Ché Allan will be competing against the best junior surfers in the world from tomorrow in Australia. (GP)
Young Barbadian surfer Ché Allan will be looking to get top waves “Down Under” when he competes in the Jeep World Surf League (WSL) World Junior Championships in Australia over the next week.
The championships take place from tomorrow to January 12 at Kiama Beach in New South Wales.
“I feel pretty confident going into the World Juniors after three finals and a win on the North American tour this past year,” a buoyant Allan told MIDWEEK SPORT yesterday.
“But I’m also nervous to live up to my big result last year because the competition is hard. Every heat is like a final because everyone made the Pro Junior finals to get here,” he said.
It is the second time the 18-year-old former St Winifred’s schoolboy has qualified through the North American region for the prestigious championships.
“It’s an honour just to qualify and to be here surfing with the best in the world,” said Allan, who was fifth overall out of the 34 top juniors in the world at the 2017 event last January.
The top four surfers in each of the seven regions worldwide – North America, South America, Australia, Europe, Asia, Africa and Hawaii – qualify.
Allan, who is known for his audacious backhand surfing attacks, will begin his quest for glory when he competes in Heat 12 against Brazil’s Joao Chianca and Ford Van Jaarsveldt.
Other surfers to watch out for are Americans Cole Houshmand, Tyler Gunter and John Mel; France’s Leo Paul Etienne, Ryland Rubens and Erwan Blouin, Hawaii’s Barron Mamiya and Cody Young; Japan’s Keanu Kamiyama; Brazil’s Samuel Pupo; New Zealand’s Te Kehukehu Butler and Sandon Whittaker and Lucas Wrice from host country Australia.
Allan, who last month was honoured by the Barbados Olympic Association for his performances at the Barbados Independence Invitational Games, enjoyed an outstanding 2017 season despite focusing on the junior events in order to qualify for his final World Juniors Championships.
In what was his first full year competing in the WSL’s Men’s Qualifying Series events, Allan’s international ranking soared from 308 in 2016 to 207 by the end of last year – a remarkable jump of 101 places.
He is currently ranked third in the WSL’s Men’s Junior Series and fourth in the Men’s Series, the highest ranking ever achieved by a Barbadian in the North America region.
Last year, Allan won the WSL Men’s Junior Los Cabos Open of Surf in Mexico. He also triumphed in the Men’s Qualifying Series 1000 at his Soup Bowl home break in Bathsheba when he created history by becoming the first Bajan to ever win a World Surf League men’s event. He was also fourth in the Men’s Junior.
Allan also secured a fourth-place finish at the Junior United States of America Open of Surf at Huntington Beach in California, becoming the first Bajan to make the podium at the prestigious event.
In local competitions, he was the Open men’s champion of the Barbados Surfing Association’s Independence Surf Festival, the Open Men’s Surfer of the Year Series champion, and the 2017 Barbados National Men’s Open champion. (EZS)