Look out Newcastle – The Rip Curl Grom Search Series is back

Published on 25/09/2023

The Rip Curl GromSearch (RCGS) is set to hit Newcastle shores this month, with stop #2 of the national event series getting underway on Thursday 28th September and concluding on Sunday the 1st October. The RCGS  gives junior surfers the opportunity to test their skills against the best in the country and we are stoked for the action to get underway. 

“We love running the Rip Curl GromSearch at Newcastle. It’s a real surf town that welcomes competitors from all over the country and we always seem to get waves,” commented Rip Curl event manager Mark Flanagan.

Winning the series almost guarantees your ability to make it to the top with GromSearch competitors having won the last 13 WSL women’s World Titles & compile 12 of the current 18 athletes on the women’s WT and 20 of the 34 athletes on the Men’s WT being GromSearch finalists as well.

Last years RCGS Newcastle winner of the U14 Boys Division, and local Rip Curl surfer, Ocean Lancaster (Merewether) is looking to defend his win as he gets set to compete.

“I’m super keen to compete again this year at the Rip Curl GromSearch at my home break. It’s always awesome being able to sleep in my own bed for once during a comp. I definitely want to back up my win from last year,” said the 2022 reigning champ.

Similarly, the 14 year old up-and-comer Jackson Woolnough from Caves Beach just walked away with the win at stop #1 in Jan Juc, Victoria U16 boys division. Jackson said “The hard work has finally paid off as he’s been trying to get a win for so long and he couldn’t be happier!” After getting knocked out in the semi-finals last year by eventual winner Kash Brown (Cronulla), the neighbouring NSW competitors are ready to leave it all in the water.

“I’m really excited to compete in Newcastle,” shared Jackson.

We are honoured to be able to host such prestigious events at prime locations! The talent that has emerged from Newcastle has been astonishing with the likes of Jackson Baker, Philippa Anderson and Morgan Cibilic to name a few.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle is a proud sponsor of the Rip Curl GromSearch and is delighted to welcome back the action-packed event.

“Newcastle’s Merewether Beach offers the perfect back drop to once again play host to the RCGS, where junior surfing talent and our stunning coastline will be on show,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Our city is well known for its iconic surfing culture and a community that’s passionate about cultivating and fostering up-and-coming surfers.

Newcastle has a long and proud history of supporting top level international surfing contests including Surfest, the largest surfing festival in the southern hemisphere, and host of the first Australian leg of the World Surfing League in 2021.

We look forward to welcoming young competitors and surfing fans to Newcastle over the October long-weekend.”


  • EVENT 1 – Jan Juc, Vic – Sept 16 – 17, 2023
  • EVENT 2 – Newcastle, NSW – Sept 28- Oct 1, 2023
  • #GromSearchOnline – Oct, 2023 (TBC)
  • National Final – URBNSURF Melbourne, Oct, 2023 (TBC)

Age divisions

  • Under 16 Girls and Boys
  • Under 14 Girls and Boys
  • Under 12 Girls and Boys

Schedule and Live Heats can be found here


The Rip Curl GromSearch series began as a single day event in 1999 and has developed into a world-wide series providing groms with the opportunity to surf with friends and test their skills against the best junior talent in their country. The impressive list of previous GromSearch competitors currently competing on the elite WSL world tour is testament to the quality of the series.

Men’s WSL athletes that were former GromSearch finalists include: Gabriel Medina, Owen Wright, Italo Ferreira, Jordy Smith, Kolohe Andino, Filipe Toledo, Kanoa Igarashi, Ryan Callinan, Leonardo Fioravanti, Connor O’Leary & Morgan Cibilic. (Note that 4 of the top 5 surfers in the 2021 WSL Finals are all former GromSearch finalists, as well as 20 of the 34 athletes on the men’s WT)

Women’s WSL athletes – Tyler Wright, Carissa Moore, Steph Gilmore, Sally Fitgibbons, Malia Manuel, Nikki Van Dijk, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Bronte McCaulay, Caroline Marks, Macy Callaghan, Brisa Hennessy, Isabella Nichols & Bethany Hamilton. (Note: GromSearch competitors have won the last 13 WSL women’s World Titles & compile 12 of the current 18 athletes on the women’s WT).

Image below: 2022 World Championship Tour Rookie Molly Picklum with past finalists at URBNSurf.

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