2008 Rip Curl GromSearch OBX Photos

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Rip Curl GromSearch crashes into the Outer Banks

It came. It saw. It slammed. With chest-high, shorepound-like conditions, the final leg of the Rip Curl Grom Search felt more like a WWF pay-per-view than a free surf contest -- at least foe the opening rounds. Every heat, a few more colored jerseys went over the falls and onto the sand, giving plenty of first-timers a crash course in competition as they grinded through heats to pick the final eight competitors to go to the Nationals comp at Salt Creek on November 2.

In the end, top SC ripper Cole Richards took down Team USA's Fisher Heverly in a tight battle, plus local threat Julian Payne and Southern NC's Evan Barton for the Boys 16 and Under title. He also earned a golden tickets to surf an expression session at this September's Boost Mobile Pro WCT event. In the Girls 16-and-Under, Chandler {{{Van}}} Cannon picked off Darsha Pigford. Knox Harris nixed all comers in 12 and Under. And in 14-and-Under hometown boy {{{Morgan}}} Leavel came out on top. In fact, while hefty goodybags and water time with NC pros like Shane Upchurch and Jason Andre kept all 70 competitors from New Jersey to South Carolina smiling through sand-filled teeth, perhaps the happiest sight was witnessing the future of Outer Banks surfing: be they future Buxton's lighthouse kingpins (like Russell {{{Blackwood}}}'s son Wolfgang); or potential second-generation Easterns champions (such as Patti Hook's son Grant Tyler),; or even the next generation of VB invaders like Grady Borte (son of former ASP East Champ, Jason.) It seems, after years of seeing Hatteras' lineups turn old and gray, the Outer Banks is finding more groms than ever.

1. Cole Richards
2. Fisher Heverly
3. Evan Barton
4. Julian Payne

1. Chandler Von Cannon
2. Darsha Pigford
3. Alison Bowman
4. Jackie Thomas
5. Bree Kleintop

1. Morgan Leavel
2. Mason Barns
3. Zack Bland
4. Shane Burn

1. Knox Harris
2. Tyler Faulkner
3. Dillon Mincher
4. Jake Raynor