ssMaroubra Beach, Tuesday 3 October, 2023 – The iconic Rip Curl GromSearch Series, stop number two wrapped up with a marathon day of competition last Sunday at Merewether Beach in the heart of Newcastle.
Some of the state’s and nations best junior athletes were geared up and ready for action, many of them coming from stop #1 at Jan Juc, Victoria a few weeks earlier. With the top three competitors from each location guaranteed automatic entry into the National Final event at Melbournes URBN Surf, the pressure was on for some.
The Under 16’s divisions are always impressive at the Rip Curl GromSearch Series Events. With some athletes striving for spotlight in the professional world of surfing, it’s competitions like these which help pave the way for some of these talented athletes. The impressive list of previous GromSearch competitors currently competing on the elite WSL world tour is testament to the quality of the series.
Cronulla local Kash Brown dominated the field whilst taking out the U16 Boys Final for his second year straight, after leaving fellow competitors all in a combination situation searching for scores. Kash, claiming the win over Rip Curl surfer Ben Zanatta Creagh (North Steyne), saying he was “so stoked to win again”.
As for the U16 Girls division, unfortunately fan favourite Ava Arghyros (Kingscliff) was penalised with an interference in the final, after being a standout to win from her great surfing in earlier rounds of the event. Rising to the top was NSW athlete Alice Hodgson (Jones Beach) after a close battle with fellow finalists Samantha Arderne (Tugun), Ocea Curtis (Le-Ba), and Ava.
Jordi Bray from Manly Beach took out the Under 14 Boys final for his first time! The super grom was on fire all event, managing to come first in his Quarterfinal earlier on even with an interference.
“I was pretty stoked on the win,” said Jordi.
“It’s my first time qualifying for the national final and I’m stoked to get the opportunity to surf against the nationals best.”
When asked about who will be his biggest competitor in the Final, Jordi replied “they’re all good mates, but hopefully I beat them,” with a chuckle.
His fourth and final wave scored a 6.17 to sneak the win off Joey Silk (Crescent Head), Luca Martin (Coffs Harbour) and Jaggar Phillips (Maroubra).
The Under 14 Girls also had a big weekend of competition. The four finalists are no strangers to competing, especially against each other. The friendship these girls have on the sand gives the rivalry in the water even more flare.
With the girls seemingly taking the win on rotations from comp-to-comp, this time it was Talia Tebb (Kincumber) who managed to come out on top against other three athletes Lani Cairncross (Kiama Downs), Halo Banfield (Byron), and Mali Adam (Crescent Head).
When it comes to the youngest division in the RCGS, the U12’s do not disapoint. With Jasper Glassop (Broadwater) taking out the boys with a huge heat total combined from a 7.33 and a 6.0.The Balinese surfer took on Merewether for the first time and safe to say he found a liking.
The talented young groms experience was just too strong for the three other finalists, Harry Stephens (Port Macquarie), Henry Smith (Mona Vale) and Jay Whitfield (Cabarita) who all who put on an energy-driven heat.
For the U12 Girls it all came down to one wave. Champion of the final Olive Morriss (Avoca) found the best wave of the heat coming in at a 6.5, leaving her undefeated as she consistently soared through earlier rounds of competition. Unable to found as big of a score, Penny Fletcher (Broulee), Mila Grainger (Bungan) and Coco Hamano (Terrigal) battled it out for second, third and fourth.
Full results and scores can be found via Live Heats SNSW
FCS ‘Outstanding Performance’ award winners were Lani Cairncross and Rene Galloway, who received a pack of FCS Hardware products for awesome individual performances throughout the event.
The DHD ‘Ultimate Grom’ award winners were Coco Hamano and Henry Smith, who received a DHD surfboard for being judged as the Ultimate GromSearch competitors throughout the week
Pictures by Bosko
RIP CURL GROMSEARCH SERIES – 2023
- 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)
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).
For more information and updates on the Rip Curl GromSearch Series, please visit the Rip Curl Events page.