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Erin Brooks and Lukas Skinner crowned 2023 Rip Curl GromSearch International Champions.
Twelve of the finest junior surfers from around the world met at Bells Beach to compete for the prestigious title of Rip Curl GromSearch International Champion. National Champions and wildcards from GromSearch events around the globe descended on the famous point break for a week amongst the elite Championship Tour (CT) athletes at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
After a three year hiatus, the much anticipated 2023 Rip Curl GromSearch International Final was back to the original ‘home’ of Bells Beach to continue the legacy of hosting the next generation of International talent.
The first day of competition saw the Girls and Boys run in windy, chunky 4-6 foot conditions at the world famous Bells Bowl. Erin Brooks (CAN), Tya Zebrowski (EU) & Milla Brown (AUS) were early standouts, winning their respective heats and making a statement leading into the final. Lukas Skinner (EU), Lucas Senkbeil Cassity (MEX) and Westen Sulhan Hirst (IDN) were strongest in the boys division and secured their place in the Final with impressive performances in the lip and on the wide open faces.
The GromSearch finals were called on during a break in the action of the Rip Curl Pro, and kicked off with Erin Brooks, Milla Brown, Tya Zebrowski & Isla Huppatz (AUS) going head to head for 30 minutes at Bells for the title. Milla started strongly but Erin Brooks builts scores of 6.67 & 4.97 from waves at Rincon, then moved onto the Bowl to take the lead and leave the rest of the field searching for an answer. Brooks locked in the highest wave of the day (9.60) for some big turns in the Bowl to secure the title.
“I’m super excited. The conditions were super tough but I was so stoked on the waves I got. That 9.60 was so much fun. All the girls were ripping and I’m really glad. It’s been really nice getting to know everyone.” - Erin Brooks
Lukas Skinner, Lucas Senkbeil Cassity, Maverick Wilson (AUS) and Westen Sulhan Hirst were in for the boys final. Amidst inconsistent conditions with a rising tide, Lukas Skinner got to work early and took the lead, never really stopping to allow the others to catch up. Lucas Senkbeil Cassity used priority midway through the heat to score an impressive 8.17 score and apply scoreboard pressure, but Skinner responded in style with an impressive 9.17 to ensure he locked down the win.
“I don’t really have any words to explain it right now. It’s the biggest win of my life. I stayed calm, I felt good on my boards, it all just clicked. To be on that list of winner’s names is one of the biggest things that I could ever ask for” - Lukas Skinner
1st – Erin Brooks (CAN): 16.28
2nd – Milla Brown (AUS): 12.77
3rd – Tya Zebrowski (EU): 8.40
4th – Isla Huppatz (AUS): 6.50
1st – Lukas Skinner (EU 14.84
2nd – Lucas Senkbeil Cassidy (USA): 13.00
3rd – Westen Sulhan Hirst (SEA): 8.03
4th – Maverick Wilson (AUS): 4.30
Congratulations to all Groms that competed in the International Final. Thank you for putting on such a thrilling show!
Women's WSL athletes include:
Tyler Wright, Carissa Moore, Steph Gilmore, Sally Fitgibbons, Brisa Hennessy, Tatiana Westeon-Webb and Molly Picklum.
(note: GromSearch competitors have won the last 15 WSL women’s World Titles & compiled 12 of the 18 athletes on the 2022 women’s WT).
Men's WSL athletes include:
Gabriel Medina, Owen Wright, Italo Ferreira, Filipe Toledo, Jackson Baker, Samuel Pupo and Kanoa Igarashi.
(note: All 5 surfers in the 2022 WSL Finals were former GromSearch finalists, as well as 20 of the 34 athletes on the 2022 men’s WT)