Groms wrap-up for Rip Curl Gromsearch Shelley Beach
Rip Curl GromSearch
Shelly Beach (Central Coast NSW)
July 20, 2002
Search for a super-grom
Minuscule conditions greeted competitors and spectators for the final day of Rip Curl Gromsearch.
With an average weight for the competing field estimated at a mere 35kg, and enough combined energy to power the entire Central Coast semi-finals were soon underway.
Light-offshore winds combined with superb weather to provide half the ingredients the Gromsearchers were after. The super-shallow sand-bar at Shelly beach was the day´s saviour, dragging small right and left peaks in throughout the day.
Being rated on their best two waves, there were two clear plans of attack by those in line for the Rip Curl Gromsearch titles.
1. Chase any and every swell in you vicinity and Boost, Launch, Fly
2. Test the nerves by waiting for the rare 2 foot sets for longer rides and more chance to go faster and bigger.
Early afternoon finals with the incoming tide provided more consistent surf. This opened the flood-gates for finalists to take performances to a higher level. Scores in the excellent (8 or more points out of maximum 10) were a regular occurrence.
With all regions from Ulladulla (NSW) up to the Gold Coast (Qld) represented in the finals, its fair to say that Rip Curl Gromsearch 02/03 is only the start of many an intra-regional surf tussle for this new pack of Gromsearchers.
Central Coaster, Ashley Kaufer took the clean sweep in the 12 and Under Girls finals with consistent yet on-edge surfing.
The 12 and Under Boys Rip Curl Gromsearch title is heading North to Byron Bay with Garret Parkes after winning every heat he contested throughout the division.
Back-to-back titles on the shelf for Boomerang beach´s Jessica Hickson after also claiming the 2001 Rip Curl Gromsearch 14 and Under titles at Avoca Beach.
Rip Curl Gromsearch veteran, Matt Wilkinson (Copacabana) ulilised his local knowledge and stamina to take-out the 14 and under boys final. Reaching the semi-finals in the 16 and Under division also, Matt kept the back-hand attack going through all 4 of the heats he surfed on the final day.
Another multi-division competitor, Eliza Roberts (Cronulla) tasted success by stepping to the next division. Placing second in the 14 and Under division, Eliza bounced back in the 16 and Under final to take the Gromsearch Title.
The largest and most hotly contested division was yet again, the 16 and Under boys. Manly surfer Sam Page bounced back incredibly after a disappointing start to his Rip Curl Gromsearch campaign in round #1.
Page´s fast and loose style and considerable competition history couldn´t get him through his opening heat of Rip Curl Gromsearch. Placing 4th in his first appearance, the natural footer was forced to surf through the additional "Challenger round" and work his way into winning form.
Peaking at the perfect time, Page snuck into a good set-wave with 3 minutes remaining in the 16 and under final. Three fast, tight fore-hand gouges with fins blazing secured a 7 point ride and shuffled the Sydney-sider from 3rd to 1st place.
Ulladulla´s Tim Wrench could only look-on in dismay to see the Rip Curl Gromsearch titles go begging. The 3 minutes after Page´s top scorer just didn´t provide the opportunity for the powerful Wrench to bounce-back.
Yet again, on beach activities kept the masses of grommets busy with the highlight being the "Rip Curl Gromsearch -Fudge Spray tent". Fudge designers were shipped up to Shelly Beach for some serious hair colouring and body painting. The Gromsearchers happily lined up for the Fudge fluoro hair treatment, paint-on tattoos and face markings.
Notable designs were: The 8-ball face, Aussie-oi -oi face, mini-Dave-Neilson tatts and the red and black "Bombers" Mohawk. Lifesavers and G7 fuelled the onslaught.
Rip Curl Gromsearch provided the perfect vehicle for a number of enterprising groms who took advantage of the niche market (surfers weighing under 45 Kg´s and looking to update their 5´4" shortboard). Shelly Beach was briefly transformed into Gromsearch Gromboard mega-store.
Intrigued by the festivities and never one´s to miss out on opportunities to BOOST, LAUNCH and FLY across the surf, Narrabeen (Sydney) and Umina (Central Coast) professional surfers, Chris Davidson and Dave Neilson got amongst the action on the beach, witnessed the talent of Rip Curl´s Gromsearchers and busted the fins themselves in the Rip Curl Gromsearch "Boost for Cash"
In the expression-session style event, the open-age competitors showed their style with new-age aerial and trick surfing perfect for the small, fun surf.
Coming away with the bucks was Neilson with the signature airborn manoeuvre, half rotation that the Central Coaster took all the way to the World Championships earlier this year.
Rip Curl Gromsearch now heads to the cooler waters and stronger swells of Victoria´s famous Torquay breaks. The September school holidays will provide the next opportunity for hundreds of groms to BOOST, LAUNCH, FLY.
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