Rip Curl Gromsearch Wildcards Grab The Chance To Compete In National Finals At Bells Beach

March 14, 2008 : – – Standout competitors, James Woods (Coolangatta, Qld) and Paige Haggerston (Coal Point, NSW) have both earned the chance to compete in the Rip Curl GromSearch National Finals presented by SNICKERS held during the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, March 16-17.

Woods and Haggerston received wildcard entries based on their high finish in the newly introduced GromSearch Ratings system, applied over the seven event National series this year. They join winners of the 16 & Under division (16’s) in each event of the series, who have automatically won their place in the coveted National Final.

James Woods finished No. 1 on the ratings in the 16’s Boys division, despite not winning an individual event.

“I was stoked that I got a wildcard after winning the ratings for the year. I came second in two events this series but just couldn’t get a win so I thought I’d missed the chance for the National Final at Bells, but I was lucky enough to end up top of the ratings and get a gig that way” said Woods.

Paige Haggerston finished fourth on the ratings, just behind ratings leaders Ellie-Jean Coffey, Laura Enever and Nikki Van Dijk, who had all secured their spots in the National Final with event wins. Coffey (NSW) managed a win at both the Duranbah (QLD) and Cronulla (NSW) events to take top spot in the girls ratings and give her a great lead up to the National Finals.

Woods and Haggerston will be joined by Wes Bainbridge (Merewether, NSW) who received a second ‘sponsors’ wildcard into the boy’s National Final, helped by his strong fourth place finish in the overall ratings. Jess Laing (Phillip Island, Victoria) will also join the National GromSearch finalists as the highest placed Victorian in the series.

With the National Finals scheduled to run during the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, competition will be fierce amongst the groms with the ultimate prize being the prestigious National GromSearch Championship Title.

The National Finals will see eight of Australia’s best male and female 16’s surfers battle it out in an effort to win a spot in the International Final where they will represent Australia against the Internationals from Brazil, USA, South Africa, New Zealand and Indonesia.

Rip Curl GromSearch National Finalist Winners:
VIC: Todd Rosewall (Torquay, VIC)
Newcastle: Ryan Callinan (Merewether, NSW)
WA: Mat Baldock (Margaret River, WA)
TAS: Lance Pirie (Mermaid Beach, QLD)
SA: Mitchell Baker (Phillip Island, VIC)
QLD: Tim Mac Donald (Stradbroke Island, QLD)
NSW: Davey Cathels (North Narrabeen, NSW)

VIC: Laura Enever (North Narrabeen, NSW)
Newcastle: Phillipa Anderson (Merewether, NSW)
WA: Felicity Palmateer (Hillarys, NSW)
TAS: Nikki Van Dijk (Phillip Island, VIC)
SA: Laura Macaulay (Margaret River, WA)
QLD: Ellie Jean Coffey (Crescent Head, NSW)
NSW: Ellie Jean Coffey (Crescent Head, NSW)

Wildcards: James Woods (scored #1 in boys 16’s ratings); Paige Haggerston (highest placed non-winner, #4 in girls 16’s ratings); Wes Bainbridge (scored #4 in boy’s 16’s ratings); and Jess Laing (highest placed Victorian in the girls 16’s ratings).

The 2007/2008 Ripcurl GromSearch series is presented by SNICKERS and supported by media partners FUEL TV and WAVES magazine.