Clark & Igarashi Standout at First Stop of Rip Curl GromSearch in HB!

Costa Mesa, CA (June 11, 2012): The Rip Curl GromSearch presented by H2O Overdrive kicked off the annual surf series this past weekend June 9th & 10th at 9th Street Huntington Beach. With a regional GromSearch record attendance of 168 competitors, the beach was a packed house. The waves were highly contestable all weekend as chest to shoulder high combo swelled poured into the 9th Street sand bars. The groms were on a tear as they sought for the coveted GromSearch regional title. The four finalists from each division are awarded with an invitation to compete in the RCGS National Finals held at Upper Trestles, CA this November 17th. The National Champion of Boys and Girls 16 & under will win an all expense paid trip to compete in the International GromSearch Finals held in conjunction with the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach 2013.

In the highly anticipated Boys 16 & under division, Rip Curl's Taylor Clark, Encinitas, CA was on fire the entire event and took the 1st place honors. Clark opened the final with a 7.17 by tearing a wave from start to finish using his patented fins-out surfing as he connected a set wave from the outside to the inside sand bar. "I knew Kanoa was going to be tough to beat as he was the defending event champ, I had a good wave early and luckily found a backup score towards the end of the heat. I'm so stoked to win this event and be heading to the Nationals at Uppers," exclaimed a sun stroked Clark. TC collected $200 for his win along with a wheelbarrow's worth of prizes. Kanoa Igarashi, Huntinton Beach, CA finished 2nd, Colin Moran of Costa Mesa, CA the 2010 event champ placed 3rd, and Pat Curren, Santa Barbara, CA rounded out the final in 4th.

Speaking of Kanoa Igarashi, the 2011 defending regional Boys 16 & 14 and under champion defended his crown in the 14 & under division. Kanoa not only walked away with $200 for his win, but the 14-year-old Igarashi also won the ‘H2O Maneuver of the Event,' which entails the most progressive maneuver performed during the 2-day event. For this maneuver, a surfer wins a custom GromSearch embroidered backpack stuffed with $200 cash in single dollar bills! "I already had two good scores in the heat, so I was relaxed and just went for it," explained Igarashi about his radical fins free air-reverse he performed on a head high set wave. Guess what? That's not all as Igarashi won, as he was also rewarded with the ‘Dragon High Heat Total,' another $50 award for the surfer who had the highest two-wave total of the event. Igarashi's impressive 17.5 total was unmatched by any of the competitors in the field. Jake Marshall, Encinitas, CA placed 2nd in the 14 & under, John Mel, Santa Cruz/Newport Beach, CA finished 3rd, and Nolan Rapoza, Long Beach, CA placed 4th.

In the Boys 12 & under division, Santa Cruz born but re-located Newport Beach, CA surfer John Mel, son of legendary big wave surfer Pete Mel, took home the win. Mel was able to read the 9th Street lineup perfectly, as he was constantly finding the best waves of each heat. Earlier in the day Mel scored the wave of the day by dissecting a long left hand wall that kept offering section after section. Tyler Gunter, Newport Beach, CA was the runner up, however Gunter was awarded the ‘Gabriel-esque' award for the 12 & under surfer who performed the most radical Gabriel Medina influenced maneuver of the day. Gunter was awarded with a Gabriel autographed Rip Curl hat for his loose fins-free trickery! Sean Woods, Thousand Oaks, CA surfed impressive all event finishing 3rd, and Nick Marshall, Encinitas, CA took home 4th.

In the girls 16 & under division, Kulia Doherty, San Clemente, CA was the in-form surfer all day. Doherty surfed smart, smooth, and powerful in her heats, which lead to her first place finish and $200 check. During a wave-starved final, Doherty was the only girl who found herself on two solid set waves and easily took down the title. Meah Collins, Newport Beach, CA surfed great finishing 2nd, Frankie Harrer, Malibu, CA placed 3rd, and Elenna "Lulu" Erkeneff, Dana Point, CA rounded out the final in 4th.

Rip Curl couldn't be happier, with record attendance, fun waves, sunshine, and a great vibe, featuring America's best 16 & under surfing talent. Please check out ripcurl.com/gromsearch for upcoming events, info, and updates. Rip Curl would like to thank its official sponsors, H2O Overdrive the presenting sponsor of the RCGS series, along with Kicker Audio, Dragon Eyewear, Surfing Magazine, Surfline.com, Futures Fins, Waterman's Applied Science, and Wahoo's Fish Tacos. Check Surfline.com and Surfingmagazine.com for post-event coverage. Rip Curl would also like to thank Banzai Bowls, Clif Bar Kid, and Famous Wax for their contributions to the Rip Curl GromSearch at 9th Street Huntington Beach. We hope to see you at our next GromSearch event July 8th at Kewalos, Oahu. Sign up at ripcurl.com/gromsearch.


Boys 16/Under

1st – Taylor Clark
2nd – Kanoa Igarashi
3rd – Colin Moran
4th – Pat Curren

Girls 16/Under

1st – Kulia Doherty
2nd – Meah Collins
3rd – Frankie Harrer
4th – Elenna "Lulu" Erkeneff

Boys 14/Under

1st – Kanoa Igarashi
2nd – Jake Marshall
3rd – John Mel
4th – Nolan Rapoza

Boys 12/Under

1st – John Mel
2nd – Tyler Gunter
3rd – Sean Woods
4th – Nick Marshall

H2O Overdrive Maneuver of the Event – Kanoa Igarashi

Dragon High Heat – Kanoa Igarashi

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