Rip Curl Blog
Champions Crowned at the 2024 Rip Curl GromSearch USA National Final at Palm Springs Surf Club
For Rip Curl, now in its 24th season of the storied GromSearch series, this 2023 National Final marked a proud moment for the brand, putting a stamp on our continued dedication to being a global leader in discovering and developing some of surfing’s top young talents.
But coupled with that, served an incredibly exciting moment as well given that our newly founded partnership with the Palm Springs Surf Club meant we’d be playing host to the inaugural surf event in PSSC’s freshwater paradise.
The excitement that a wave pool houses is palpable. Perhaps it’s the aspect of knowing that you are literally guaranteed to ride good waves when you show up for the morning session, or perhaps it’s simply the novelty of it all, after spending a lifetime in the brine. Either way, the Rip Curl GromSearch competitors had endured months of eager anticipation for this day, the one on which they would compete for National Final titles in the newly minted Palm Springs Surf Club.
The athletes competing in the National Final found their way into the event via one of the three regular season qualifiers, hosted in California, Hawaii, and Florida, in which the four finalists in each of the four age divisions punched their ticket to the National Final. Or, for a lucky few, they were selected as an online video submission wildcard, with Rip Curl superstars-turned-judges Crosby Colapinto, Mason Ho, and Erin Brooks doing the honors of making the selections.
The athletes arrived at dawn and walked through the front gates to be met with a surreal dreamscape: The water of the basin was cool-blue and without a ripple, and the reflection of a snow-capped Mt. San Jacinto sat encapsulated perfectly in its mirror. It was a scene almost too serene to feel real, and though the temperatures hovered in the low-to-mid 40’s to begin the day, both the air-temps and the action in the water heated up quickly once the event got underway. And although the wave itself saw a couple of competitors have trouble adjusting early on, after a few runs, though they looked like season veterans, even at ages as young as 10 years old.
Rip Curl team athlete Tanner Sandvig rode the day’s first wave, blistering a series of backhand snaps on the glassy wall, which put the 12 & Under Boys Division competitors on notice from the get-go. Sandvig never slowed his pace, and when the dust settled in one of the deepest and most hotly contested divisions, it was he who stood atop the podium and claimed victory.
Speaking of lethal back-hand attacks, Seaside Reef stalwart Eeli Timperi was unleashing absolute fury on the poor, defenseless PSSC left wedges, and it was clear from his opening wave that he was going to be the man to beat on his magic Sharpeye blade. Though Mexican upstart Lucas Cassity threw all he could muster, posting scores in the excellent range as well, it was Timperi who took the title, as well as snagging a custom …Lost Surfboard for securing the day’s highest single wave score in the process.
Completing the podium domination for Rip Curl’s athletes, who took each of the four available division titles, it was San Clemente’s Eden Walla and double-division competitor Lucas Cassity winning the Girls 16 & Under and the boys 14 & Under crowns, respectively.
Even for young athletes of this caliber, it is always interesting to see how they will adapt to the pressures and challenges that wave pool environments present, in comparison to those of the real thing. The Palm Springs pressure-cooker spawned a couple of uncharacteristic misses, but overall, the performance levels were through the roof, and it was further proof of how rapidly progression will be furthered with facilities like these at PSSC. And as we turn the corner to our 25th season of fostering the next generation of stars in our GromSearch Series, the timing couldn’t be better to have more and more of these pools popping up around the world.
Rip Curl would like to extend an extra special thank you to the Palm Springs Surf Club for hosting this inaugural event, to Rosy Hodge and Chris Cote for their stellar webcast duties, and to all of our partners for the 2023 season who helped to make it such a memorable one!
Sponsors: Banzai Bowls, Flexfit, YETI, SunBum, FCS, …Lost, Oakley, Softech Surfboards, Wahoos Fish Taco
2023 Rip Curl GromSearch National Final Results:
Boys 12 & Under Division:
1st – Tanner Sandvig
2nd – Zion Walla
3rd – Finn Castle
4th – Sebastian Peters
Boys 14 & Under Division:
1st – Lucas Cassity
2nd – Tommy Layson
3rd – Cruz Dinofa
4th – Petey Romaniuk
Girls 16 & Under Division:
1st – Eden Walla
2nd – Avery McDonald
3rd – Lanea Mons
4th – Alana Lopez
Boys 16 & Under Division:
1st – Eeli Timperi
2nd – Lucas Cassity
3rd – Will Deane
4th – Luke Tema
Banzai Bowls Maneuver of the Event:
Softech Expression Session Winner:
…Lost High Heat Total Winner:
Catch up on all the action here.