• Benedetto, Colapinto Claim Biggest-Career Wins
• Klapp Earns Maiden WSL Win, Slawson Secures World Junior Championships with Second Junior Win in 2023
• Challenger Series, World Junior Championships Qualifiers Finalized
• More Available at WorldSurfLeague.com
Zoe Benedetto (USA), Crosby Colapinto (USA), Noah Klapp (DEU), and Levi Slawson (USA) all claimed respective wins at the World Surf League (WSL) BTMI Barbados Surf Pro, a men’s and women’s Qualifying Series (QS) 5,000, and Live Like Zander Junior Pro pres. by Diamonds International In Loving Memory of Zander Venezia. In two-to-four foot, occasional plus, windswell, the eventual victors stood apart on Finals Day as they battled through their Semifinal bouts before all-important finishes to their 2022/23’ seasons. Now, North America’s Challenger Series and World Junior Championships contenders are confirmed with major wins for Benedetto and Colapinto, a maiden WSL win for Klapp, and a vital victory for Slawson unfolding.
Freshly crowned North America QS Regional Champion Sawyer Lindblad (USA) got her second Final of the day underway after a slow start to the women’s QS Final had her winning with a 10.00 (out of a possible 20) heat total over an event threat Zoe Benedetto (USA). Benedetto’s 5.03 had her within reach of the Californian before Lindblad posted a 6.67 (out of a possible 10) heading into the final 10-minutes, but Benedetto answered back with her formidable forehand to accrue a 7.50 and take the lead. In the dying moments, Lindblad’s last attempt fell just 0.10 short of the requirement and Benedetto secured the biggest win of her young career.
“I don’t think I have any words right, it kind of hit me down there right now, but you’re on cloud nine and it doesn’t feel real,” said Benedetto. “Just being here with my friends and family, it means everything to me. I’ve been really trying to push myself trying to get a result in the 3,000, but to win a 5,000 is something I haven’t even thought about. .”
The win secures her spot at No. 2 in North America after a brilliant showing over Bella Kenworthy (USA), who entered this event as No. 2, in their Semifinal clash. Now, Benedetto prepares for a second opportunity among the world’s elite on the Challenger Series in 2023 after notching two wins in three Finals appearances during her 2022/23’ campaign.
A highly-anticipated men’s Final followed with Barbados’ own, local hero Josh Burke taking on former Live Like Zander Junior Pro victor Crosby Colapinto (USA) in an all-star battle. Within minutes, both competitors locked in excellent scores with the nod going to Colapinto’s 8.17 over Burke’s 8.00. Burke maintained his rhythm trying to find a backup before Colapinto unloaded his forehand attack once more for an impressive 7.67 heading into the back half of their bout. Unfortunately for Burke, Soup Bowl didn’t come to life to provide him another golden opportunity to showcase his abilities in front of the home crowd and Colapinto claimed the biggest win of his young career with 5,000 points.
“5,000 points behind my name is pretty cool and to get a win is pretty special,” said Colapinto. “I’ve seen my friends win the last few contests and honestly I just wanted to come here and have fun, and be the best version of myself and I ended up winning. Josh started with an 8, then I got an 8 and that’s what you wanted to see in the Final. Making the Challenger Series was like baking the cake and this win is the frosting on top.”
The win catapulted Colapinto all the way to No. 1 on the North America rankings to claim his first North America QS Regional title after already securing himself as a full-time, 2023 Challenger Series competitor. The San Clemente, California, competitor had to over good friend and fellow San Clemente standout, Jett Schilling (USA) in their Semifinal dual as Schilling also joins the Challenger Series elite.
An incredible finish to the men’s Live Like Zander Junior Pro witnessed Levi Slawson (USA) find his next gear, opening up the heat with a 7.17 over Lucas Owston (USA), Owen Moss (USA), and Wheeler Hasburgh (CAN). With Owston and Moss both posting a 6.00 and 6.47, respectively, Slawson took advantage of a Soup Bowl gem to deliver multiple, critical maneuvers and garner an excellent 8.17 to gain control of the Final and ultimately claim his second win of his final season as a Pro Junior.
“It was such a driving force for me just being here for Zander and this whole event being at Soup Bowl where he learned to surf, it’s just such an honor to be in it,” said Slawson. “It feels amazing and I’m so stoked. It was my last junior event of my life so I thought why not and take it as seriously as the QS. I figured if I saved my energy for the Final I could peak there and it worked out.”
The win sends Slawson into the No. 2 behind 2023 North America Pro Junior Champion Reed Platenius (CAN) and returns to the World Junior Championship in hopes of going one better and claiming a World Title.
The women’s Live Like Zander Junior Pro Final featured some of North America’s top-tier competitors with Lindblad up against event standouts Talia Swindal (USA), Noah Klapp (DEU), and Sanoa Dempfle-Olin (CAN). It was Lindblad, taking on her first Final of the day, who posted an excellent 8.17 in the first exchange with Klapp and Dempfle-Olin posting solid scores of their own as Klapp’s quick backup put her to first heading into the halfway mark. The dying minutes provided dramatics as multiple rides went just short of the requirement as Klapp’s final attempt didn’t better her score and Lindblad didn’t stand in time as time expired, and Klapp claimed her maiden WSL victory.
“I wasn’t actually even thinking about doing this event because I wasn’t in a good place mentally, but I’m really happy I pulled it together,” said Klapp. “It’s my first real result in the WSL so I’m really happy about it. I’m happy I started the heat quickly and then backed it up, because you never know if it’s going to be good or not. This year’s been kind of rough just expecting better results, but I’m really happy that Soup Bowl suits my surfing more and lets me show what I can do.”
Klapp’s win puts her in a tie with Lindblad for the No. 2 spot, but, as both competitors have the same results, Lindblad claims the outright spot with average heat score.
The 2023/24′ North America QS season begins at the Jack’s Surfboards Pro presented by Hydro Flask beginning April 6 – 9 at Huntington Beach, California.
Barbados Surf Pro Women’s Final Results:
1 – Zoe Benedetto (USA) 12.53 5,000 points
2 – Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 12.37 3,900 points
Barbados Surf Pro Men’s Final Results:
1 – Crosby Colapinto (USA) 16.07 5,000 points
2 – Josh Burke (BRB) 13.84 3,900 points
Live Like Zander Junior Pro Women’s Final Results:
1 – Levi Slawson (USA) 15.34 1,000 points
2 – Owen Moss (USA) 11.90 800 points
3 – Lucas Owtson (USA) 11.87 650 points
4 – Wheeler Hasburgh (CAN) 7.64 600 points
Live Like Zander Junior Pro Men’s Final Results:
1 – Noah Klapp (DEU) 12.90 1,000 points
2 – Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 11.94 800 points
3 – Sanoa Dempfle-Olin (CAN) 9.94 650 points
4 – Talia Swindal (USA) 6.87 600 points
Barbados Surf Pro Women’s Semifinal Results:
Heat 1: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 11.47 DEF. Ella McCaffray (USA) 9.60
Heat 2: Zoe Benedetto (USA) 13.94 DEF. Bella Kenworthy (USA) 7.83
Barbados Surf Pro Men’s Semifinal Results:
Heat 1: Josh Burke (BRB) 14.50 DEF. Jabe Swierkocki (USA) 11.20
Heat 2: Crosby Colapinto (USA) 16.50 DEF. Jett Schilling (USA) 14.33
Live Like Zander Junior Pro Men’s Semifinal Results:
Heat 1: Lucas Owston (USA 12.83, Levi Slawson (USA) 8.70, Reed Platenius (CAN) 8.43, Dane Matson (USA) 6.84
Heat 2: Wheeler Hasburgh (CAN) 13.96, Owen Moss (USA) 13.53, Jett Schilling (USA) 11.30, Ryan Huckabee (USA) 9.93
Live Like Zander Junior Pro Women’s Semifinal Results:
Heat 1: Talia Swindal (USA) 12.40, Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 12.33, Mia McLeish (USA) 10.40, Vela Mattive (USA) 8.50
Heat 2: Noah Klapp (DEU) 12.17, Sanoa Dempfle-Olin (CAN) 11.20, Bella Kenworthy (USA) 10.86, Lanea Mons (USA) 7.50
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.