A massive year in the North America Men's Junior Tour is coming to an even bigger close on the shores of Barbados Nov. 10 - 13. Nolan Rapoza's brilliant year that witnessed him rise to No. 1 with a win and two runner-up finishes punched his ticket to New South Wales, Australia to compete in the World Junior Championships. Kei Kobayashi currently sits firmly ranked at No. 2 and is unable to fall out of the Top 4 -- ultimately leaving just two spots open.
How it Works: The Top 4 ranked surfers from each region (Australasia, Africa, Europe, Hawaii, Japan, North America, and South America) will directly qualify for the World Junior Championships. In addition to these 28 competitors, four wildcards will be selected to join them. The 32 juniors will do battle for a chance to earn a seed into the top level Qualifying Series events for 2017.
Currently sitting inside the Top 4 though vulnerable to falling out, No. 3 Jake Marshall heads into the final event of the year needing a result to solidify his position. A hungry pack of able surfers is ready to contest for those spots and have the potential of doing so if the cards fall their way -- and Marshall doesn't better his lowest result.
Rank: 5 Points: 1,960
Requirements: Equal 9th or better
After a vital win at his native Newport homebreak of 56th Street, Gunter put himself into a qualification scenario -- and with the absence of No. 4 Griffin Colapinto, his chances increase ten-fold. But, he will have plenty of work to do and Cole Houshmand to fend off. With an Equal 9th, Gunter slips just past Colapinto into the No. 4 ranking with 2,060 points and a bid into the World Junior Championships.
Rank: 6 Points: 1,855
Requirements: Equal 5th or better
Also dropping 200 points alongside Gunter, Houshmand's Equal 5th at the RVCA Pro Junior put him in contention for a place into the World Junior Championships. Houshmand's 2016 has only yielded one Finals appearance so far this year and will need to keep pace with Gunter in Barbados -- and ultimately better him by two placings.
Something to Consider: If Jake Marshall does not better his lowest result, an Equal 17th, by making it past his debut Round 2 heat, Gunter and Houshmand could take the No. 3 and No. 4 spots. Both would need an Equal 5th result to do so.
Fellow contenders are heavily relying on the faltering of the above surfers -- needing to at least make the Final to have a chance. But, in that respect: Luke Gordon, Chauncey Robinson, Ryland Rubens, Che Allan, Micky Clarke, and John Mel all may jump into the No. 4 spot if circumstances arise.
The Soup Bowl Pro Junior takes place Nov. 10 - 13. Look for live scoring and daily updates throughout the event.