There's lots of good things about being a grom, and one of them is exactly that, being a grom. A grom can make a dribbly wave look fun and tell you how 'sick it is out there'. As the Rip Curl GromSearch presented by Banzai Bowls wrapped up its 4th and final regional qualifying location of its nationwide summer surf tour, the ocean didn't quite provide pumping surf, but for those 16 years of age and younger, they made the 1-2 foot wedgey peaks on the south side of Jennette's Pier, North Carolina 'look sick!'
Over 80 juniors made the not so simple (closest airport is located in neighboring state Virginia) journey to compete for their last chance to find a top 4 spot and earn themselves an invitation to compete in the RCGS National Final, set to be held this fall at C-St., Ventura, CA. The contingency included surfers from Panama, Costa Rica, Hawaii, California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Virginia, and home state of North Carolina. When the dust settled it was an array of winners from those distant regions, and only a few local surfers finding the podium.
Panamanian surfer, Isauro 'Izzy' Elizondo, dominated the day. Izzy separated himself from the rest of the field with his light footed above the lip 'air-reverse-searching' approach. Izzy went a clean 3 for 3 while attempting maneuvers above the lip, with each completion leading him to victory. Izzy won both the 16/U and 14/U divisions pocketing $500 for his efforts, as well as winning a custom shaped ...LOST Surfboard courtesy of Matt 'Mayhem' Biolas for scoring the highest combined heat score of the day, 18.03 points.
"What worked for me today at the GromSearch was my strategy, focus, and always paying attention to other heats," explained Izzy. "The reason I won was that I was landing those air reverses and kept active in my heats."
Laird Myers, Cole Alves, and Kyle Tester rounded out the 14/u final and earning national final invites. As for the 14/U, Blayr Barton, Samuel Reidy, Kanoa Wong, Kai Kushner, and Braeden Kopec finished 2nd through 6th.
Another stand out was Maui's Cole Alves who was awarded the Banzai Bowls Maneuver of the Event ($300) for a tail high air reverse. This was the 3rd time in his GromSearch career he took Maneuver of the Event.
Braeden Kopec, who kept his winning ways alive after an impressive run at stop #3 NSB, FL GromSearch a week prior, won the 12/U title with impressive mix of blowtails and layback hacks. Kai Kushner, CJ Mangio, Luke Wyler, Charles Oblinger, and Own Carter followed suit.
As for the ladies, Kailey Bogart shocked everyone including herself, as she went back-to-back victories following up her win at last week's GromSearch with another victory at Jennette's Pier. A very impressive feat that's got us chasing down the GromSearch record books to see if it's been achieved prior. Savanna Stone, Tiare Thompson, and Morgan Iglay rounded out the final.
That wraps things up for the 2018 GromSearch regional tour, all eyes will now shift to the RCGS National Final November 17-18 at C-St., Ventura, CA where national champions will be crowned!
GromSearch couldn't be possible without our 2018 event partners, Banzai Bowls, Flexfit, POSCA, RXBar, Hydro Flask, FCS, Surface, ...LOST Surfboards, Oakley and Wahoo's Fish Tacos.
Be sure to head to Surfline.com to check out post event coverage. You can also be a part of the action by voting for the user choice event's best photo on Surfline's Instagram story (@surfline).
For full event coverage, video highlights, photos, and entries head to www.ripcurl.com/gromsearch.
OFFICIAL RESULTS FROM STOP #4 JENNETTE’S PIER, NAGS HEAD, NC – 2018 RIP CURL GROMSEARCH PRESENTED BY BANZAI BOWLS
1. Isauro Elizondo, Panama ($250)
2. Laird Myers, Virginia
3. Cole Alves, Hawaii
4. Kyle Tester, New Jersey
1. Kailey Bogart, Hawaii ($250)
2. Savanna Stone, Hawaii
3. Tiare Thompson, California
4. Morgan Iglay, New Jersey
1. Isauro Elizondo, Panama ($250)
2. Blayr Barton, Virginia
3. Samuel Reidy, Costa Rica
4. Kanoa Wong, Virginia
5. Kai Kushner, California
6. Braeden Kopec, Florida
1. Braeden Kopec, Florida ($250)
2. Kai Kushner, California
3. CJ Mangio, New York
4. Luke Wyler, California
5. Charles Oblinger, North Carolina
6. Owen Carter, North Carolina
Banzai Bowls Maneuver of the Event: Cole Alves, Hawaii ($300)
...LOST Surfboards High Heat Total: Isauro Elizondo, Panama – 18.03 points
About the GromSearch:
Since Rip Curl developed the concept for the GromSearch events in 1999, the series has spread throughout the surfing world and now culminates with an International final held at a different location each year. The worldwide series is held for male and female surfers aged 16 years and under, commonly referred to as "groms", with the aim of the GromSearch is to nurture and recruit the next generation of surfers at a grassroots level.
Former GromSearch champions include current WSL World Tour stars; Gabriel Medina, Owen Wright, Jordy Smith, Matt Wilkinson, Kolohe Andino, Tyler Wright, Stephanie Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons, and Caroline Marks.