TURF: Rip Curl GromSearch Presented By mophie Stop #4; Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head, NC; August 18th, 2013.
ENERGY: The final stop of the 2013 Rip Curl GromSearch Presented By mophie wrapped up the season in incredible fashion last weekend. The fourth and final stop of the series found itself back at Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head, NC, with 84 contestants competing in highly rippable two- to four-foot storm surf. Contest organizers feared for a potential downpour, but the rain held off and conditions remained punchy all day long.
SLIDE: With the final 16 Rip Curl GromSearch National invitations up for grabs, the boys and girls went blow for blow until the final horn sounded. And the final heat of the day showcased the top potential of today’s 16 & Under surfing talent. All four finalists in Boys 16 & Under totaled over 14 points, as 7.0s, 8.0s, and 9.0s filtered through their scorelines. But in the end, power surfing reigned supreme, with Rip Curl GromSearch veteran Nic Hdez of Santa Cruz, CA, coming East to throw down the man hack of the event. Hdez, competing in the Rip Curl GromSearch for a record-breaking 10th year, traveled across the country to give himself one last shot to qualify for the Nationals and hopefully the International GromSearch Final, which will be held in conjunction with the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in 2014.
Coming up just short for the runner-up spot with two 8-point rides was Barbados standout, Josh Burke. Fellow Bajan Ché Allan, who was a double finalist last weekend at GromSearch Stop #3 in New Smyrna Beach, took 3rd-place, while talented South Carolinian rounded out the final in 4th. In Boys 14 & Under, Gordon cemented the belief that the East Coast has a strong future, as he and Stevie Pittman duked it out in the doubled-up conditions. However, Gordon was able to connect multiple big maneuvers on a left into the pier to secure the victory. With Pittman taking the runner up spot, 3rd-place went to repeat double finalist Allan, while North Carolina up-and-comer Gabriel Morvil finished 4th.
For the first time this year, the mophie Maneuver Of The Event went to a surfer who was not flying through the sky or hitting the lip. This time around, New Smyrna Beach’s Matthew Glenn backed up his older brother Daniel’s recent GromSearch win on home turf by linking an impressively deep barrel complete with a claim to the judges. Unfortunately for Glenn, he didn’t advance to the finals, but for his effort he walked away with a custom Rip Curl backpack stuffed with $50 cash and a ton of prizes courtesy of mophie.
The Girls 16 & Under final featured another close battle, with New Jersey native Maddie Peterson holding on for the title. Coming up just short in 2nd with a split decision from the judging panel was South Carolina’s Emory McClary, while 3rd- and 4th-place went to two Floridians, Piper Austin and Izzi Gomez respectively. All four receive invites to the National GromSearch Final and the chance to score the golden ticket to fly to Australia on Rip Curl’s dime for the International Final at Bells Beach.
In the youngest division, Boys 12 & Under, all four groms were within one point of victory when all was said and done. In another split decision, Wrightsville Beach’s Bo Raynor reigned supreme, with Stevie Pittman coming up just short again in 2nd, 3rd-place going to Barbados’ Jacob Burke, and 4th-place going to South Carolina’s Micha Cantor.
THE PAIN: Stevie Pittman was definitely feeling the pain upon finishing within inches of victory in both Boys 14 & Under and Boys 12 & Under. But maybe the talented and rapidly growing North Carolinian will use that fire to his advantage come October 26th at Upper Trestles in Southern California, where he’ll be in the running for two National GromSearch victories and hopefully a ticket to Australia.
THE MAN: Rip Curl would like to thank all of the groms and their families for continuing to show up to the GromSearch year after year. Rip Curl would also like to thank its official sponsors: mophie, Smith Optics, Kicker Audio, Futures Fins, Waterman’s Applied Science, Hubert’s Lemonade, Banzai Bowls, Surfing Magazine, Surfline.com, and Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. A big thanks also goes out to Famous Surf Wax for providing GromSearch with custom wax this year.
YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB: “I believe I have what it takes to win Bells. Especially since the National Champs and International Champs are both held at quality right pointbreaks. Winning the GromSearch title at Bells Beach is a huge victory, and I’ve been so jealous the past couple of years watching my international peers compete. I just want to qualify for it so I have the opportunity to win it!”
FINALS RESULTS FROM STOP #4 OF THE RIP CURL GROMSEARCH PRESENTED BY MOPHIE:
BOYS 16 & UNDER
1. Nic Hdez, $250
2. Josh Burke
3. Ché Allan
4. Luke Gordon
GIRLS 16 & UNDER
1. Maddie Peterson, $250
2. Emory McClary
3. Piper Austin
4. Izzi Gomez
BOYS 14 & UNDER
1. Luke Gordon, $250
2. Stevie Pittman
3. Ché Allan
4. Gabriel Morvil
BOYS 12 & UNDER
1. Bo Raynor, $250
2. Stevie Pittman
3. Jacob Burke
4. Micha Cantor
MOPHIE MANEUVER OF THE EVENT
Matthew Glenn, $50