The much-anticipated Rip Curl GromSearch National Final presented by mophie capped off an amazing season with pumping surf at the famed cobble stone point break. A clean 2- to 4-foot combo swell poured into the Upper Trestles line up providing highly rippable conditions for the nations best 16 and under talent. Sixty-four regional qualifying competitors from across the East Coast, Barbados, California, and the Hawaiian Islands comprised the draw and at the end of the day four young surfers reigned victorious! Not only was $500 up for grabs for each division winner, but also an all expense paid trip to Bells Beach, AUS to compete in the International GromSearch Final held in conjunction with the Rip Curl Pro 2014.
In the dying moments of the premiere Boys 16 & under division, the biggest set of the heat approached. Griffin Colapinto and Pat Curren needed solid scores for the win and both found themselves in position. Colapinto was awarded 8.5 points for an impeccably ridden wave to jump to the lead. Curren answered back by hammering three solid back hand snaps and rode the wave to shore. With father Tom on the beach arms raised he knew the victory was going to his son, Patrick. The score was just enough and Pat Curren was crowned the 2013 RCGS National Champ! This was Curren’s first major win and he is headed to Australia to compete against the best groms in the world for an International GromSearch title.
“I think what helped me to do well in this event was trying to have fun & perform, while also trying to stay focused and keeping a positive mind set,” Curren remarked on what lead him to victory. “My goal is to keep progressing in what I love doing.”
Kei Kobayashi came up short to Curren and Colapinto, taking 3rd in the Boys 16/under final, but he did not walk away empty handed, nailing the ‘mophie Manuever of the Event,’ for an inverted air reverse he stuck smoothly in an earlier round heat. mophie hooked up Kobayashi with $100 in one dollar bills stuffed into a custom Rip Curl backpack as well as an assortment of mophie goods. Rounding out the final in 4th was the always-stylish San Clemente local, Colin Deveze.
On the girl’s side, it was another nail-biting finish. In both the Boys and Girls 16/under finals, the winning score was announced while the competitors stood on the sand in anticipation. Coming from behind to take the Girls 16/under National Title was Oahu’s, Brisa Hennessy. The young 13-year-old, while small in stature, surfed smart, smooth, and powerful while connecting multiple maneuvers, which lead her to the last minute victory over fellow Oahu surfer and runner-up Bailey Nagy. Hennessy will be joining Curren as the North America representatives at this year’s RCGS International Championship.
“I can’t describe how much this means to me to compete in an International event for the first time,” an exuberant Hennessy proclaimed, “Especially going to Bells, such an iconic venue, which is a great opportunity for me to meet my heroes and walk down the stairs through surf history.”
Rounding out the final was Malia Osterkamp who ripped her way to a 3rd place finish, and the young Floridian star, Caroline Marks, in 4th.
In the Boys 14/under division, Ewa Beach, Oahu local Kaulana Apo continued the Hawaiians’ strong presence in the GromSearch scene. Apo absolutely dismantled his competition in every heat, his smooth backhand hook tearing apart numerous Uppers walls. Apo was the clear standout and will be a top contender for next year’s 16/under division. The electric performance by South Carolina’s Luke Gordon ushered him into the runner-up spot, the fine surfing of Nolan Rapoza garnered him 3rd place, and finishing 4th was John Mel.
In the youngest but brightest division, the Boys 12/under, the super groms showed up and blew up! Lead by the committed and radical surfing of champion Eithan Obourne, the youngsters surfed well beyond their years. Runner up went to North Shore, Oahu local and the grom with the biggest smile, Wyatt McHale, 3rd to East Coast’s Stevie Pittman, and finishing 4th was the young powerhouse, Bo Raynor.
Rip Curl would like to thank all of our amazing co-sponsors that make the GromSearch series possible. A special shout out to the presenting sponsor, mophie, as well as Smith Optics, Kicker Audio, Futures Fins, Waterman’s Applied Science, Banzai Bowls, Hubert’s Lemonade, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, and our media partners Surfline.com and Surfing Magazine. Thanks to all the parents for supporting our series and showing up to all our qualifying events. We will see you again next year when we kick off the series in early summer in Huntington Beach!
Check out all GromSearch updates and information as well as post-event results, photos, and videos at ripcurl.com/gromsearch.
OFFICIAL RESULTS FROM NATIONAL FINALS OF THE RIP CURL GROMSEARCH PRESENTED BY MOPHIE
1st – Pat Curren 12.00 ($500)
2nd – Griffin Colapinto 11.17
3rd – Kei Kobayashi 10.00
4th – Colin Deveze 7.23
1st – Brisa Hennessy 10.37 ($500)
2nd – Bailey Nagy 9.74
3rd – Malia Osterkamp 8.83
4th – Caroline Marks 7.97
1st – Kaulana Apo 13.70 ($500)
2nd – Luke Gordon 11.84
3rd – Nolan Rapoza 10.83
4th – John Mel 9.53
1st – Eithan Osbourne 12.63 ($500)
2nd – Wyatt McHale 11.94
3rd – Stevie Pittman 10.73
4th – Bo Raynor 6.74