HONOLULU (June 7, 2018) Blue skies and mellow two to three-foot waves breaking just off shore greeted 350 excited young surfers ready to showcase their skills. A Hawaiian flag staked a spot in the sand in front of the hula mound where families set up camp for the two-day competition weekend. Ready or not it was time for the 21st Annual T&C Surf Grom Contest presented by Chili's Grill & Bar.
Surfers ages 3-12 from across the island chain gathered to compete in shortboard, longboard and bodyboard divisions. Growing this year was the ever popular Kokua division which expanded to include seven and eight-year-olds who are not ready to head out solo to Queens just yet. The solid growth of the contest comes from increased participation in this division. T&C Surf Designs' determination to see more keiki experience the excitement of a surf contest has brought larger numbers to the beach. Many of the open divisions were sold out weeks before the event went down this past weekend. "Seeing so many young keiki sharing their first competition wave at our contest gives me a feeling of pure stoke. Knowing that we were able to give each of the competitors the opportunity to surf and have fun without any pressure is rewarding." – Craig Sugihara, president and founder of T&C Surf.
Taking place under the Vertra tent was the first Annual Vertra x John John Florence Beach Cleanup at the T&C Grom Contest. Dozens of groms participated in the removal of rubbish from Waikiki Beach with a specific focus on single use plastics and recyclables. Over two days, thousands of pieces of trash were picked up off the beach and common areas fronting Waikiki Beach. On Saturday, Mike Van Hoenstein collected 986 pieces of trash followed by Hoku Diaz who gathered 870 pieces. In third place was Dakota Shifferley with 220 pieces. Determined to win, Diaz returned to the beach and took top honors on Sunday when he collected 959 pieces of trash followed by Rowan Ana at 477 and Evan Vaughs with 447. Grand prize winners from each day were awarded a John John Florence Signature Product Prize Pack. 2nd and 3rd place prizes were also awarded as well. In fact, every child who brought even a single piece of trash to the Vertra tent received a prize.
In between heats, kids participated in beach games hosted by Krystilez of 102.7 The Bomb and Bruddah Brian of 93.1 Da Paina. Many parents were drawn in also and found themselves hula hooping and racing thru the sand. Many keiki made new found friends on the beach and romped in the shore break. At lunch, all competitors enjoyed hearty lunches from Chili's Grill & Bar served with a refreshing ice-cold Naked Juice.
A solid south shore swell started building on Sunday just in time for the Free Surf Expression Session. A perfect size for a fun filled family competition that let a parent bond with their keiki while surfing tandem style. Taking top honors was Chris Latronic, who was able to catch two good waves with his son Luke on his shoulders sealed his win. Derek Wong and his daughter Maya took a close second with Travis and TJ Ingbino Francisco in third.
At Sunday's end, Riven Rosskoph took first in the 11-12 boy's shortboard division beating out Onishi, Depasquale, Barret, Fernandez and Luiz-Gumban who took 2nd through 6th place, respectively. Natalia Wunderlich impressed the judges by shredding in her heat, confidently taking down her competition Aina Chiba placing second, and Fonseca taking third. Kenny Nishimoto claimed the boys shortboard in the 9-10 age group and Coco Hakikawa won the girls
division after placing sixth last year. Taking home the first-place trophy in the boy's shortboard 6-8 was Pao'a Topping claiming before his heat, "Mommy, I am going to win this", and he did. Elliana Schiffner moved up a spot taking second this year in girl's shortboard 6-8 right behind Skai Suitt who re-claimed first place repeating last year's performance.
In the 10-12 girl's longboard division, Sophia Culhane fantastic performance guaranteed her first, followed by Luluhia Kane in second and Allyah Bantolina in third. Nailing the final and winning first place honors in 6-9 was Kailana Tong Matthews besting her competition Kula Blomfield and Moonlight Cuban. In boy's longboard 10-12 division, Ka'ena Hall glided across the waves to claim first place, followed by Kalai Alcos and Bodhi Kaneshiro took 3rd place honors again this year. In the 6-9 division impressive performances showed once again that there are some great up and coming longboarders. Keone Asam was in electric form throughout the day's competition, followed by Reef Depasquale in second, and winning third was Reef Tatcheer-Davis for boy's division.
Placing first in the boy's and girl's 10-12 bodyboard division was Evan Vaughs followed by Shiverly, Vaughs, Wolcot, Kahaleua and Hashimoto respectively. Audrianna Leedy took first in the 6-9-year-old age group. Heaven Palikiko did a second-place repeat from last year, followed by Hancock placing third. Winners in this division scored a brand new bodyboards and fins from Science, Ally, Empire, Triad, Viper and more. Everyone who placed in the top six in their division received a medal and an awesome prize pack filled with goodies from our prize
sponsors. Everyone who competed was a winner, with goodie bags for all, lots of waves, a few memorable wipe-outs and new friendships.
Intermixed with the awards ceremony were lucky numbers drawings, awarding sick prizes to many winners. Prizes included Sector 9, Penny, Aluminati and Carver skateboards, Go Pro cameras, a Yeti cooler, Nixon watches, Spy and Electric sunglasses, mini Hub boards and much more.
The T&C Surf Grom Contest is presented by Chili's Grill & Bar and supported by Dakine, RVCA, Vans, and Vertra. The Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii is the local non-profit partner for the event.
ABOUT THAT CONTEST
"Just wanted to thank you for an awesome event… and for supporting John's idea to incentivize a clean beach with Vertra! My kids had a blast, they're excited for next year already." – Spencer Klein
"I just wanted to take a moment to thank T&aC for the awesome Gromfest. This year was our Ohanas 12th year participating in the contest, and we look forward to it every year. It is so fun, well organized, entertaining and family oriented, and I just want to thank you all for throwing it! You guys are the best, and your commitment to Hawaiis keiki is awesome. Mahalo for all that you do!" – Sunshine Topping
"Aloha this is the Leedy family writing to you about the contest and how much we appreciate it. This is our fourth year coming to the T&C Grom Contest. Our little ohana has made this our yearly tradition because of how special this event has become to us it brings our family closer and closer every year and plus we get to play tourist little bit. My daughter now 9 has started out as Kokua and now the 1st place body board 6-9 group. And now my son is starting off Kokua. The joy and fun that we have has brought others to come out and enjoy the same happiness we get out of this event. Seeing the picture of the parent tandem with myself and my son is one of the most memorable photos an honestly SICK SHOTS ever. Thank you guys for all the prizes and all the aloha you give to all the families that come out and participate. Much mahalos and cheehoooo from the Leedy ohana." – Kawai Leedy
ABOUT T&C SURF
Founded in 1971 by surfboard shaper Craig Sugihara, T&C Surf operates three divisions: surfboards, retail and licensing. The surfboard division operates from a state-of-the art shaping facility in Wahiawa. It provides our highly skilled board shapers with the best tools for designing and producing some of the world's most sought-after boards. The retail division includes seven locations on Oahu; Ala Moana Center, Haleiwa Store Lots, Kahala Mall, Ka Makana Ali'i, Pearlridge Center, Ward Centre and Windward Mall. The licensing division has agreements around the world, including Australia, Brazil, Japan and New Zealand. Visit us online at TCSurf.com.