East Coast Grom Tour Presented by O’Neill — Stops #1 and #2

May 27, 2017 • East Coast Contests

Written by Jason Hoover — The first two stops of the East Coast Grom Tour presented by O’Neill went down at Little Island Fishing Pier in Sandbridge, VA, on May 20th and and Garden City, SC, on May 21st, drawing groms 16 and under to this inaugural circuit.

Lee Jones, the founder of 17th Street Surf Shop, was known as a generous man who invested a great deal of time and effort into giving back to the kids, his community, and to East Coast competitive surfing. Growing up in Virginia Beach, Seth Broudy was one of the many lucky groms to benefit firsthand from Lee’s grassroots efforts, participating in the 17th Street Billabong Surf Series.  The event consisted of six contests taking place at various beaches from Maryland to Florida, with top prizes including trips to Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

This contest series and Lee’s giving attitude made a lifelong impression on Seth, who was also one of the winners of the top prizes to Hawaii. Not only did Lee organize and handle setup/breakdown, he would pack the kids into the car and drive them up and down the Eastern Seaboard to events — he was even known to break out a humongous griddle early in the morning on contest days and make bacon and eggs for the competitors and their families.

As the years passed and Seth grew to have his own family, he would run into Lee and reminisce about the positive impact the series had provided the community’s youth. Seth had always dreamed of running something similar as a way to give back to the new generation of groms and as a gesture to show Lee the impact he had made on kids like Seth. When Lee Jones passed away last year, Seth knew what he had to do to honor the man who had meant so much to him.

During a winter surf mission to Puerto Rico, Seth shared his vision with ASF director and Surf Dreams Foundation founder Phil Jackson, who immediately loved the idea and agreed to help Seth turn his dream into a reality. Soon after, Brad Beach and O’Neill came on board as the presenting sponsor and the East Coast Grom Tour was born.

Seth Broudy gives a speech about his mentor, Lee Jones, who inspired Seth to start the East Coast Grom Tour. Photo: Jason Hoover

With a heartwarming gesture to Lee Jones and his family and friends, Seth scheduled a memorial paddle-out for Lee at the first East Coast Grom Tour contest at Little Island Pier in Sandbridge, VA, which was the first location Seth ever surfed in a contest as a menehune. As Lee’s family, friends, and co-workers gave brief speeches on the beach about Lee’s life and accomplishments, a new generation of groms learned the story and the importance of giving back to their community. Seth pointed out that Lee gave him and the other kids a chance to see new places, learn about new cultures, and make friendships and memories that last a lifetime.

Everyone gathers for the Lee Jones memorial paddle-out. Photo: Robbie Hickman

Honoring Lee at the first stop of the inaugural East Coast Grom Tour. Photo: Robbie Hickman

Last Saturday started with blue skies and a light southwest wind as the Atlantic Ocean greeted the competitors with mellow, knee-high, glassy waves. The contest began with Open Longboard followed by the Boys 11-13 division, all while other competitors enjoyed themselves in the water and on the beach with games of tug-of-war, sand wrestling, and a beach version of cornhole using surf wax and boardshorts. Then, Mother Nature flipped the switch and participants and spectators were given a hard northeast wind that kicked the surf up to a solid chest-high on the older competitors and head-high to some of the menehunes.

Photo: Robbie Hickman

As the surf grew, the competition in the water intensified and the kids battled it out in an attempt to advance and also earn bonus awards like the Nixon Most Radical Maneuver award. Kanoa Wong, known for his progressive shortboarding, showed the crowd that he can also get it done on a log by using stylistic turns to cross-step his way to a 1st-place finish, followed in 2nd-place by VLF team rider Scott Pieno.

Kanoa Wong styling on his way to an Open Longboard win. Photo: Jason Hoover

Open Longboard runner-up Scott Pieno. Photo: Jason Hoover

The co-ed U10 final was a hair raiser for both competitors and their families, as the tiny groms charged the heavy surf and gave it their all. During the final, 1st-place finisher Mako Musilunas showed poise under pressure in a scary situation when he was sucked under the pier and his leash was caught on a piling. Luckily, Ralph Pelliccia was in the water in a blink of an eye and assisted Mako back to the beach safe and sound. Being the tough competitor that he is, Mako paddled back out and finished his heat.

Mako Musilunas after he won the U10 division — and got rescued by Ralph Pelliccia. Photo: Jason Hoover

During the Girls 11-13 shortboard division, ESA All-Star Rachel Wilson continued her winning streak by claiming 1st-place, edging out Sommer Broudy in 2nd-place. Emery Guarin won the Girls 14-16 shortboard division, with her best friend Lily Brooks earning 2nd-place. The Neff Most Stoked Grom award was presented to Camden Hoover, who took on the boys and advanced to the finals in both longboard and shortboard.

Camden Hoover, most definitely the Neff Most Stoked Grom. Photo: Robbie Hickman

On the Boys 14-16 side, O’Neill teamrider Hunter Clarke earned a hard-fought victory over Carson Beach, Aaron Arsenault, and Jason Broudy. The Boys 11-13 final showcased Sandbridge locals Kanoa Wong and Blayr Barton going all out along with Owen Carter and Kai Wescoat. Blayr claimed the victory over Owen and also earned a new watch by winning the Nixon Most Radical Maneuver award. Demonstrating great wave selection on his home break, Blayr used power and speed to blow his fins out on a massive turn on a solid chest-high wave. When the scores dropped, he had earned two 9s and a 9.5, giving him an average of 9.167.

Hunter Clarke with his hard-earned cash. Photo: Jason Hoover

Running 4-person, 20-minute heats using WSL rules, head judge David Portch and tabulator extraordinaire Mary Barnes helped keep things running smoothly all day while Phil Jackson kept the crowd in tune with the action in the water. As the day ended and the plethora of great prizes, unique awards, and rolls of cash were handed out to the competitors, the parents cheered and thanked Seth Broudy, Phil Jackson, and Brad Beach for their efforts as they loaded up and headed south to do it all over in Garden City for stop #2 (full results from both contests below).

For more information about the contest series, visit EastCoastGromTour.com.

Stop #1, Sandbridge, VA, Results — Saturday, May 20th:

Boys/Girls u10

1) Mako Musilunas

2) Palladin Pellicia

3) Zach Starr

4) Camden Hoover

Boys 11-13 champ Blayr Barton. Photo: John Wright

Boys 11-13

1) Blayr Barton

2) Owen Carter

3) Kanoa Wong

4) Kai Westcoat

Boys 14-16

1) Hunter Clarke

2) Carson Beech

3) Aaron Arsenault

4) Jason Broudy

Girls 11-13

1) Rachel Wilson

2) Sommer Broudy

3) Cece Malbon

4) Anna Oliveri

Open Longboard finalists Jason Hoover, Kanoa Wong, Scott Pieno, and Camden Hoover. Photo: Jason Hoover

Open Longboard

1) Kanoa Wong

2) Scott Pieno

3) Camden Hoover

4) Jason Broudy

east coast grom tour

Girls 14-16 finalists Emery Guarin, Lily Brooks, and Sophia Carver. Photo: Jason Hoover

Girls 14-16 

1) Emery Guarin

2) Lily Brooks

3) Sophia Carver

Most Stoked Grom Award

Camden Hoover

Nixon Most Radical Maneuver

Blayr Barton

Stop #2 Results, Garden City, SC – Sunday, May 21, 2017:

Boys u10

1) Palladin Pellicia

2) Gage Jackson

3) Mako Musilunas

4) Declan Riley

Boys 11-13

1) Kanoa Wong

2) Oliver Royston

3) Roger Larsin

4) Lucas Montsinjer

Boys 14-16

1) Cory Jackson

2) Tyson Royston

3) Reid Largin

4) Elijah Cox

Open Longboard

1) Colby Crombie

2) Cory Jackson

3) River Fun

4) Mark Williams

Girls 11-13

1) Bree Labiak

2) Abbie Yates

3) Ashley Kleinsmith

4) Bryce Smith

Girls 14-16

1) Sophia Ordenez

2) Katerina Downey

Open Shortboard

1) Cory Jackson

2) Reid Largin

3) Kanoa Wong

4) Oliver Royston

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