Stab Magazine | Meet One of Barbados' Rising Stars, Evan Puma

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Meet One of Barbados’ Rising Stars, Evan Puma

In the wake of a devastating summer, we chat with one of the Caribbean’s youngest hopefuls, on growing up climbing the Soup Bowls ladder, and on the death of his close friend Zander Venizia

news // Oct 11, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Caribbean has endured a devastating summer. We’ve been covering it as reports have come in for over a month now. In the wake of so many tragedies, hundreds dead and amongst their numbers one of Barbados’ top talents, Zander Venezia, we were glad to hear from one of the island’s brightest young stars, Evan Puma, on how the island is dealing with the loss. Evan’s been climbing the Soup Bowls ladder since he was a wee Canadian import, and as you can see from the clip above, he’s been polishing his act all over the world, hoping this year to cherry pick his QS events and use his comfort in shallow, hollow surf to his advantage, see how far he can go. Still reeling from the death of his close friend, we’re sure Evan will be surfing this year with purpose, #LIVELIKEZANDER proudly scrawled on the bottom of his stick. 

 

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Evan Puma. Photo by Liam MacDonald

Stab: Did you grow up on Barbados? Describe a day there, as a kid, growing up going surfing, hanging with your friends, etc.

Evan: Yeah, I was born in Canada and then I moved to Barbados when I was two years old. My childhood was mostly spent surfing with my neighborhood friends Dane Mackie, Josh Burke, Danny Edghill and Jack De Grouchy at our local surf break, South Point.  

How’d you get into surfing?

My neighbor Danny and his dad were always surfing outside my house and I always would be interested when watching them, when I was around four and became friends with Danny, his father Robin Edghill brought me out on one of Danny’s surfboards, after that day I was hooked! 

What was the culture like there, and has it changed or is it changing?

The culture in Barbados is really laid back, everyone’s on a very chilled vibe, but at night there’s a very big party scene—the rum runs like water! Nothing has really changed there, everyone’s very proud to be Bajan and I don’t really see it changing that much either.

Zanders Last Wave

The last big Barbados barrel of young Zander Venezia’s short, beautiful life.

Photography

Jimmy Wilson

Do you get off the island much, and chase swell around the Caribbean? Any favorite missions?

Yeah, I’ve traveled to Indonesia almost every year since I was 13, but it was only recently when I left the island to go somewhere else in the Caribbean. I went out to Martinique for the QS3000, there was a massive swell around that time, so I after the comp we got to score some pretty sick slabs. Martinique has no shortage of good waves. My favorite will always be scoring swell in Barbados; Soup Bowl is one of the best waves in the Caribbean and I’m calling it out! [Laughs] 

I’m sure your local homies won’t mind you flying the flag. That place has such a sick local scene. Who are the local dudes holding it down these days?

Josh Burke and Bruce Mackie are the hands down best at holding down the Rock’s name; only a couple people are usually out at Soup Bowl when it’s chunky and those two are always the ones pushing are limits. There are a couple expats that live there too, that charge hard, like Jamie Moran.

Have you guy been dealing with much damage from this crazy hurricane season? 

My Mom lives on the island, and she tells me everything—Barbados has fortunately dodged most of them, just created good waves.. But hopefully the rest of hurricane season stays calm for the Caribbean.

You were really close to Zander Venezia, can you tell us what he was like? How’d you two meet? Were you in the water during the accident?

I met Zander when we were really young, just in the line-up surfing. We always surfed the local contest together, battling for the win along with Che Allan and Jacob Burke, Zander was a kind and energetic person, always had a smile on his face. He could change your energy with one smile; Zander lived for surfing, always cracking jokes in the line up and there was never a dull moment.

I wasn’t in Barbados the day the tragedy happened; I woke up to a phone call from one of my friends breaking the news… They say that the good ones always go to soon, Z will always be in my heart and the hearts of everyone in Barbados.

RIP ZANDER #livelikezander

How is Barbados handling everything?

I have talked to a lot of people about it, and it’s really obvious that the islands not in a great state. Zander had a huge impact on not only everyone in Barbados, but the whole world. I can only wish for the best thoughts and prayers sent to the Venezia family in this time of need. 

I’m so sorry for your loss, man. Everyone’s had such beautiful things to say about the young man. How old are you now? What’s your plan for making Zander proud the next year: contests, traveling, school?

I’m 18, I’m not in school right now, just traveling, I’m in Japan right now and after here I head to West Australia for three months, and hopefully I will be in Australia for the next two years while on a work and travel visa. I’m planning on doing all the QS 1000s and get my first full QS year started! Going to try to get to some of the more hollow QS’s in Indo and other places after that. Other than that I just want to score some sick waves and get some clips.

 

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