Burke takes the podium at the World Surf League Florida PRO QS 1500
He and the late Zander Venezia were more than friends, they were like brothers, and Barbadian Josh Burke surfed like he had a point to prove and intended to leave a lasting mark in the minds of surfers the world over.
Barbados' Josh Burke, one of the most talented young surfers in the country, took the podium at World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) Men's Tour, winning third place.
Recently copping the appreciation award for Most Outstanding Junior Athlete at the National Sports Council Awards, he arrived in Florida with record low 3 degree Celsius temperatures and overhead surf. Despite the weather, he dropped one of his best performances in his third full-time year at the Florida Pro 1500 in Sebastian Inlet that was completed on January 24, 2018.
The 20-year-old started his five-round campaign in the seeded second round posting a 6.00 and 6.50 to take his first heat win in his first event of the year against former USA JR team member 21 yr old Kevin Shultz.
In Round 3 Burke came up against Tyler Gunter of USA, Jackson Butler of Australia and Manuel Selman of Chile posting a 5.33 and an excellent 8.27 for a total of 13.60 leaving the three other competitors fighting for the second place advancement position.
In Round 4 Heat 1 although a four-man heat with two surfers advancing, Evan Geiselman of USA, Tomas King of Costa Rica, Giorgio Gomez of USA, Burke ensued a battle against Geiselman (13.00pts) to narrowly settle for second place with a 12.27pts total, while Gomez (9.07pts) and King (6.97pts) were left in the non-advancing third and fourth positions.
Quarter Final Heat 2, only requiring two waves Burke catches eight waves with five in the good to excellent range reassuring his intensions taking his third heat win of the event to disperse Shultz's near excellent (12.70) with a 7.00 and 7.67 for a total of 14.67pts advancing to his second semi final of his QS career to set up the most anticipated match up of the event, a re-match of the two most informed surfers at the Florida Pro - Burke versus Geiselman, this would also be a re-match of the Barbados Surf Pro 3000 event held at Drill Hall Beach in Brandends, last April, 2017, when Burke eliminated the almost WSL Championship tour qualifier Geiselman in the Quarter finals.
In the Florida Pro man-on-man semi-final Burke versus Geiselman, both surfers exceeded expectations by performing outstandingly with heat positioning flipping five times. Towards the end of the 30-minute heat Burke was holding on to an 8.50 and 6.80 (15.30), and Geiselman had 7.33 and 6.83 (14.16) requiring a 8.10 for the win. With 60 seconds remaining, Burke increased his score dropping a 7.00-point ride to bring his total to 15.50. But with Geiselman then requiring a 8.30 with 18 seconds remaining and Burke exiting the water, Geiselman collected a set wave to execute a vertical off the lip into a top turn to finish with another turn on the closeout to post an excellent 8.77 eliminating Burke.
Geiselman went on to win, securing his third QS win.