A few things are key when two events overlap such as the Thomo QS1000 in Memory of Bill Thomson and men's Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia where much of the field compete in both; consistency and, in the case of shifting Soup Bowl peaks, rhythm. When those factors are on the competitor's side, even an up-and-coming talent can take down experienced surfers -- a trend that's occurred so far in competition here.
The Thomo QS1,000 In Memory of Bill Thomson Round Three action followed Round Two Heat 4 of the Live Like Zander Junior Pro and more excellent surfing followed.
Gabriel Morvil's first trip to the island nation now finds him in the Quarterfinals, matching his best career result, with a lot of momentum. The Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, competitor equaled the event's highest single-scoring wave of a 9.17, and outright event high heat total of 17.00, with more of his dominant forehand attacks -- winning the back- and-forth battle with Barbados' Che Allan who advanced on.
"There's just no pressure on me here I think and that's really helping me just enjoy every heat," Morvil said. "Luckily the waves kept coming to me and giving me some open face to work with. Earlier today I think it was a little more shouldered up and this afternoon the waves were just lining up, and it's a little bigger today. This atmosphere is such a relaxed environment and this year I told myself there was no pressure so it's definitely helping to prepare as it's my last year as a junior."
Both Josh Burke and Allan remain in contention to keep the inaugural Thomo QS1,000 on home soil after brilliant performances in Round Three, but will face off in the Quarterfinals. This marks Burke's second finals day on his home island in 2017, but has more than a Semifinal finish in mind here at Soup Bowl.
"I'm just trying my best out there and I've been a unfortunate not to get these great conditions that I see come through all day so it's nice to keep making heats," Burke said. "I won't say I was expecting to make finals day here, but I know my ability at this wave and feel like I should be making it to the Final."
Tyler Gunter's performances at Soup Bowl are his best so far in his young career and carries plenty of momentum into the weekend where he still competes in both events. Gunter still has one more year remaining in the Junior Tour and is taking advantage of earning valuable QS points early on. The goofyfooter found his spot in the lineup and kept to his game plan.
"I felt a really good rhythm out there and I just love this wave," Gunter said. "The wave just fits backside surfing so well and you can just rip into the pocket. Hopefully I have a lot of heats ahead of me and I'm really pumped for tomorrow. I'm more focused on the juniors with the task at hand there, but at the same time it'd be great to win this event to and get a 1,000 points toward making it into the QS6,000s next year so there's a goal for both of these."
In honor of the Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Memory of Zander Venezia, and the outpour of support from around the world, the Venezia family have begun their Zander Venezia Foundation to aid and assist disabled and at-risk children throughout Barbados. Donations can be made here: http://www.gofundme.com/livelikezander.
"Zander's short, but incredible time here on Earth has had a ripple effect on so many people, crossing borders of nationality and age," Zander's father, Louis, said. "All the donations will go directly to helping these children that Zander was touched so deeply by, causing that ripple effect to become a tidal wave of love for the less fortunate."
Event organizers will meet at 7:30 a.m. AST for a possible 8:00 a.m. AST start.