International surfing returns to the “Soup Bowl” at Bathsheba this weekend with the staging of the 2017 Hyundai Barbados Pro-Independence Surfing Festival.
Several top-rated international surfers will match skills with Barbados’ best, at the popular East-Coast break, for cash prizes and glory.
The three-day Festival starts tomorrow with preliminary events before action heats up on Saturday and Sunday at the Soup Bowl venue that is being transformed to reflect the island’s enviable beach culture.
Organisers reported that among those already on the island for the event are ISA champions, Frenchmen Thomas Debiere and Leopold Etienne, and Russian competitors Nikita Avdeev, Polina Alexandra and Nikita Petrov.
Top Barbados surfers Che Allan, brothers Dane and Bruce Mackie, and Josh Burke will be among those in action in the men’s division while Chelsea Roett and Melanie Pitcher are among those down to compete in the women’s category.
Surf Festival co-ordinator Nicholas Donawa revealed that the Hyundai Pro-Surfing contest would carry a purse of $10,000 for men and $5, 000 for women.
“Excitement is building for a great weekend. We are bringing back the surfing village atmosphere at the Soup Bowl where there will be exciting surfing and a range of other activities, along with good food and music,” Donawa said.
Among the several components of the Festival weekend will be the Hyundai Independence Pro-Surfing competition for men and women; a Junior Grom international event for surfers between the ages of 10 and 16 years; a throw-back event for Legends of Barbadian surfing; music in a surfing village ; live commentary; bikini contests and a fun-zone for children.
The Festival is a sports-tourism event being organised by the Barbados Surfing Association (BSA) and backed by the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI).
Senior general manager of sponsors Courtesy Garage, Nicholas Mackie, said Hyundai was happy to partner the BSA in staging the Festival which allowed local competitors to match skills with world-rated visitors.
They were also fully supportive, he said, of efforts to bring back that Festival atmosphere to the Soup Bowl, where locals and visitors could mingle in a friendly environment.
Mackie also praised the initiative in staging the event for Legends, noting that there were certain names from the 1970s and 80s, that always come up when there was talk about surfing in Barbados.