Kanoa Wong & Co. Go Full Volume At O’Neill Grom Champs!

October 23, 2019 • Big News !, Competition, East Coast Contests

Photos and story by Jason Hoover @hoovtangclan 

The 2019 O’Neill East Coast Grom Tour wrapped up its third season last weekend in challenging 4-6 foot conditions at the historical Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton, North Carolina and was once again hosted by Real Watersports. The Tour includes nine contests spread out between New Jersey and Florida, and consists of competitors ranging in age from 5-17 representing states from New Hampshire to Florida. With $500 on the line for 1st place in all divisions except push and go ($250 for the little groms is a lot of cash!) and a brand new AJW surfboard for 2nd place, the kids were sending it at full volume all weekend!

Grom Tour standout, Kanoa Wong turns it up to 11 during the ECGT grande finale while fattening up his wallet with $1,000 dollars in prize money. Photo: Hoover

Throughout the two-day event, the crowd on the beach witnessed some of the best young talent on the East Coast pushing themselves in proper Hatteras surf.  Sandbridge local, Kanoa Wong took to the air and also put his rail game on display to walk away with a whopping thousand bucks and killer prize pack by earning the top spots in both Open Shortboard and Boys 14-17! Other notable performances were on display by Kai Westcoat, Reid Largin, and Charles Oblinger.

After totally crushing it at the recent ESA 2019 Championships in some heavy hurricane waves, ESA All-Star and Outer Banks grom phenom, Will Deane has served ample notice with his Boys 11-13 ECGT that he could be one of the next major player to emerge from the region. Kid has got what it takes for sure. Photo: Hoover

In the crowd favorite push and go, Asher Craft made some nice turns to earn the $250 cash prize, edging out fellow mini groms, Finn Collins, JB2, and the only tiny wahine in the push and go, VB charger Brynn Johnson.  The U10 division final was a barn burner, with Luke Lopez narrowly edging out Everett Nipper and Dane Costa.  Luke’s dad, former top world tour contender Cory Lopez, chaired his son up the beach while grinning ear to ear!

( l-r ) Big Sis Alana, Papi Cory and un-identified friend chair Luke Lopez up the beach after his win in the Boys / Girls U10. We have a feeling Cory will be hoisting both his kids up like this more than a few times in the coming years ahead. Photo: Hoover

ESA All-Star Tucker Collins had the crowd frothing during the Boys Open Longboard final, coming away with the top prize and the Nixon Hottest Wave Award for a 9.83 nose ride to sweeping turn/floater combo! Dorian Costa used his smooth style to pull into 2nd place overall, with Bear Von Horn and Nicolas Gardella rounding out the top 4. The Boys’ 11-13 division saw Outer Banks local William Deane continue his winning ways with a technical style that is constantly evolving.  New Jersey’s Ethan Dunn stayed busy in the water to come in 2nd, followed by Miles McCall and Zach Starr.

Jersey’s Tucker Collins double whammied with a win in the Open Longboard along with scoring the Nixon Hottest Wave Award with a near perfect 9.8. Photo: Hoover

On the girls’ side, it was an ESA All-Star battle in both shortboard and longboard for the top spots, with the dynamic sister duo of New Jersey locals Morgan and Audrey Iglay, along with Va Beach local Camden Hoover, Kill Devil Hills local Maili McManus, and Jersey shredder, Marina Zappone.  Audrey Iglay edged out her sister to claim the shortboard prize, and Camden Hoover danced on her single fin log to earn the longboard victory. The hand shaped surfboard awards by AJ Jackson were a beautiful addition to the prize packs, and they were created with actual surfboard foam.

Event co-founders / directors, Phil Jackson and Seth Brody’s ECGT contest series, and it’s championship grande finale at the Mecca of East Coast surfing, continues to build each successive season into what is fast becoming one of the most looked forward to events of the year and we look forward in great anticipation to see what is in store for the 2020 season! – Jason Hoover –

Heat mates Morgan Iglay and Camden Hoover ( with board ), along with un-identified shoulder bearer, carry Audrey Iglay up the beach after her victory in U17 Girls . Photo: Hoover

Results 2019 O’Neill East Coast Grom Tour Championships:

Parent Assist Push in                               

1st – Asher Craft

2nd – Finn Collins

3rd – JB2

4th – Brynn Johnson

Asher Craft, winner Parent Assist Push In. Photo: Hoover

Open Shortboard

1st – Kanoa Wong

2nd – Dylan Watters

3rd – Jack Madden

4th – Kai Westcoat

Jack Madden, 3rd Open Shortboard. Photo: Hoover

Boys’ Open Longboard

1st – Tucker Collins

2nd – Dorian Costa

3rd – Bear Von Horn

4th – Nicolas Gardella

One big, happy, surfed out 2019 East Coast Grom Tour family at the awards presentation having a blast at event host Real Watersports sound side compound. Photo: Hoover

Girls’ Open Longboard

1st – Camden Hoover

2nd – Audrey Iglay

3rd – Morgan Iglay

4th – Marina Zappone

Camden Hoover, winner Girls’ Open Longboard. Photo: Papi Hoover

Girls’ 17U Shortboard

1st – Audrey Iglay

2nd – Morgan Iglay

3rd – Camden Hoover

4th – Maili McManus

Morgan Iglay, 2nd place Open Women’s Shortboard. Photo: Hoover

Boys’ 14-17

1st – Kanoa Wong

2nd – Charles Oblinger

3rd – Reid Largin

4th – Dylan Watters

Charles Oblinger, 2nd Boys 14-17. Photo: Hoover

Boys’ 11-13

1st – William Deane

2nd – Ethan Dunn

3rd – Miles McCall

4th – Zachary Starr

O’Niell team rider / ambassador, Cory Lopez goes Old New School with this full bore, drop-wallet-to-layback-snap during a free surf between coaching his kids and working on the mic. Photo: Hoover

Boys/Girls 10U

1st – Luke Lopez

2nd – Everett Nipper

3rd – Dane Costa

4th – Justin McManus

Everett Nipper, 2nd place Boys / Girls U10. Photo: Hoover

Nixon Hottest Wave Award: Tucker Collins

Elijah Cox Most Stoked Grom Award: Saydee Stiles

What it’s all about. Pure stoke! We don’t know who’s more amped, (l-r) East Coast / Outer Banks legend Brett Barley, Grom Tour Directors Phil Jackson and Seth Broudy or O’Neill’s Brad Beach, but Miss Saydee Stiles is most definitely feeling it winning the Most Stoked Grom Award. Photo: Hoover

Reid Largin, 3rd Boys 14-17. Photo: Hoover

Dorian Costa, 2nd Boys Open Longboard. Photo: Hoover

Luke Lopez, 1st Boys / Girls 14-17. Photo: Hoover

A beaming Audrey Iglay scored the cold cash in Girls’ U17 Shortboard but we’re not sure who got the better prize as sister Morgan holds a sweet looking AJW twinnie as her consolation prize. Photo: Hoover

Ethan Dunn, 2nd place Boys 11-13. Photo: Hoover

Cash Nipper off the top at the iconic, “Wave Magnet” groin in Buxton, NC. Former home to decades worth of ESA Championships, more right coast surfing competition magic has occurred at this spot than any other place on the East Coast hands down. It’s a truly beautiful thing to see kids in singlets ripping it up once again at one of the surfing worlds most famous waves. Photo: Hoover

Audrey Iglay, 2nd place Girls’ Open Longboard. Photo: Hoover

If you don’t succeed… Audrey Iglay, 1st Girls’ U17 Shortboard. Photo: Hoover