At first glance you would think the surfing that took place at Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach, CA today was from a crew of Pro/Am surfers battling it out in a WQS event. Look again, it was the talented crop of Surfing’s next generation — the colossal king’s of the Rip Curl GromSearch. Groms piled in from all over the nation including Southern California surf rats, grovellers from all over the East Coast, and Hawaii’s clan of Kuauians seeking out their crowns. No matter where you were from the 2-3ft. southwest/northwest combo swell allowed all groms to showcase their latest repertoire of explosive maneuvers in front of a tough panel of judges and Rip Curl’s GromSearch Scouts.
Rip Curl Pipeline Master, Jamie O’Brien made a guest appearance at today’s event to present the “Freak Show Award — an award Jamie “Freak Show O’Brien would present to the grom who performed the best maneuver of the day.
Surfing Highlights —
The 12 & Under mini-groms took to the water with a vengeance, using their small stature to maximize wave scores, milking many of the tricky waves all the way to shore. 7-year-old Kalani David out of Hawaii pushed his surfing to limits progressing all the way into the final. Kalani was able to weed out much of the competition that was about twice his age and earn himself of solid 3rd place finish. 2nd place went to the explosive surfing of Nick Rupp and Rip Curl Team Rider and Kauai’s own, Koa Smith, smashed his way to victory by combining countless turns across the PB beach break.
14 & Under standouts consisted of Taylor Brothers, Brent Reilly and another Hawaiian hot shot — Granger Larson. Taylor came out fighting, utilizing both the lefts and right handers that pushed into the pier resulting in a strong 3rd place finish. One of Orange County’s upcoming surfers, Brent Reilly, showcased his strong forehand attack on Crystal Pier’s left handers earning him 2nd place honors. The win went to Hawaii’s Granger Larson whose progressive surfing style allowed put him a league above his competitors.
The Boys 16 & Under final brought forth some of the best amateur surfers set to hit the upcoming NSSA Nationals including a trio of Rip Curl Team Riders — Tyler Crawford, Alex Smith, and Kyle Ramey. Crawford (AKA — TC) wore his East Coast heart on his sleeve, maximizing every wave score with countless maneuvers that earned him a healthy 3rd place finish. Kuauian representatives, Smith and Ramey battled it out in the deteriorating Pacific Beach conditions, answering each other’s scores blow for blow. However, with only moments to go, Kyle Ramey murdered a right hander with numerous vertical maneuvers weaving his way through the pier pylons and down into the shoreline. Smith made a valiant effort to destroy the groveling waves that petered in toward the closing moments of the final; however it wasn’t enough to out due his teammate. In the end it was Alex Smith holding down 2nd and Kyle Ramey taking the win.
Last but not least — the Girls 16 & Under division also featured some of tomorrow’s most talented surfers. Rip Curl’s own NSSA standout and inspirational surfer, Bethany Hamilton, put on an outstanding performance at today’s event. With support of some adoring fans, and her incredible surfing talent, Bethany powered her way to a 3rd place finish. Another Rip Curl standout sure to make waves at this year’s NSSA Nationals, Alana Blanchard, also showcased a strong performance. Alana continued to wave the Kuauian flag as she took home 2nd place honors. Her size may be small but her surfing is big-time – Nage Melamed proved she meant business by taking down the two Hawaiian heavyweights and securing the Girls 16 & Under victory.
Special mention goes out to Rip Curl’s own Alex Smith who earned Jamie O’Brien’s “Freak Show Award by transitioning a backside vertical snap into a fins-out reverse. Congratulations Alex, and enjoy your new Nintendo Gameboy Advantage and Surf One Skateboard.
Special thanks goes out to all tthe Rip Curl GromSearch sponsors including Nintendo, Monster Energy, FCS, Surf One Skateboards, Sticky Bumps, and ADD Marketing. Rip Curl would also like to thank South Coast Surf Shops, Groms + -, and all the Pacific Beach locals for their support.
The top three finalists from each age division qualify for the Rip Curl GromSearch National Championships to be held on November 5th at Salt Creek Beach. From there Rip Curl will send the top Boy & Girl 16 Under National Champs to Australia to compete in the 2nd Annual Rip Curl GromSearch International Final taking place at the Rip Curl Pro — Bells Beach WCT event in March 2006.
For more information and photos of the Rip Curl GromSearch head to www.ripcurl.com, Entry forms are available online and at your local surf shop!