New Smyrna Beach, FL (August 15th, 2016): The Rip Curl GromSearch presented by Banzai Bowls returned once again to the premiere East Coast high performance surfing location of New Smyrna Beach, FL.
New Smyrna Beach, FL (August 15th, 2016): The Rip Curl GromSearch presented by Banzai Bowls returned once again to the premiere East Coast high performance surfing location of New Smyrna Beach, FL. When the entire coastline was faced with flat conditions, NSB laughed and provided rippable 1-3 foot glassy peaks consistently all day long. With blazing 90-degree heat, thick humid air, radical lightning bolts on the horizon, and a record setting 96 competitors it was a day to remember.
For the first time in recent memory all four-division winners hoisted the GromSearch trophies proudly above their heads for their maiden event victories. It wasn’t the usual line up of talent we are used to seeing win the Florida contest, at this event Sutton Kerlin, Sophie Falzone, Malakai Martinez, and Ryan Huckabee each took home $250 in earnings, a huge bag of prizes, and bragging rights for the year.
In addition to the event win, the top finalists in each division also earned invitations to compete in the RCGS National Final at Seaside Reef, San Diego on October 29th. The National champions of the boys and girls 16 & under will both win an all-expense paid trip to compete in the RCGS International Final, which will be going on The Search in 2017 to an undisclosed location.
With every competitor in the Boys 16/U final collecting a solid score in the good to excellent range, it all came down to the backup scores. When the results were tallied the underdog of the heat came out on top.
Sutton Kerlin went on to describe his victory, “Wow, I didn’t really expect to be in that heat with so much talent, but somehow I found a few good waves and came out on top. I’ve never won anything other than a small contest, so this one is my biggest result yet, and it’s by far my favorite event I do!”
Finishing runner-up was Bo Raynor who also took home the now prestigious Banzai Bowls Maneuver of the Event. Raynor went to the sky while flying down the line to launch a committed air reverse to earn $300 courtesy of Banzai Bowls. 3rd place went to the event’s only double finalist, Costa Rican, Malakai Martinez, and 4th place went to Luke Gordon. Gordon was also award with the DHD High Heat Total for scoring 16.83 points in his opening round heat. For that solid total, Gordon was awarded with a custom shaped Darren Handley Designs surfboard.
The Girls 16/U final was another tight heat merely separated by a fraction of points. Coming through clutch with a massive layback hack to seal the victory was Sophie Falzone who was surfing in the GromSearch for her final time prior to aging out of the event. Coming in 2nd was Hannah Blevins, 3rd Braidyn Cunningham, and 4th Nicole Fulford.
Moving on to the Boys 14/U it was the aforementioned highflying Costa Rican, Malakai Martinez who dominated the most stacked heat of the entire event. Martinez looked right at home in the small beach break conditions and pulled off at least 10 air reverses throughout the day. Congrats to the rest of the finalists, Seth Brown, Blake Speir, Zander Venezia, Cole Alves, and Micha Cantor.
When it was time for the 12/U Boys hit the water, they made the surf look much bigger and better due to their mini size. First time winner Ryan Huckabee was over the moon taking out the victory over his tough East Coast rivals. Way to go super groms for making the final, Robbie Goodwin, Samuel Reidy, Braeden Kopec, William Hedleston, and Benji Lange.
With another successful event in the books, Rip Curl would like to thank all of the families and locals for providing such a pleasant experience. Rip Curl would also like to thank our event sponsors: Banzai Bowls, Flexfit, Carver Skateboards, Dragon Alliance, Skullcandy, Surface Sun Systems, DHD Surfboards, Clif Bar, Surfing Magazine, Surfline, and Wahoo’s Fish Tacos.
Make sure to check out Surfline’s Facebook page to vote for the #SurflineMoment of the GromSearch, where one lucky winner will get a shout out on @surfline’s instagram account.
We hope to see you next week as the GromSearch series moves on to Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head, NC August 19th or 20th. For more information head to ripcurl.com/gromsearch.
OFFICIAL RESULTS FROM STOP #3 OF THE RIP CURL GROMSEARCH PRESENTED BY BANZAI BOWLS
Boys 16 & Under
- Sutton Kerlin ($250)
- Bo Raynor
- Malakai Martinez
- Luke Gordon
Girls 16 & Under
- Sophie Falzone ($250)
- Hannah Blevins
- Braidyn Cunningham
- Nicole Fulford
Boys 14 & Under
- Malakai Martinez ($250)
- Seth Brown
- Blake Speir
- Zander Venezia
- Cole Alves
- Micha Cantor
Boys 12 & Under
- Ryan Huckabee ($250)
- Robbie Goodwin
- Samuel Reidy
- Braeden Kopec
- William Hedleston
- Benji Lange
Banzai Bowls Maneuver of the Event
Bo Raynor – Air Reverse ($300)
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.