Costa Mesa, CA (June 6th, 2016): The first stop of the Rip Curl GromSearch presented by Banzai Bowls returned once again to the South Side of Huntington Beach Pier. The surf on the opening day of competition offered pumping 4-5 foot glassy peaks for competitors as a declining swell shifted into the final rounds on Sunday.
With a pack field of 164 competitors in 4 divisions, it took advancing through multiple rounds to reach the all-important final. The four finalists in each division qualified to compete in the Rip Curl GromSearch National Final to be held for the first time at Seaside Reef, Solana Beach on October 29th. For the lucky winners in the Boys 16/U and Girls 16/U divisions at the National Final, they will then be awarded an all expense paid trip to compete in the Rip Curl GromSearch International Final, which has gone on ‘The Search,’ to an undisclosed location once again in 2017.
It was a nail-bitter in the Boys 16/U final as a seesaw battle saw the top two surfers exchange crucial scores in the last minute of competition. In the end Parker Cohn (Newport Beach, CA) put together a string of maneuvers to clinch the victory, $250 cash, and a truckload of prizes.
“Honestly, I had no idea where I was in the heat heading into the final five minutes. I knew that I opened up pretty well, but while I was looking for a backup score everyone else got a few solid ones right in front of me. I ended up scraping on anything I could find on the inside left, and somehow found a little corner that gave me three sections on the 30-second mark. When I found out that was what put me into the lead, I was over the moon,” exclaimed a fired up Cohn.
Cohn went on to note that this was his best competitive result and he can’t wait to head south for the National Final. Just coming up short in the final was Cole Houshmand (San Clemente, CA), third place went to last year’s 14/U National champion Eithan Osborne (Ventura, CA), and fourth the event’s only double division finalist, Kade Matson (San Clemente, CA).
Moving on to the girl’s, it was another tight battle between first and second place. In a come from behind effort, Alyssa Spencer (Carlsbad, CA) tore apart her final two rides to claim the victory over Kirra Pinkerton (San Clemente, CA). Alyssa was able to defend her GromSearch victory from 2015 and now has gone back-to-back. Third place went to Tiare Thompson (La Jolla, CA), and fourth went to young Hawaiian Luana Silva (North Shore, Oahu).
The boy’s 14/U was an all California battle, which was won by the electric front side attack of Nick Marshall (Encinitas, CA). Runner-up went to Kade Matson, in third was a first time GromSearch finalist Dimitri Puolos representing Ventura, CA, and fourth was Noah Hill (Venice, CA).
In the youngest division, the 12/U boys put on an absolute air-show! Somehow each and every year the talent level steps up another level. Both Jett Schilling (San Clemente, CA), and Levi Slawson (Encinitas, CA) had 9 point plus rides in their score line, but it was Schilling’s back up score of an 8.7 that put him over the top to collect the victory. Coming in third was William ‘Tex’ Mitchell (Oceanside, CA), who also was awarded a brand new custom DHD surfboard courtesy of Darren Handley Designs for scoring the events highest heat total, a whopping 18.43 points! Last but not least in fourth place was Taj Lindblad (San Clemente, CA).
Not to be soon forgotten was a maneuver that may stand to be one of the greatest in GromSearch history. North Shore, Oahu’s Finn McGill who unfortunately lost out in round 2 of competition walked away with the Banzai Bowl’s Maneuver of the Event for an effortless front-side full-rotation 360 air. McGill scored $300 and a perfect 10-point ride for the punt.
Rip Curl would like to thank its 2016 official sponsors: Banzai Bowls, Flexfit, Skullcandy, Dragon Alliance, Carver Skateboards, Clif Bar, Surface Sun Systems, DHD Surfboards, and Wahoo’s Fish Tacos.
Be sure to head to Surfline.com and SurfingMagazine.com to check out post event coverage. You can also be a part of the action by voting for the #SurflineMoment on Surfline’s Facebook page.
We hope to see you at our next GromSearch event July 9th or 10th at Kewalos, Oahu. For full event coverage including results, video highlights, photos, and event entries head to www.ripcurl.com/gromsearch.
FINAL RESULTS FROM EVENT #1 HB PIER - 2016 RIP CURL GROMSEARCH PRESENTED BY BANZAI BOWLS
1. Parker Cohn, Newport Beach, CA ($250)
2. Cole Houshmand, San Clemente, CA
3. Eithan Osborne, Ventura, CA
4. Kade Matson, San Clemente, CA
1. Alyssa Spencer, Carlsbad, CA ($250)
2. Kirra Pinkerton, San Clemente, CA
3. Tiare Thompson, La Jolla, CA
4. Luana Silva, Oahu, HI
1. Nick Marshall, Encinitas, CA ($250)
2. Kade Matson, San Clemente, CA
3. Dimitri Poulos, Ventura, CA
4. Noah Hill, Venice, CA
1. Jett Schilling, San Clemente, CA ($250)
2. Levi Slawson, Encinitas, CA
3. William ‘Tex’ Mitchell, Oceanside, CA
4. Taj Lindblad, San Clemente, CA
Banzai Bowls Maneuver of the Event:
Finn McGill, Oahu, HI ($300)
DHD High Heat Total:
William ‘Tex’ Mitchell, Oceanside, CA - 18.43 points
About the GromSearch:
Since Rip Curl developed the concept for the GromSearch events in 1999, the series has spread throughout the surfing world and now culminates with an International final held at a different location each year. The worldwide series is held for male and female surfers aged 16 years and under, commonly referred to as “groms”, with the aim of the GromSearch is to nurture and recruit the next generation of surfers at a grassroots level.
Former GromSearch champions include current WSL World Tour stars; Gabriel Medina, Owen Wright, Jordy Smith, Matt Wilkinson, Nat Young, Kolohe Andino, Tyler Wright, Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons.
Parker Cohn, Boys 16/Under Champion