Rip Curl GromSearch OBX Dominated by Flora and Tuach
2012 Rip Curl Gromsearch Nags Head, North Carolina Highlights
H2O Maneuver of the Event, Nags Head
Costa Mesa, CA (Sep. 20, 2012): The fourth qualifying stop of the Rip Curl GromSearch surf series proudly presented by H2O Overdrive concluded its final regional event at Jennette's Pier, Nags Head, North Carolina this past Wednesday, September 19th. At first light the ocean produced clean offshore conditions with an occasional spitting barrel, however as the morning wore on, a steady sideshore north wind arrived and by 9AM there were wind gusts of 18-20 knots for the remainder of the event. Windy or not, the contest was on as 76 eager grommets took to the water in search of a coveted finals berth, which qualifies them to compete in the RCGS National finals to be held at Upper Trestles, CA on November 17th.
In the always highly contested Boys 16 & Under division top juniors from up and down the east coast ranging from Florida to New York showed up to blow up! After grueling through numerous rounds in the treacherous wind, Brad Flora, 16, Ocean City, Maryland took the GromSearch title. Flora was the man to beat as he held down the majority of the day's top scores. In Flora's semi final clash he managed an astounding 19.5 heat total (out of possible 20) while displaying his all-for-nothing aerial assault. Flora first nailed two air reverses on a single wave to claim a 9.5, and on his very next ride he landed a tail high full rotation 360 air that claimed the events only 10-point ride. The judges were unanimous in awarding Flora the H2O Overdrive Maneuver of the Event, which entails a limited edition custom embroidered backpack stuffed with $200 in single dollar bills! "I just paddled out and the jersey's were so small that I couldn't see it on my arm when I was paddling so it just felt like I was free-surfing," an enthused Flora stated when asked about his 19.5 heat total, "everyone was saying how miserable it was out in the water and I was just trying to stay positive and be stoked there were any waves at all." Finishing a respectful 2nd place was North Carolina native, Brandon Mitchell who surfed smart and smooth all event; taking 3rd was Hobie Sears, and rounding out the final in 4th was last years RCGS N.C. Regional Champ, National Champ, and International 3rd place finisher and event favorite Cam Richards.
In the Girls 16 & Under division the ladies battled the southerly current rushing into Jennette's Pier, fighting to find a ride offering scoring potential. In the end 3-time RCGS National qualifier and and 2-time Regional champion Chelsea Tuach took the crown. Tuach knows this is her last chance to win a trip to Bells Beach to compete in the international final and she clearly wants it! Finishing in 2nd and surfing solid all day was Rip Curl team rider Darsha Pigford, 3rd place went to Katie Gordon, and rounding out the final in 4th was Emory McClary. It was an impressive showing from all of the ladies competing.
The Boys 14 & Under division saw some familiar faces, as well as some newcomers to the GromSearch podium. Surfing in fine form all event was champion Addison Miles. Miles started off the heat slicing and dicing as he solidified a 7.67, he later backed it up with a 5-point ride, which deemed to be a solid combined score in the diminishing conditions. Finishing 2nd place was GromSearch regular Luke Gordon who was 2011's defending N.C. regional 14 & Under and 12 & Under champion. Taking home 3rd was shredder Quentin Turko, while Jonathan Eden rounded out the final in 4th.
In the super grom division, which is always a fan favorite, the mighty 12 & Under Boys charged the gusty ocean conditions. These boys were forced to run around on the beach multiple times in every heat, as the current pushed them towards the pier. The little guys worked hard all day long and these four finalists definitely deserved every goody in their prize bags. Event favorite Luke Gordon was a double finalist and surfing within his own age division he was the man to beat. During his semi final heat, Luke scored two 8-point rides and amazed spectators with his mature style and form. In the final Gordon found two more solid waves en route to his victory. Boyd Brown, of South Carolina most recently won the 12 & Under division at the RCGS New Smyrna Beach event last month, this time Brown finished solid in 2nd place backing up his NSB result. Little grom Micha Cantor placed 3rd surfing with flare and Gabriel Morvil had a solid run all day finishing in 4th.
With the regional events wrapped up, the GromSearch Series sets its sights on the final event of the season, the National Championships. The four finalists from each division at each of the four regional qualifying stops will receive a personal invite to embark to Upper Trestles to compete against the best in the Nation. The 4-man, 20-minute heats give competitors the feel of a pro event. The 16 & Under Boys and Girls Champion will win an all expense paid trip to compete at the International Finals held in conjunction with the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach 2013.
Rip Curl would like to thank all of its sponsors for making the event such a huge success: H2O Overdrive, Kicker Audio, Dragon Eyewear, Futures Fins, and Waterman's Applied Science.
Be sure to check out GromSearch media partners, Surfline.com and Surfingmagazine.com, for post-event coverage. Remember to look for the Dragon Eyewear 'Frame of the Day,' where groms, friends, parents, and others can vote on their favorite photo (out of five) from the event at facebook.com/DragonAlliance. The winner will receive $50 and a prize package from Dragon.
Be sure to check out ripcurl.com/gromsearch for updates and information.
1st – Brad Flora ($200)
2nd – Brandon Mitchell
3rd – Hobie Sears
4th – Cam Richards
1st – Chelsea Tuach ($200)
2nd – Darsha Pigford
3rd – Katie Gordon
4th – Emory McClary
1st – Addison Miles ($200)
2nd – Luke Gordon
3rd – Quentin Turko
4th – Jonathan Eden
1st – Luke Gordon ($200)
2nd – Boyd Brown
3rd – Micha Cantor
4th – Gabriel Morvil