. Josh Burke remains one of Soup Bowl's standouts and now looks to add another big result to his resume at home. - WSL / Andrew Nichols

For the regional QS competitors, this marks the last chance to put their bid in for 2022 Challenger Series spots with a big result and plenty of moving room to be had with 3,000 points on the line. One of the island's own Josh Burke returns as the last QS victor of Soup Bowl, winning the 2019 Thomo QS 1,000 In Memory of Bill Thomson, and comes into this event needing points to overtake a Challenger Series qualification spot.

"This is great to have an event back here at Soup Bowl at this level," said Burke. "I know it means a lot to the community here in Bathsheba. I'm not really focusing on my win in the past and just putting everything into this event. I've been staying at a house right at Soup Bowl and surfing it as much as I can to prepare, and I'm feeling really good."

But, with former Thomo QS 1,000 and Live Like Zander Junior Pro victors in the draw that include fellow Barbadian Che Allan, three-time Thomo QS finalist Chauncey Robinson, Crosby Colapinto, Cole Houshmand, Cam Richards, and Parker Coffin, Burke and fellow competitors will have plenty to surf against.

Leilani McGonagle (CRI) at the Soup Bowl Pro Junior Leilani McGonagle returns to Soup Bowl for the first time since her win in 2016 and is looking for another big result as reigning Barbados Surf Pro victor. - WSL / Lucas Murnaghan

While Alyssa Spencer controls the No. 1 spot with four wins this season, women looking to put their name the Top 7 include the likes of former Live Like Zander Junior Pro and reigning Barbados Surf Pro victor Leilani McGonagle.

"I've had some of the best breakthrough moments of my career here," said McGonagle. "Obviously I'm gunning for the win, but most of all I just want to do my best surfing. Since all our events this year have been 1,000 theres a lot of changes that can happen for challenger series qualification. I believe I deserve to be in those events this year, so it gives me extra motivation for this one."

McGonagle's result in Morro Bay gave her a shot coming into a wave she knows all too well after winning at this venue in 2016. But, she will have to overpower a plethora of talent including current No. 2 Caitlin Simmers, former Championship Tour (CT) surfer - and three-time Junior Pro winner - Chelsea Tuach, former Live Like Zander Junior Pro winner Kirra Pinkerton, ‘The Ultimate Surfer' winner Tia Blanco, and many more.

"This event is close to my heart since it's in honor of Zander," added McGonagle. "I always feel super thankful and happy to be in Barbados, and miss his smiling face in the lineup. I know he'd be pushing himself and having fun through this event, so I hope to channel that energy and beautiful mindset Z always carried."

Kirra Pinkerton (USA) earning runner-up in her Quarterfinal heat at the Soup Bowl Pro Junior Former Live Like Zander Junior Pro victor Kirra Pinkerton is back and looking for a big result on both fronts. - WSL / Andrew Nichols

Some of the top talents in North America 20-and-under return to action at an event that started in 2013. One of the region's longest-running Pro Junior events, the event took on the name to commemorate Barbados' beloved Zander Venezia. An emotional 2017 event crowned Pinkerton and Houshmand the event victors and now Pinkerton is back to surf in both contests - currently sitting at No. 7 on the QS rankings and No 13 on the Pro Junior rankings.

"I'm really happy to be here and see everyone after three years since being in Barbados," said Pinkerton. "Last time I surfed Soup Bowl was for the Live Like Zander, which was a special event not just because I won, but because it was in honor of Zander, his family, and friends. Hoping I can put it together again for Z."

"I feel more confident after having won an event at this wave, but I've also been coming here since I was 11 absolutely love this island," added Pinkerton. "It's one of my favorite places in the world and to get another win would be mean a lot."

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

A win in Cocoa Beach, Florida put Tommy Coleman atop the rankings for the men's Pro Juniors as he looks for another big result at a wave he's earned a Final result in. However, he will have to deal with the likes of in-form competitors such as Jett Schilling, Taro Watanabe, Levi Slawson and many more.

"Feeling great and wasn't sure if I was going to do this event," said Coleman. "Ended up getting in and super pumped up to get it going. It's been a long time and I love this place. Love the people and it feels great to see them all again."

A 7:30 a.m. AST call will determine a likely 8:00 a.m. start to competition.

The Barbados Surf Pro QS 3,000 and Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia presented by Diamonds International will run March 28 - April 3.

Watch all the action LIVE beginning from start to finish at www.WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL App, or YouTube platforms.

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