Costa Mesa, CA (June 10th, 2013): The first stop of the Rip Curl GromSearch presented by Mophie was one for the history books! In the nine years that Rip Curl has held this event at 9th Street in Huntington Beach, the waves have never produced the size and quality as this past weekend! With solid 6-foot waves continuously pouring into the HB sandbars, groms had to battle the sweeping current in search of two scoring waves in their heats. It was a true test of endurance for those who advanced through Saturday's challenging opening rounds as surfers were forced to sprint down the beach to get back into the lineup.
With a maximum capacity 160 surfers in 4 divisions, groms surfed several rounds to advance to the all-important finals, which qualified them for a spot at the Rip Curl GromSearch National Final to be held October 26th at Upper Trestles, San Clemente. For those boys and girls surfing in the 16-and-under divisions, a win at the National Final will secure their invite to compete in the International GromSearch Final held in conjunction with the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, 2014.
The standout in the Boys 16-and-under division was 15-year-old North Shore, Oahu native, Kalani David. Kalani tore apart the field with a wide array of frontside and backside hacks, mixed with a spice of aerials.
"9th Street is probably the hardest beach break wave to win a heat in SoCal. The local groms always have that place so wired!" David explained. "There was no exception today. I really didn’t think I would win looking at how well the competitors can read that spot. I just tried my best to be patient enough to find two scoreable rides! Thank you Rip Curl GromSearch for another fun contest!" Coming in second was Nolan Rapoza, third went to Chris Murnane, and rounding out the final in fourth was Davis Freud.
The Boys 14-and-under was dominated by double finalist Nolan Rapoza of Long Beach, California. Nolan was surfing faster than any other competitor in the event and it showed in his impressive scores heat after heat. Coming in second was one of the standouts of the day, Kei Kobayashi. Mickey Clarke finished third, and Griffin Foy in fourth.
In the youngest division, the boys 12-and-under, the groms were charging all weekend as waves easily twice their size thundered into the lineup. In the end, Ventura's Eithan Osborne stood above the rest of the pack. Eithan dominated the final with an impressive combination of radical maneuvers and walked away with more prizes than his arms could carry. Finishing second was long time GromSearch veteran Tyler Gunter, third went to Finn McGill, and fourth to the young and smiling Tommy McKeown.
The final of the girls 16 and under division was a nail bitter, as the heat went back in forth between Santa Cruz's Ashley Held and Oahu's Brisa Hennessy. In the end Ashley held on to the victory by displaying some big turns on the outside set waves. Finishing third was Juli Hernandez and fourth was Meah Collins.
Rip Curl GromSearch presenting sponsor Mophie stepped it up big this year with a prize package for the Mophie Maneuver of the event, including a custom backpack filled with $50 cash, a Mophie Outride, and a Mophie Juice Pack Air. The award went to Marley Peck for a huge inverted frontside air reverse. Marley went on to bust a few casual turns and another air reverse on the very same wave to score the event's highest score, a 9.83!
Rip Curl couldn't be happier with the record attendance, pumping surf, and a great event vibe, featuring America's best under-16 talents. Go to ripcurl.com/gromsearch for upcoming GromSearch events, info, and updates. Rip Curl would like to thank its official sponsors: Mophie, Smith Optics, Kicker Audio, Futures Fins, Watermans Applied Science, Huberts Lemonade, Banzai Bowls, Surfing Magazine, Surfline.com, and Wahoo's Fish Tacos. A big thanks goes out to Famous Surf Wax for providing GromSearch with custom wax this year, as well as Teri from Power of Green LA for providing the event with solar power to run the generators. We hope to see you at our next GromSearch event July 14th at Kewalos, Oahu. Sign up at ripcurl.com/gromsearch.
OFFICIAL RESULTS FROM STOP #1 OF THE RIP CURL GROMSEARCH PRESENTED BY MOPHIE
1. Kalani David
2. Nolan Rapoza
3. Chris Murnane
4. Davis Freud
1. Nolan Rapoza
2. Kei Kobayashi
3. Mickey Clarke
4. Griffin Foy
1. Eithan Osborne
2. Tyler Gunter
3. Finn McGill
4. Tommy McKeown
1. Ashley Held
2. Brisa Hennessy
3. Juli Hernandez
4. Meah Collins
Mophie Maneuver of the Event