Rip Curl Gromsearch Kicks Off At San Clemente Pier

It was an epic day in San Clemente, California where groms from all throughout the region were able to come together and dual it out in hopes of winning Rip Curl’s prestigious Gromsearch title in this, the first leg of the Rip Curl Gromsearch national six event series. San Clemente Pier boasted fun 3-4 ft. peaky waves and fast connectable sections. The conditions stayed pristine throughout the entire day allowing each grom to showcase their progressive surfing talents, in search of America’s future pro surfers. The beach was packed with spectators rooting their favorite groms on through each tightly competitive heat. Each grom’s explosive maneuvers evoked loud cheers up and down the beach, stretching all the way down the end of the San Clemente Pier. Rip Curl’s unique double elimination left no grom sad, allowing them a second chance at today’s title.


In the early rounds of today’s girls 16 and under division competition was held tight. The girls were fearless, dropping in on all the biggest sets that came off the edge of the pier. However, it was a select few girls who were able to shine passed the rest and make it into the Rip Curl Gromsearch final. Sonya Novak (6th place), Natalia Garcia (5th place), and Caity Griffin (4th place) all put in a valiant effort in the final heat, dropping in on solid bombs and going for it all. Christy Cowan surfed solid, combining solid turns and hard snaps gaining her a well-earned 3rd place. In the end it came down to Lexi Papillion and Erin Griffin dueling it out in a head to head bout for first place. Lexi Papillion surfed hard to the end landing a solid second place finish; nonetheless, it was Erin Griffin who’s well devised strategy of hugging the pier’s side allowed her to connect multiple maneuvers and capture the Rip Curl Gromsearch — Girls 16 and under title.


The Boys 12 and under division showcased some of the hottest groms in Southern California 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 Luke Davis (6th place), Eddie Elles (5th place), and Matthew Nickel (4th place). Carson Wach clinched 3rd with his explosive hits off the lip. Kokoro Tomatsui stayed to the rights and hammered waves deep into the pier pilings landing him a solid 2nd place finish. Kalohe Andino 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 Gromsearch– Boys 12 and under title.


The competition in the Boys 14 and under division was intense with over 5 first round heats of some of the best groms in the region. Pushing their way through each highly competitive heat and into the final were Matt Ross (6th place) and John Price edging it out for an equal 5th. Rip Curl’s own, Dane Zaun, boosted his way into a solid 4th place finish while Patrick Riha drew strong lines landing him a well-earned 3rd place. Pushing his surfing to new competive levels was Eric Owens, whose hard snaps earned him a second place finish. Daniel Shea ended up taking the title with the best overall surfing maneuvers.


Some of the most progressive surfing in the Rip Curl Gromsearch was seen in the boys 16 and under division. The quickly dropping tide and walled-up sections didn’t stop any of these guys from going vertical. Jonathon Dupont (6th place) concentrated on making the most of the quick lefts off the pier while Adam Lukasik landed numerous floater re-entries landing himself a 5th place finish. Rip Curl team rider, Leandro Usuna, ripped his way into a solid 4th place finish, as David Dupont scored high on the rights going into the pier, taking 3rd. Jason McInwee combined his tremendous speed with quick lay back maneuvers to land a solid 2nd place finish. However, it was Brandon Ragenovich who soared above the rest and took home the Rip Curl Gromsearch – Boys 16 an under title.


“The contest 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.

The next stop on the Rip Curl Gromsearch six event national series will be in Huntington Beach, California at Goldenwest Street on Thursday, August 14th. Competition starts at 7am.

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Results of Event #1-San Clemente Pier (August 12, 2003)

Girls 16 & Under:
1) Erin Griffin
2) Lexi Papillion
3) Christy Cowan
4) Caity Griffin
5) Natalia Garcia
6) Sonya Novak

Boys 12 & Under:
1) Kalohe Andino
2) Kokoro Tomatsui
3) Carson Wach
4) Matthew Nickels
5) Eddie Elles
6) Luke Davis

Boys 14 & Under:
1) Daniel Shea
2) Eric Owens
3) Patrick Riha
4) Dane Zaun
5) John Price
6) Matt Ross

Boys 16 & Under:
1) Brandon Ragenovich
2) Jason McIlwee
3) David Dupont
4) Leandro Usuna
5) Adam Lukasik
6) Jonathon Dupont