The World Surf League (WSL) is excited to announce the return of theÂ Soup Bowl Pro Junior set to run November 10 â€“ 13 on the shores of Bathsheba, Barbados. This marks the fourth consecutive year the Junior Tour has returnedÂ toÂ the amazing reefbreak of Soup Bowl with Bajan coastline perfection as the backdrop to this event. It will also play host to the final determining factor toward to see who earns a bid into the World Junior Championships with the top two Junior Women and top four Junior Men staking their claim for qualification into the event.
Holding a secure lead at the No. 1 spot on the North America Junior Tour rankings,Â Alyssa Spencer (USA)Â will head to Barbados for the first time to see all the islandâ€™s splendor. Just her first year competing on the Junior Tour, Spencer is on good pace to qualify for the World Junior Championships but must finish off strong to secure her spot to New South Wales, Australia in January.
â€œI am feeling really confident going into this event ranked number one in the ratings,â€ Spencer said. â€œI know all of the other girls have been ripping so I am definitely going to have to be on top of my game to get another good finish in Barbados.Â I am super excited because the wave at Soupbowls looks so rippable and it’ll be my first time there. I have just been surfing as much as possible and trying to improve on my surfing more and more each time I go out.â€
Bajan Junior Tour and Qualifying Series (QS) surferÂ Jacob Burke (BRB)Â couldnâ€™t be happier with the event returning to the schedule once more. Still with plenty of experience to be had surfing through the Junior events, Burke has Soup Bowl as his training ground and will be gaining vital knowledge at a very unique wave.
â€œI really enjoy this event, itâ€™s not quite my homebreak being from Long Beach, but I surf it so much I consider it my homebreak,â€ Burke said. â€œIf it gets sizeable, around the six-foot range, itâ€™s really good for barrels but I prefer it when its head high and glassy and you can really open up on it. Itâ€™s pretty important to have these events on the schedule for the Juniors to get experience. Going to places like Huntington and all the beachbreaks on our tour thereâ€™s a bit of luck that plays in, just being in the right place at the right time. Whereas Soup Bowl is fairly consistent and it’s usually the best surfer who wins the event.â€
Che Allan (BRB)Â will be looking for a big result to close out the year currently sitting at No. 6 on the North America Junior Tour rankings heading into a wave heâ€™s all too familiar with. Only posting a Round 2 result last year, the BajanÂ headsÂ into Soup Bowl with much bigger ambitions this time around.
â€œI pretty much surf it every day of the week being such a consistent wave and itâ€™s so exciting to know weâ€™ll have a contest there again,â€ Allan said. â€œMy backside is definitely one of my stronger suits so this will be a big event — Iâ€™ve done well in the amateur stuff and other events but never in the Juniors with all the guys under 21 there. This year I think I have a better chance of winning with all those guys aged out of the Juniors and possibly even qualifying for Worlds. Itâ€™s a great event to have as the last one of the year.â€
Event organizers are elated with the opportunity to provide another event on the Junior Tour schedule and give these surfers more experience in a jersey on a quality wave. Christopher ClarkeÂ has been a part of the event since its inception as part ofÂ the WSL Junior Tour threeÂ years agoÂ and would like to keep this event coming back for years to come at the beautiful venue Soup Bowl has to offer — as well as the local Bajans looking to get experience in a WSL competition format.
â€œThese events help the none travelling surfersÂ see what level they have to obtain to compete with the rest of the world, and also shows some of them that they are already there,” Clarke said. “Â We have history in the surf world and we support our kids 100 percent. We try to not make a big deal of contest but deep down inside we are all competitive, and need to know amongstÂ our island that we are just as good at riding a wave as most. We just enjoy surfing not only for the competition but for the lifelong bonds and friendships it creates for our surfers.”