Chelsea Tuach put up a brilliant final performance over the weekend to claim her third consecutive World Surf League (WSL) Sprite Soup Bowl Junior Pro title.
Putting the final touch on her dream year, Tuach’s form has taken her to the top of the North America Junior Women’s rankings, securing her a spot into the World Junior Championships again, as well as earning qualification to the 2016 elite women’s Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT) through her performance on the Women’s QS.
With a new rising swell in the water, competitors were given plenty of scoring opportunity and took full advantage of the best conditions during the event window – posting near-excellent scores (8.00 or higher) throughout the day in beautiful Barbados conditions.
“It feels so great to win my last event here at home. There was so much tough competition this year, the girls were making me work for it. Luckily we had some waves for the final and I was able to snag two really good ones. I was actually pretty nervous for a while and didn’t think I would take it. I’m so relieved and so happy to be at home to celebrate with my family and friends,” Tuach said.
Posting a 15.00 heat total in the final, Tuach defeated the talents of Brisa Hennessy, Maddie Peterson (USA), and Dax McGill (Hawaii).
Finding her 7.83 and 7.17 on her final two rides, the Bajan looked to be in trouble but found the waves necessary to turn the heat and win in front of the hometown crowd.
On the boy’s side, local surfer Dane Mackie surfed strong all event long to create some major upsets and make it all the way to his first podium finish in a World Surf League Junior Pro event in his final event as a junior. Mackie finished third behind Griffin Colapinto from the United States who was also impressive over the four days with his explosive brand of surfing and Cam Richards, also from the United States, who was elated to take the title in his final Junior Pro event. Richards was electric in the water, winning every heat except his quarterfinal. He posted a 6.93 and 6.73, taking control of the final early and ending with the victory.
“It’s amazing to go out with a bang. It was my first time to Barbados and I had a great crew around me. I don’t think I had priority once during the whole final and was just having fun surfing out there. It’s really my strategy in every final I make is to just get as many waves as I can. Definitely involved a bit of luck – just so stoked it went my way,” Richards said.
Joshua Burke was another local stand- out surfer who made it all the way to the quarterfinals with his powerful, fluid surfing but he was defeated by Colt Ward from the USA
who was second and Noah Schweizer also from the USA who took the win in that heat. Burke ended equal 9th overall. Schweizer went down in the semis to Mackie, ending equal 5th overall and Colt Ward made the final, ending fourth behind Mackie.
Fourteen-year-old, Zander Venzia created quite a buzz on the first day of competition when he took out former Soup Bowl Pro junior champion and number 1 seed of the event, Parker Coffin, to end second behind eventual champion Cam Richards in Round 2 of the junior boys.
Venezia made it all the way to the quarters with his vertical, back-hand surfing, becoming the youngest surfer in the event to do so, ending equal 13th overall.
The Open Women’s final saw Tuach, the 2013 defending champion and number 2 seed of the division, pitted against an in-form Hennessy, the ISA Under-16 gold medal winner Summer Macedo, also from Hawaii, and Tia Blanco from the United States.
Hennessy found herself on the best waves to drop an 8 and a 9.33 to take a convincing win. But the battle for second was exciting and the closest in the history of the event – with Tia taking second with a heat total of 12.94, Summer taking 3rd with a 12.93 and Chelsea taking fourth with a 12.90.
In the Open Men’s Final, Mackie was once again the lone Bajan and again he excited the crowd with his radical surfing. He ended third overall behind Colapinto, who was second and Jake Davis from the United States, who claimed the Open Men’s title in his first visit to Barbados with his precise, powerful surfing, which also earned him the event’s only perfect score of a 10 in his Round 1 heat.
The Under 16 Boys Division had two top local junior surfers, Che Allan and Jacob Burke. against two French surfers. Allan and Burke put up a strong fight but eventually ended third and fourth respectively. The winner was Leo Paul Etienne from France and second was Thomas Debierre from Guadeloupe.
The Under-12 surfers were also given the opportunity to show their skills and impressed the crowd on hand with surfing way beyond their years. Twin brothers Thomas and Noé Ledée from St. Barts, were first and second respectively. Seamus Carey from the United States was third and up and coming, talented Barbadian surfer Luke Stanley was fourth.
The event was sponsored by Sprite, Banks Beer, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc, Infra Rentals, Chefette Restaurants Ltd., National Sports Council, Barbados Olympic association and Lynch Insurance Brokers.