The highly anticipated Rip Curl GromSearch presented by H2O Overdrive National final went down in the history books with what some were calling, "The best surfing in a GromSearch event ever!" Emerald green 3-5 foot set waves poured into the Upper Trestles, San Clemente lineup, and the groms held nothing back. National titles, cash prizes, and all-expense paid trips were on the line as the nation's top 64 surfers ages 16 and under battled for GromSearch glory!
The climax of the event was the money division – the Boys 16/under. After a slow start to the heat, the stand out of the day, Kanoa Igarashi (Huntington Beach, CA) collected three 8 plus point rides in a row with a dazzling display of clean carves, huge blow tails, and high flying aerials. Igarashi had just enough points in his total to hold off his rampaging competitors. With this victory Igarashi earned himself a GromSearch National Title, a $250 check, and an all- expense paid trip to compete in the International GromSearch Final held in conjunction with the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach 2013.
"It feels amazing! I've never been to that area of Australia, it's going to be a great experience and I can't wait!" Igarashi exclaimed when asked about his victory and traveling to Torquay, Australia.
Coming up just short in the final was runner-up Taylor Clark (Encinitas, CA) who threw down the highest air of the day (a clean front-side air reverse into the flats), which scored him 9 points and awarded him with the H2O Overdrive 'Maneuver of the Event.' H2O Overdrive kindly bumped up the usual prize money to $500 in one dollar bills stuffed in a custom made Rip Curl backpack. In 3rd place was last year's defending National Champion Cam Richards (Garden City, South Carolina) and rounding out the final in 4th was Noah Schweizer (New Smyrna Beach, FL).
In the Girls 16 & under division, defending her National Title from 2011, Tatiana Weston-Webb (Kauai, HI) came through in the clutch. In the dying minutes Weston-Webb nailed two strong backhand waves to overcome her best friend and fellow Hawaiian Bailey Nagy (Oahu, HI) who led the early stages of the heat. Weston-Webb will be traveling to Australia to compete in the International GromSearch for the second year in a row and will look to defend her International Title.
"I watched the girls, I watched how Sally (Fitzgibbons) warmed up, took after her footsteps, and it worked," Weston-Webb explained of her winning strategy at Bells Beach last year.
H2O Overdrive surprised the girls by offering up $500 for the girls 'Maneuver of the Event', Nagy performed a big forehand fins-free snap on a set wave, which awarded her the special prize. Taking 3rd place was Meah Collins (Newport Beach, CA) and finishing 4th was Nikki Viesins (FL).
In the boys 14 & under final, it was an absolute annihilation by Kanoa Igarashi, who comboed the field requiring his fellow competitors two 9 plus rides to try to catch up to the in-form surfer. Surfing amazing all day and finishing 2nd was Nolan Rapoza (Long Beach, CA), 3rd went to East Coaster Luke Marks (Melbourne Beach, FL) and 4th was local boy and all around awesome grom Griffin Colapinto (San Clemente, CA).
In the 12/under division, the standout of the day was the eventual champion, Luke Gordon (Pawley's Island, South Carolina). Gordon surfed beyond his years while displaying powerful layback snaps and on rail surfing. Coming up just short was 2nd place finisher Sean Woods, (Thousand Oaks, CA) who had a strong start to the final by linking together multiple maneuvers on his first two waves. 3rd place went to Tyler Gunter (Newport Beach, CA) and rounding out the final in 4th was Eithan Osbourne (Ventura, CA).
Official Results of the Rip Curl GromSearch presented by H2O Overdrive:
1st – Kanoa Igarashi ($250)
2nd – Taylor Clark
3rd – Cam Richards
4th – Noah Schweizer
1st – Tatiana Weston-Webb ($250)
2nd – Bailey Nagy
3rd – Meah Collins
4th – Nikki Viesins
1st – Kanoa Igarashi ($250)
2nd – Nolan Rapoza
3rd – Luke Marks
4th – Griffin Colapinto
Boys 12/Under ($250)
1st – Luke Gordon
2nd – Sean Wood
2nd – Tyler Gunter
4th – Eithan Osbourne
Boys H2O Overdrive Maneuver of the Event: Taylor Clark ($500)
Girls H2O Overdrive Maneuver of the Event: Bailey Nagy ($500)