It's 6 am, summertime in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and something isn't right in the tourist haven of the Outer Banks. It's grey, windy, cold, drizzly, and oh yeah, windy! A call had to be made, should the 5th stop of the Rip Curl GromSearch presented by Unbound Energy be postponed due to lackluster conditions?

The wind was supposed to switch and Sunday could be a better day. But the rule of thumb on the east coast is, if you have waves, you better get things popping. And after a long heat wave and even longer flat spell, the groms in the OBX were amped at the sight of 2-3 foot wind slop.

In fact, nobody seemed to mind the rough weather as the beach was lined with a few hundred people. Competitors, parents, friends, fisherman and tourists all braved the elements to get a glimpse of the action down at Byrd Street. The groms did not disappoint as every wind-chop turned section was unshelled like a fresh plate of local shrimp from Bob's Grill.

The 12 & Under mighty mite division saw groms like future barrel master Thomas De Champs throw themselves into chest high shore pound like it was over head Hossegor. 8-year Kalani David from Hawaii, who was in town for a skate demo, viewed the rabid conditions as just another day at the skate park, and proceeded to put on a clinic with his repertoire of lip slides and air-drop floaters, as well as pig dogging every little barrel he could find. Kalani was able to fend off hard charging groms Daniel Glenn and Ryan Wallace to take home the 1st place prize.

Local power-grom Brad Musicka fresh off his first season of charging pipe, found himself in a highly competitive 14 & Under final alongside contest Iron-Man Brandon Todd (who also made the 16 & Under final) and Martin Murden. However it was hometown grom Price Wheeler who stole the show with a big snap to tail-slide as an opening ride, and a long outside to inside connection to back it up and sneak away with 1st place.

The girls 16 & Under final came down to the wire as Leilani Pickett was able to pull a strong closing wave out of her back pocket to defeat an in-form Caitlin Lawson. In the lead for most of the heat, Caitlin showed an awesomely smooth style with carving hooks off the top and strong cutbacks. Leilani however, chose to stay on the inside and found two wedging bubbles that allowed her to throw down a couple backside hooks on one, and a nice snap to bank combination on her back-up wave to seal the victory.

As the boys 16 & Under final got underway the sun decided to make an appearance, the wind died a bit, and the tide dropped out enough to allow outside bombs to connect all the way through. Some of area's finest young powerhouse groms were present, and hungry to take the title in front of their local crowd.

US team member and VB local Michael Dunphy went toe to toe with Hatteras Island's lightning quick Brett Barley, but despite their strong performances, it was Wilmington's Jonathan Mincher who came out on top. With a low center of gravity, Jonathan's bottom turns allowed him to power through a series of hooking off-the-top cutbacks and blast the inside section with airs and tail chucks. Mincher sealed the highest scoring wave of the event, the highest scoring wave total, and the GromSearch victory.

Shout outs go to Unbound Energy, Arnette Sunglasses, Surf One Skateboards, Surfing Magazine, Sticky Bumps, and WaveWatch for their ongoing support of the Rip Curl GromSearch. Special thanks go out to the Outer Banks district of the ESA for all their hard work, as well as Darren Brilhart, Whitney Hines, Kim Diggs, and Noah Garret. Stay tuned, as stop number 7 gets ready to hit up Seaside Park, New Jersey. For more information, check out


mens 16 & under
1st Jonathan Mincher
2nd Brett Barley
3rd Michael Dunphy
4th Chris McDonald
5th Brandon Todd
6th Brett Vass

girls 16 & under
1st Leilani Pickett
2nd Caitlin Lawson
3rd Airlie Pickett
4th Kate Easton
5th Shannon Dunn
6th Allison Parks

boys 14 & under
1st Price Wheeler
2nd Matin Murden
3rd Brad Musicka
4th Brandon Todd
5th Evan Barton
6th {{{Sterling}}} King

boys 12 & under
1st Kalani David
2nd Daniel Glenn
3rd Ryan Wallace
4th Josh Beveridge
5th Thomas DeChamps
6th William Grant