Rip Curl Gromsearch Hits Santa Cruz

“Wraps it in the pocket! Slaps it in the hook! Rocks it off the lip”, said Rip Curl Gromsearch announcer, Mike Morgan as the sixth and final regional event of the Gromsearch National Tour got underway at Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz. Another maximum capacity event swarmed the notorious Pleasure Point cliffside over the weekend, as groms from across the local region came to compete for the remaining spots in the National Gromsearch Finals, to be held at Salt Creek, October 4-5.

Following the last three weeks of Touring the countryside, East Coast to West, it was down to the last Gromsearch event at Santa Cruz to climax the regional series.

The beginning of the Pleasure Point event saw mushy, inconsistent sets making wave selection crucial for heat advancement. Those who were able to pick off the best waves cruised their way into the latter rounds of the event. As the tide pushed in the groms took advantage of the Pleasure Point wedge and showcased an assortment of progressive surfing manuevers. As the sun dropped deeper into the Western Sky the wind came to a stand still, the surf began to build, and an unstoppable momentum took over the atmosphere as the Rip Curl Gromsearch headed into the event’s final rounds.

Ripping their way into the Girls 16 & Under final was Alice Hudnall (6th place), Lana Dow (5th place), and Savannah Shaghnessy (4th place). Rising above the rest of the highly competitive girls final and securing a spot in the National Final was Sahara Ray-Bok (3rd place), Mariah Pushnik (2nd place) and taking the win was Lexi Wilson.

Moving onto the Boys 16 & Under Final was Tyler Payne (6th place), Rya Arthur (5th place), and landing a solid 4th place finish was Rip Curl’s own, Leandro Usuna. Earning spots in the National Final were Nick Erickson (3rd place), Austin Smithford (2nd place) and ripping his way to a first place finish was Nic Lamb.

The Boys 14 & Under division saw a handful of groms slapping hard turns across the point. Grabbing a spot in the final event were, Tommy Pennington (6th place), Kyle Thiermann (5th place), and Colin Dwyer (4th place). Pushing his surfing to new levels and capturing a third place finish was Nick Alheit. 2nd place went to the solid turns of Brian Tagnozzi, and hammering home the win was Walter Deyerly with an amazing wave score of 8.0.

Due to an rare tie in the semi – finals, a 7-grom final was conducted in the Boys 12 & Under division. It was Oliver Eichholz taking 7th place, Nat Young in 6th, and the supergroms Liam and Sam Hession bringing home the 5th and 6th place finishes. Pushing his way into the National Final was Rip Curl’s mega-grom, Dane Zaun (3rd place). 2nd place went to the talented surfing of Corey Landvogt. Combining the biggest maneuvers and securing bringing home the title was Carl Reiner.

Local Santa Cruz professional surfers Peter Mel and Bud Frietas came down to the Rip Curl Gromsearch to support their favorite groms. ” It’s great to come down to events like this and see the community get together and support all the groms,” said Peter Mel.

Rip Curl’s Santa Cruz Gromsearch event was a fun-filled event for everyone. For some groms it was their first time competing in a surfing event. Every grom left the event completely stoked not only to surf with their friends but to also score a ton of cool gear provided by our sponsors at Transworld Surf, Dragon Optical, Reef, and Hansen’s Energy Drink.

The Rip Curl Gromsearch event in Santa Cruz completes the national six event series across the United States. Rip Curl will now invite the top three finalists from each division to compete for the prestigious Rip Gromsearch National Title. The National Finals will be held at Salt Creek, in Dana Point, California – October 4-5.


Girls 16 & Under
1) Lexi Wilson – Santa Cruz
2) Mariah Pushnik – Santa Cruz
3) Sahara Ray-Bok – Santa Cruz
4) Savannah Shaghnessy – Santa Cruz
5) Lanaa Dow – Watsonville
6) Alice Hudnall – Santa Cruz

Boys 16 & Under
1) Nic Lamb – Santa Cruz
2) Austin Smithford – Capitola
3) Nick Ericksen – Santa Cruz
4) Leandro Usuna – La Jolla
5) Rya Arthur – Laguna Beach
6) Tyler Payne – Pacifica
Boys 14 & Under
1) Walter Deyerly – Santa Cruz
2) Brian Tognazzi – Pacifica
3) Nick Alheit – Santa Cruz
4) Colin Dwyer – Santa Cruz
5) Kyle Theirmann – Santa Cruz
6) Tommy Pennington – Santa Cruz
Boys 12 & Under
1) Karl Reiner – Santa Cruz
2) Cory Landvogt – Santa Cruz
3) Dane Zaun – Hollyglenn
4) Sam Hession – Santa Cruz
5) Liam Hession – Santa Cruz
6) Nat Young – Santa Cruz
7) Oliver Eicholz – Santa Cruz
Congratulations to all the Rip Curl Gromsearch finalists! Keep Ripping!

The Rip Curl Gromsearch is part of Rip Curl’s grassroots program dedicated to supporting and nurturing junior surfing talent across the USA.

Proudly supported nationally by – Dragon, Reef, Transworld Surf, and Hansen’s Energy Drinks.

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