For groms, opportunity isn't always obvious. The chance to drop in is often pilfered by bigger humans. The prospect of scoring is dictated by a parents' will to cart a kid to the beach. So when opportunity comes knocking, naked and plain at your doorstep, it's best not to hide in the frills of mama's sundress and suck your thumb till it goes away. Best to steamroll that opportunity, put a chokehold on it and ride into the sunset to claim your hopes and dreams.
The Rip Curl GromSearch is opportunity in its most blatant form. It's a global competition that solicits the world's top talent under 16, with contests across coastlines to unveil the best young rippers and place them front-and-center on an international stage. This year, GromSearch kicks off the amateur contest season on June 7 at Huntington Beach, then travels to Hawaii, Florida and North Carolina before culminating in a National Final at Upper Trestles. Last year's national winners went on to compete in 4- to 8-foot, rippable conditions at Sumbawa's world-class break, Lakey Peak for the International Championship, a golden opportunity every surfer can plainly see. And with an enrollment fee for each contest you could scrounge from the allowance in your piggy bank, what more incentive does a kid need to sign up?
GromSearch is barreling into its 15th consecutive season with a star-studded list of past contenders that gives title more credit with every WCTer to graduate. Past champions like Gabe Medina, Owen Wright, Matt Wilkinson and Mason Ho, Sally Fitzgibbons, Tyler Wright, Malia Manuel and Bianca Buitendag have elevated the crown to a prophetic realm. Last year, Pat Curren and Brisa Hennessy added their legacies to the catalog. This year, the list of contender talent runs deep and wide with groms like Kanoa Igarashi, Kalani David, Griffin Colapinto, Jake Marshall, Luke Gordon, Kyuss King, Eithan Osbourne, Meah Collins, Dax McGill and many, many more in the mix. The title could go to anyone and the International Championship is bound to be outstanding.
This summer, gather a few pennies and head to the 2014 Rip Curl Gromsearch website to sign up and place yourself on an elevated stage of surf stardom. Oh, what an opportunity it is. —Mike Misselwitz