San Clemente’s Kei Kobayashi earned the high heat-total on opening day of the Sprite Soup Bowl Pro Junior.
SOUP BOWL, Barbados (Friday, November 15, 2013) – The opening day of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 1-Star Sprite Soup Bowl Pro Junior presented by the Barbados Tourism Authority narrowed the Men’s field down from the Round of 64 to just 16 Quarterfinalists in wind blown two-to-four foot waves at Barbados’ righthand pointbreak of Soup Bowl.
The Sprite Soup Bowl Pro Junior represents the first stop on the 2013-2014 ASP North America Pro Junior Series, offering crucial seed points towards surfers’ qualification campaigns towards the coveted ASP World Junior Championships.
Kei Kobayashi (San Clemente, CA), 15, was a standout on the opening day of Sprite Soup Bowl Pro Junior competition, taking the high heat total of 14.67 in the Round of 32 while securing a Quarterfinals berth.
“I love surfing,” Kobayashi said. “I grew up surfing Lowers and I love point breaks. I’ve done a lot of NSSA events and I think it’s helping me a lot in my surfing career. I plan on doing as many contests as I can and hopefully I can grind a result out. I came down here with my Dad and I love the warm water. It’s a rad place and the people are so nice.”
Kevin Schulz (San Clemente, CA), 18, was impressive in the righthanders of Soup Bowl, belting committed backhand combinations while posting the day’s high single-wave score of an excellent 8.17 out of 10 in his Round of 64 heat. Schulz would go on to take two heat wins while advancing to the Quarterfinals and felt that surfing Soup Bowl on his backhand proved to be an advantage.
“That 8 doubled up really good on the reef and I was just able to go vertical two times on my backhand. It’s a super fun wave on your backhand. You can go straight up in to the lip and don’t have to carve around too much. I’d say the goofy footers have an advantage.”
Schulz, one of the more experienced competitors at the Sprite Soup Bowl Pro Junior, is hoping the kick off his new season with a bang and is eyeing a big result in Barbados.
“I’m having a great time and my goal is to make the Final,” Schulz said. “I made my first two heats and my last one was so fun. I’m super excited about the Quarterfinals tomorrow. There’s a lot of surfing left, but hopefully I can do well again tomorrow.”
Luke Marks (Melbourne Beach, FL), 15, has just recovered from a shoulder injury that sidelined the young Floridian from the water for weeks. Marks showed no sign of struggle at Soup Bowl today despite the setback and would go on to secure two heat victories while securing his Quarterfinals position.
“I broke my AC bone a couple of months ago and this is my first trip back in the water,” Marks said. “The first few surfs were pretty tough and I definitely felt a little awkward, but I put a lot of time in and I’m feeling 100 percent for the contest. It’s going to take some good surfing out there to move on. All of the Quarters are pretty stacked and it’s all about catching the right wave out there.”
Parker Coffin (Santa Barbara, CA), 18, top seed at the Sprite Soup Bowl Pro Junior, was a standout in the first two rounds of competition and was another goofy footer to detonate the righthander while advancing to the Quarterfinals.
“The wave is sick and I thought I might have blown it by not bringing a groveler,” Coffin said. “Today was the smallest I’ve ever surfed Soup Bowl, but this wave definitely has more push than it looks.”
Coffin’s 2013 season included a transition from amateur to professional ranks and the talented Californian is hoping to put together a breakthrough season in 2014.
“I had a pretty hard year last year and felt like I never really got in to rhythm,” Coffin said. “It was my first year out of the amateur events and I did the Pro Juniors and started dabbling in the QS events. I lost so much last year and it took me a year to adjust coming out of amateur and just getting beat. I would get hassled or not catch waves. Hopefully this event is the one that officially gets me out of the slump!”
Men’s and Women’s Quarterfinals at the Sprite Soup Bowl Pro Junior pres. by Barbados Tourism Authority are scheduled to run tomorrow.