- WSL / Andrew Nichols

The epic conclusion to the World Surf League (WSL) North America Qualifying Series (QS) and Pro Junior seasons, respectively, awaits opening day of the Barbados Surf Pro QS 5,000 and Live Like Zander Junior Pro presented by Diamonds International In Loving Memory of Zander Venezia beginning March 27 - April 2. Barbados' world-renowned reef break of Soup Bowl, located on the island's east coast, will test competitors' ability to read its lineup and wave as they hunt down vital points that could change the course of their respective seasons.

With the event being upgraded to a QS 5,000, anything is possible to shuffle the men's and women's rankings, as well as a third result for the Pro Juniors to count toward their opportunity of qualifying for the World Junior Championships.

Chelsea Tuach Prepares For Barbados Surf Pro Pres. By Diamonds International Title Defense At Home
The reigning Queen of Soup Bowl, Chelsea Tuach, talks the comfort of home to handle the pressure of defending her 2022 victory.

Last year marked a momentous finish to the season for Barbados' own Chelsea Tuach after returning to the WSL jersey at Soup Bowl and reclaiming her throne as Queen of Soup Bowl. Tuach had previously won three-straight junior events before aging out and wasted no time finding herself back atop the podium in 2022 at the QS 3,000. Now, the former Championship Tour (CT) competitor sits just outside the Top 4 with a massive opportunity once again to earn her way back to the Challenger Series.

"I would like to say I put it out of my head, but it does get to you," said Tuach. "When I won the three juniors in a row before aging out and then coming back as a QS 3,000, I really wanted to win and it was a dream come true. That pressure kept me focused and onto the next heat, so I'm hoping to do the same this year. But, of course it's going to be even [harder] with all the girls surfing so well."

Tuach, alongside fellow Barbadian Chelsea Roett, will look to keep the event title on home soil with the likes of current No. 1 Sawyer Lindblad, recent Ron Jon Quiksilver ROXY Pro winner Bella Kenworthy, former junior event victors Kirra Pinkerton and Leilani McGonagle, and more looking to take a big win of their own.

Josh Burke Ready For Redemption At Barbados Surf Pro Pres. By Diamonds International
The former Soup Bowl victor and Barbados' own Josh Burke locks in for the QS 5,000, plus what's in store for the event the island's future generations.

Former Soup Bowl QS victor Josh Burke returns for his redemption after an early exit in 2022 as the Barbadian is one of Soup Bowl's top-tier competitors. The 26-year-old remains a Challenger Series qualification threat with multiple Quarterfinal finishes this season, but also knows the impact of this event beyond his own opportunities as it continues to provide a platform for future generations of competitors to witness high-performance showcases at home.

"It's always good to have a contest in Barbados," said Burke. "It's good for the kids and very happy it's a QS 5,000 now. Last year didn't go my way so this is my redemption year, and I can't wait to hopefully get barreled in a contest. It looks like there is a good swell coming, so hopefully get to do a few big turns. We have a couple generations coming up which is why these events are so important."

Barbados will be well represented with Burke joined by his brother, Jacob, former QS and Pro Junior victor Che Allan, Caleb Rapson, Ocean Gittens, and Kai St.George. But, they will be dealing with highly-capable competitors including current No. 1 Dimitri Poulos, reigning event victor Michael Dunphy, recent Cabarete Pro victor Cole Houshmand, current No. 2 Evan Geiselman, former junior victor Cam Richards, plus an international field including Costa Rica's recent Quarterfinalist in Cabarete, Malakai Martinez, South Africa's Tide-Lee Ireland, and many more.

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.

The Live Like Zander Junior Pro pres. by Diamonds International In Loving Memory of Zander Venezia provides the ultimate finish to the juniors' seasons while celebrating the life of Barbados' beloved Venezia. Now in its fifth year of running, the emerging generation of competitors look to make their mark and solidify their place within World Junior Championships qualification.

Current No. 1's Talia Swindal and Reed Platenius come into this event with their best season's to date, respectively. Swindal's runner-up at the Ron Jon Quiksilver ROXY Pro Junior put her atop the rankings by a slim margin while Platenius' impressive, back-to-back Finals earned him a runner-up and maiden WSL victory. But, both will have to fend off talented fields of North America's top competitors 20-and-under.

Talia Swindal (USA) Talia Swindal (USA) looks for another big result to solidify herself within the Top 2 - WSL / Kurt Steinmetz

"This past past year on the QS has been a lot of fun, it's my first year fully committing to do almost all the events so definitely lots of learning and adjusting," said Swindal. "I have never been to Barbados before, but I have only heard amazing things and I love a good right more than anything. I grew up surfing right hand points so it makes me super excited that the last event of the season is at Soup Bowl. I think some of the biggest takeaways of the year so far is how much I have learned about surfing and myself. I am super grateful for the opportunity to be able to go to Barbados and I am feeling really ready to get back into the jersey."

Reed Platenius (CAN) Reed Platenius looks to earn his third-consecutive Finals appearance in 2023 Pro Junior competition. - WSL / Kurt Steinmetz

"This place is so special," said Platenius. "Even just walking down to the surf everyone waves at you, smiles and says hi, It's so refreshing. It's so relaxing to have minimal distractions.," said Platenius. "Last year was my first time here and I was limping around on an ankle injury. I felt like I got a good idea of how to approach the wave, but couldn't surf it to my full potential. It's so nice to feel healthy and be able to surf my best this year. I'm just gonna enjoy my time and be that frothing grom that wants to surf all day. When I'm in that headspace at events I tend to do my best."

Event organizers will convene at 7:30 a.m. AST for a possible 8:00 a.m. AST start to competition.

Watch LIVE

The Barbados Surf Pro and Live Like Zander Junior Pro pres. by Diamond International will open on March 27 and hold a competition window through April 2, 2023. Once called ON, the event will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, WSL's YouTube channel, and the free WSL app.

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