The Rip Curl Gromsearch National Final hit Salt Creek at full throttle over the weekend with a full capacity of groms from across the nation. The national final was a fun and explosive celebration for all the groms qualified from one of the six national events that took place coast to coast. The event boasted some of the best talent from the 4 different age divisions including: Boys 12 & Under, Boys 14 & Under, Boys 16 & Under, and Girls 16 & under.
Rippable 3-5 ft. waves were wrapping across Salt Creek point all day Saturday allowing all groms the opportunity to connect multiple maneuvers all the way to the sand. Considering the small stature of the groms, the well overhead waves provided endless possibilities to draw perfect lines and repeatedly bash lips. As the sun peaked through in the early morning hours the waves starting firing off the point, and an unstoppable energy ignited across the beach with parents, friends, and fans attending the event to cheer their favorite groms on.
Branden Ragenovich from San Clemente, California came charging out of the gates landing a huge 180 frontside air on the first wave of Rip Curl’s Gromsearch National Final. It didn’t take long before other competitors in the Boys 16 & Under division flipped the switch. Jonathon Dupont out of La Jolla, California connected multiple maneuvers; slapping hard turns, powered hard off the lips, and flawless cutbacks in the hook earning him an event high score of 8.85. However, it was only the select few of the boys 16 & Under division competitors that proved they were able to combine their progressive surfing with dedication and consistency and push their way into their age division final.
Hometown hero and a kid to definitely be aware of in the future was Jamie Parkhurst (San Clemente, CA), whose frontside attack earned him sixth place in the Boys 16 & Under final. Taking fifth was Nic Lamb out of Santa Cruz and landing a solid fourth place finish was the smooth tailsides of Brandon Ragenovich from San Clemente, CA. First, second and third place went to the powerhouse trio from La Jolla, California, David Dupont (3rd place), Nico Becerra (2nd place), and Rip Curl’s own supergrom Leandro Usuna taking the win.
“I’m so stoked to be competing with all the other guys, they all rip, and I’m stoked to be able to win a contest put on by my sponsor, Rip Curl!” exclaimed Leandro Usuna.
The competition in the Boys 14 and under division was intense with heats filled of some of the best groms in the region. Pushing their way through each highly competitive heat and into the final were Mike Powell out of Ocean Isle, NC (6th place) and edging it out for an equal 5th was Eric Owens (San Clemente, CA). Jeff Lukasik boosted his way into a solid 4th place finish while Daniel Shea drew strong lines landing him a well-earned 3rd place. Pushing his surfing to new competitive levels was Rip Curl’s own Logan Strook, whose hard snaps earned him a second place finish. Brighton Brandenbuger ended up taking the title with the best overall surfing maneuvers.
The Boys 12 and under division showcased some of the hottest groms from throughout the nation at their best. The heats were fierce and filled with amazing talent keeping the judges on their toes. Surfing their hearts out and pushing hard into the main event were Kalohe Andino out of San Clemente(6th place), Eric Templeton out of New Smyrna Beach, FL. (5th place), and Virginia Beach ripper Michael Dunphy (4th place). Eddie Elles out of Huntington Beach, CA clinched 3rd with his explosive hits off the lip. Rip Curls own mini-grom, Dane Zaun out of Hollyglenn, CA pushed hard on the lefts, combining aerial maneuvers with stylish cutbacks landing him a solid 2nd place finish. Brent Reilly out of San Clemente had the crowd on their feet as he connected one section after another and threw in the occasional aerial maneuver allowing him to take home the Rip Curl Grromsearch National Final– Boys 12 and under title.
In the Girls 16 & Under final the future of America’s women’s surfing was on display. Fearless, dedicated charger Lexi Wilson out of Santa Cruz, CA surfed her way to a well-earned 6th place finish. Directly in front of Lexi were the impressive cutbacks of Erica Tow (San Clemente, CA) landing a solid 5th place finish. Coming in fourth was Caity Griffin out of Cardiff, CA and pushing her way into a 3rd place finish was hometown favorite Lexie Papillion. Putting up a solid fight for the title was the solid surfer out of Carlsbad, CA, Erica Tow. Combining wave knowledge with progressive surfing and taking home the Girls 16 & Under Rip Curl Gromsearch National title was Erin Griffin (Cardiff, CA).
“I want to thank Rip Curl for putting on such a good event and I also want to thank my sponsor, Plumeria Surfboards”, said Erin after her Gromsearch victory.
“The national final couldn’t have gone better,” said Rip Curl team manager Scott Banuelos. “The groms were stoked, the waves were insane, and the beach was packed,” he added. Every competitor was stoked to receive numerous prizes from all the Gromsearch sponsors: Transworld Surf, Dragon Optical, Reef, and Hansen’s.
Rip Curl is proud to put on such an exciting event allowing groms from across the nation to surf in a fun and competitive environment.
Many thanks go out to our series partners : Reef, Transworld Surf, Hansens, and Dragon Optical for making the series a grand success.
Check out all the latest with Rip Curl’s Gromsearch USA atwww.ripcurl.com and www.transworldsurf.com
Results of the Rip Curl Gromsearch National Final 2003
Girls 16 & Under:
1) Erin Griffin – Cardiff, CA
2) Christi Cowan – Carlsbad, CA
3) Lexie Papillion – San Clemente, CA
4) Caity Griffin – Cardiff, CA
5) Erica Tow – San Clemente, CA
6) Lexi Wilson – Santa Cruz, CA
Boys 12 & Under:
1) Brent Reilly – San Clemente, CA
2) Dane Zaun – Hollyglenn, CA
3) Eddie Elles – Huntington Beach, CA
4) Mike Dunphy – Virginia Beach, VA
5) Eric Templeton – New Smyrna Beach, FL
6) Kalohe Andino – San Clemente, CA
Boys 14 & Under:
1) Brighton Brandenburger
2) Logan Strook – Huntington Beach, CA
3) Daniel Shea – Newport Beach, CA
4) Jeff Lukasik – San Clemente, CA
5) Eric Owens – San Clemente, CA
6) Mike Powell – Ocean Isle, NC
Boys 16 & Under:
1) Leandro Usuna – La Jolla, CA
2) Nico Becerra – La Jolla, CA
3) David Dupont – Pacific Beach, CA
4) Branden Ragenovich – Huntington Beach, CA
5) Nic Lamb – Santa Cruz, CA
6) Jamie Parkhurst – San Clemente, CA
The national Rip Curl Gromsearch Series is part of Rip Curl’s dedicated grassroots program, in support of junior surfing across America.
Plans are already in place to grow and expand Gromsearch for 2004.
For further information regarding Rip Curl’s 2003 Gromsearch National Final go to:http://www.usa.ripcurl.com/events/grom_search/grom03.html