2012 Rip Curl Gromsearch National Finals Recap

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By Brendan Buckley

There were 64 groms and anticipation bubbled in their sugary blood. All had previously tasted success — they were the biggest fish from their respective ponds. But the pond always expands and this waterhole stretches over 3,000 miles. It's deep, too. But a golden ticket to Australia was on the line, as was 3,000 miles worth of recognition. And the 64 young surfers were far more interested in stardom than they were in the fundamentals of algebra. So when the Rip Curl Grom Search national finals went down on Saturday, the runts went all in.

Three to four feet of gray Pacific Ocean tickled the slimy cobblestones at Upper Trestles. The surf conditions dashed expectations and it was supposed to rain, but it never did. The surf industry watched, via webcast and eyeball, and scoured the field for the next so and so. Was the next Dane Reynolds here? The next Mick? Is there such a thing as the next Kelly Slater? So many questions, and the groms' surfing would boldly answer.

The day was either beautiful or catastrophic, depending on whom you ask. It was catastrophic if you're old, out of touch and argue that blowtails don't constitute real surfing. And it was beautiful if you're a fan of youthful progression. The children wore focused-warrior faces and engaged in methodical warm-ups, as if their elastic, adolescent ligaments would ever tear. It was cute. Every attendee was a winner by my standards. Competitors, family, event staff, Uppers — first place for all. But the standards of competition are not similar to my views. Those standards are cruelly decisive, and so here are its decisions:

Boys 16 And Under
1. Kanoa Igarashi
2. Taylor Clark
3. Cam Richards
4. Noah Schweizer

Girls 16 And Under
1. Tatiana Weston-Webb
2. Bailey Nagy
3. Meah Collins
4. Nikki Viesins

Boys 14 And Under
1. Kanoa Igarashi
2. Nolan Rapoza
3. Luke Marks
4. Griffin Colapinto

Boys 12 And Under
1. Luke Gordon
2. Sean Woods
3. Tyler Gunter
4. Eithan Osbourne

H2O Overdrive Maneuver of the Day:
Bailey Nagy
Taylor Clark

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