Rip Curl Blog
Hawaiian Qualifiers Met with Idyllic Kewalos Conditions for GromSearch Stop #2
An unexpected east-swell groomed by moderate trade winds graced the basin, providing the perfect setting for the second stop of the Rip Curl GromSearch season.
With the gorgeous weather and idyllic surf conditions on offer, it was a welcome change of pace to the Covid-induced competitive sabbatical endured in the islands of late. The groms and parents alike were thrilled for competition for the first time since the 2019 Pipeline Masters.
The 2021 season marks the first time that GromSearch has implemented priority, and with the tight Kewalos take off, it certainly was a treat for the competitors to sit and be a little more selective, as opposed to battling with their peers for pole position on the peak.
In the Boy’s 12/U division, Merrick Mochkatel started out strong in the early rounds, roding his momentum all the way to the final, only to get pipped in the end in a nail biter by Kai Nelson, of Maui. Kai battled through a very close final, with whistles of encouragement and coaching from the jetty’s edge by a solid squad of island supporters.
From the minute the first horn sounded, Rylan Beavers made his intentions very clear in the boys 14/U division. He topped a scrappy one to start, then rampaged his way to the finals with back-to-back totals north of 14 points and nearly snatching the …Lost Surfboards High Heat Total in the process. His low and powerful backhand fit the bowling lefts at Kewalos perfectly, and he started the final swinging and quickly tightened the screws on his competitors. Luke Tema was able to mount a late charge, and surfed amazingly in his own right, but in the end it wasn’t enough to match Beavers, and he emerged victorious.
Paralleling her performance at the first GromSearch stop in Huntington Beach just two short weeks ago, Luana Silva looked to be the clear-cut favorite based on her early round showings. “Lulu” made her way to the final surfing smart heats and utilizing excellent wave selection in the process. Goofy footers Pua Desoto and Vahiti Inzo’s searing rail-work on the bowling lefts was notable throughout the event, and they too found themselves into the final, which was rounded out by Malia Moana Lima, the Kauaian being the soul finalist not calling Oahu home. Silva started with a bang, but it was all Vahiti after that, and she surfed out of her skin to take the win, racking up a 17.56 total and securing the …Lost High Heat Total award in the process.
The boys 16/U final saw the friendly rivalry of Rip Curl’s Luke Swanson and Shion Crawford going toe-to-toe for Kewalos supremacy. Shion has been on an absolute tear of late, coming off a win at the GromSearch National Final in Waco, TX and backing it up with victory at the USA Surfing Championships at Lowers in late June. Swanson was poised and locked in looking for the win, dropping an early score for a backside blow-tail to the tune of a 7.17. But Crawford was hot on his heels, stomping a massive full-rote on a right and putting himself right back in it.
The speed and explosiveness Shion has added to his game has been apparent, and his no-holds-barred approach saw him dropping massive numbers throughout the event and earning the Banzai Bowls Maneuver of the Event in the process. At the heat’s end, Shion’s full court press was too much for Luke to contend with, and Swanson had to settle for second place. Rounding out the final were Kai Martin who was a weekend free-surf standout and Oliver Ziets who quietly stormed through the event and was within striking distance until the final horn blew.
After a long year of changes and adaptations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a resounding joy and appreciation to be donning the jerseys and surfing heats again in Hawaii. The locals and outer-island residents rejoiced and reveled in the camaraderie and excitement of the weekend’s action, and Rip Curl couldn’t be happier to have broken the hiatus with our Kewalos GromSearch event.
A big thank you to Wendell of the HSA goes out for his hard work in making in all possible to happen, and the resounding positivity in the event’s conclusion was in large part due to his hard work. We already can’t wait for next season at the basin as Kewalos seems to continuously provide for this GromSearch stop. Congratulations to our 16 finalists who punched their ticket to the National Final to be held at Churches, San Clemente, CA in October and we look forward to our next stop in NSB Inlet, FL on August 14th & 15th!
We’d like to thank Banzai Bowls, Flexfit, Go Pro, Sun Bum, FCS, Softech, Lost Wahoos for our 2021 GromSearch season would not be possible without the tremendous support of these sponsors.
Follow @ripcurl_usa to follow along with all the action during the season!