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Surf City dished out another great contest this weekend as the Rip Curl Gromsearch rolled through town on the third stop of its U.S. tour. A stacked field of 132 competitors completely sold out the comp. While conditions were small––2-3 foot sunny peaks––the groms were frothing, making it look head high and rippable. Parents and spectators alike gobbled Wahoo Fish Tacos and soaked up sunshine all day while the groms ripped and turned their way to the finals.
The second day of the contest proved a little more consistent for the grommies as the swell filled in a bit. For the Boys under 16 final it was a battle of the Dylans as Hawaiian Dylan Melamed and San Clemente's Dylan Goodale duked it out until the last second of the heat. The Hawaiian Melamed came out strong, sporting serious power and throwing out the tail on a few nuggets. But with around seven minutes remaining in the heat the SC boy Goodale scored a left and threw serious fans, squeezing in tons of turns to post the heat's high score of an 8.17. "I buckled my board on that first wave," said the San Clemente grom, "then got lucky and got an 8. At the end I was looking for a back up and I guess mine was just enough to edge out the Hawaiians."
The Boys under 14 final provided some excitement as well when Hawaiian Keanu Asing came out looking like a regular footed Fred Patacchia, surfing fast, fluid and powerful. However, it wasn't enough to beat out Ian Crane who managed to squeeze a roundhouse on a left and threw a few fins free snaps to take the division. The confident Crane was pleased with the win as he looks forward to the future. "I'm stoked on this win," said the ecstatic mini-grom. "Hopefully I can carry this event through at Nationals."
In the Girls under 16 final it was the Kauaiian wahines who dominated. The always in-form Malia Manuel seized every wave that came through and worked each through to the last piece of whitewater while on her way to victory. "I was really happy with the win," said Manuel. "Anyone could've won with those waves. I'm happy the Hawaiians did really well, too."
Garden Isle grom Luke Hitchcock decimated the Boys under 12 division with a forehand attack that made the meager afternoon slop look like a playground. The young gun posted a 7.4 and an 8.37 in his heat leaving Ian Gentil and Pacific Beach event winner Kanoa Igarishi out the back to watch.
All in all it was an insane weekend to be a grom. School's out. Sun's up. Waves are fun. And Rip Curl hosted a sick event to kick it all off. See you at Kewalos for Stop number 4.