The 2017 Rip Curl GromSearch presented by Banzai Bowls has wrapped up its 4th and final regional qualifying stop over the weekend at Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head, NC. With one final chance for competitors to qualify for the RCGS National Final at Steamer Lane this October the event brought an array of competitors from across North America. The regions represented by event finalists included Barbados, California, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and Maine.
What all competitors had on their mind was the coveted top four finish per division, which thus earns them the invitation to compete in Santa Cruz. As those who did final, earned it through battling tough ankle to waist high surf as classic summer East Coast conditions were on offer. As the GromSearch saw in Florida last week, another treacherous thunderstorm entered the area midway through the finals, and put the event on a two-hour hold, before finishing up in the late evening.
Breaking the laws of surf physics was long-time GromSearch veteran, Zander Venezia of Barbados, who easily stands head and shoulders above the majority of his competitors. However, his tall frame did not hold him back as Venezia took his first GS win after competing for the past six years. Venezia’s 16/U victory over close Bajan friend Jacob Burke, (who was the event’s Banzai Bowls Maneuver of the Event winner for a critical backside hack in the final), was a split decision by the judging panel. But in the end it was Venezia who took the win, $250 cash, and bragging rights!
Venezia raised his trophy high, and explained his event strategy, “I’m very excited and super happy. You know the waves were pretty challenging, but still kind of fun. I was trying to use my (bigger) size to my advantage, because I can be more powerful. It’s a lot harder to catch speed, but I can push more water. I was trying to use my size to my advantage, rather than my disadvantage.”
In the Girls 16/U it was a cross-country traveler with a rich GromSearch winning record who took the top prize. Alyssa Spencer flew over from California with hopes of qualifying and not only did she achieve that goal, but she won her 3rd GromSearch event in the past three years.
The win didn’t come easy, as it was another split decision from the judging panel, as Rhode Island’s Maria Barend almost stole the victory with her own 9 point ride in the final.
Venezia and Spencer were obvious event standouts, but one surfer shone even brighter to stand out above the rest and his name is Diego Ferri. Ferri who made the trek from Hawaii not only won his own age group in the 12/U, but he also dominated the 14/U final, and walked away with the …LOST Surfboards High Heat Total for accumulating 17.17 points in the second heat of the day. Ferri’s small frame fit conditions well as he flew over flat sections and decimated all that was on offer at Jennette’s Pier.
Now with the GromSearch qualifying season all wrapped up, the attention now shifts to the 2017 RCGS National Final at Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz October 6th-7th.
Rip Curl would like to thank our event sponsors, Banzai Bowls, Flexfit, Dragon Alliance, POSCA, Leus, Hydro Flask, Stance, Surface Corp, …LOST Surfboards, and Wahoo’s Fish Tacos.
Be sure to head to Surfline.com to check out post event coverage. You can also be a part of the action by voting for the #SurflineMoment best photo on Surfline’s Facebook page. For full event coverage, video highlights, photos, and entries head to www.ripcurl.com/gromsearch.
OFFICIAL RESULTS FROM STOP #4 OF THE RIP CURL GROMSEARCH PRESENTED BY BANZAI BOWLS
1. Zander Venezia, Barbados ($250)
2. Jacob Burke, Barbados
3. Manny Valentin, Puerto Rico
4. Seth Brown, South Carolina
5. Italo Mesinas, California
6. Logan Kamen, New Jersey
1. Alyssa Spencer, California ($250)
2. Maria Barend, Maine
3. Kailey Bogart, Hawaii
4. Rachel Wilson, North Carolina
5. Leah Thompson, North Carolina
6. Faith Patten, Florida
1. Diego Ferri, Hawaii ($250)
2. Laird Myers, Virginia
3. Isauro Elizondo, Panama
4. Manny Valentin, Puerto Rico
5. Luke Wyler, California
6. Kyle Tester, New Jersey
1. Diego Ferri, Hawaii ($250)
2. Luke Wyler, California
3. Kendrick Remahl, North Carolina
4. CJ Mangio, New York
5. Braeden Kopec, Florida
6. Petey Romaniuk, California
Banzai Bowls Maneuver of the Event
Jacob Burke, Barbados ($300)
…LOST Surfboards High Heat Total
Diego Ferri, Hawaii 17.17
About the GromSearch:
Since Rip Curl developed the concept for the GromSearch events in 1999, the series has spread throughout the surfing world and now culminates with an International final held at a different location each year. The worldwide series is held for male and female surfers aged 16 years and under, commonly referred to as “groms”, with the aim of the GromSearch is to nurture and recruit the next generation of surfers at a grassroots level.
Former GromSearch champions include current WSL World Tour stars; Gabriel Medina, Owen Wright, Jordy Smith, Matt Wilkinson, Nat Young, Kolohe Andino, Tyler Wright, Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons.