March 24, 2008 : – – In front of thousands at Bells Beach today, many of the worlds very best 16 and under surfers competed in very good clean 1m surf to decide the Rip Curl GromSearch Series Champions for 2008.
Dale Staples (St Francis Bay/Sth Africa/16 years) became the second South African surfer to make the Rip Curl GromSearch international 16 Boys and under final and has gone one better than Jordy Smith who placed 2nd in this event three years ago in near identical conditions at Bells!
“It’s my biggest win ever and I can’t believe I’ve won. To do one better than Jordy is unbelievable and I only hope I can do what Jordy’s doing now and eventually make ASP World Tour – He’s an amazing surfer!”
Placing 2nd in today’s final was Sydney surfer Davey Cathels who opened early with an excellent 8 point ride and tried in vain to catch Staples throughout the final but it was to be Staples day and his 9 point outstanding second scoring ride in the final proved decisive in the end.
Third place today went to Gold Coast surfer James Wood, himself a close friend of the winner as James has relocated from Sth Africa just three years ago. Local surfer Todd Rosewall placed fourth.
The girls final saw a see sawing duel between Australia’s Phillipa Anderson (Newcastle) and Malia Manuel (Hawaii/Kuaui/16 years). Anderson held the lead for most of the final after a strong opening 8.33 point ride but the determined Hawaiian found her form late in the final to overtake Anderson with two strong scoring rides of a 6.83 and a 6.27 which tallied 13.10 to Anderson on 12.9 and lacking a strong second scoring ride.
“I’ve had a great time here at Bells Beach and to surf in front of a huge crowds has been incredible – I never expected to win because the Australian girls have been ripping but it all came together late in the final and I managed to find the right waves when I needed them most.”
Sarah Baum (Durban/Sth Africa) placed third in today’s final with Laura Enever in 4th. Enever in particular was wave starved in the final only finding her first ordinary scoring ride in the final five minutes. The Rip Curl GromSearch international final again proved what a magnificent series it has become, searching for and finding the best young surfers from around the world.