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Jacob Willcox hot at West Oz Rip Curl GromSearch

Jacob Willcox © WA / Davenport


Rip Curl GromSearch series
Presented by Telstra

Surfing Western Australia
Trigg Beach, Perth West Australia
22 October 2011

Event 3 of the 6 event National Rip Curl GromSearch series goes off at Trigg Beach

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 24 October, 2011 : - - Fantastic spring weather and peaky shoulder to head high waves provided the perfect setting, as a packed beach pilled in to see finals day of the Rip Curl GromSearch which was completed yesterday at Trigg Beach. A overnight increase in swell played into competitors hands with light winds and fun waves allowing all six divisions to mix it up at the third event of the Australia wide series presented by Telstra.

Conceived in 1999, the Rip Curl GromSearch has become a 'rite of passage' for Aussie juniors surfers right across the country. With the number of exciting young West Australian surfers emerging at an alarming rate, this event showcased some of the best that WA has to offer. Widely regarded as Australia’s premier series for 16 year and under surfers, both boys and girls the event stepped it up again with a new and exciting format keeping competitors and officials alike on their toes.

In the true spirit of Rip Curl this series searches for and finds the hottest young grommets across Australia and worldwide. The Rip Curl Gromsearch offers winners in the 16 boys and girls divisions a chance to go onto represent their state at the National Final in Queensland, with the winners qualifying for International GromSearch final which runs alongside the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, Victoria. While some were out for fun, others wanted a taste of the coveted title and the opportunity to travel to Queensland in December.

The girl’s 16 and under final was a ‘nail biter’ with Eliza Greene (Yallingup) getting away to a great start locking in an early lead with dual 6 point plus rides. Midway through the heat momentum shifted to Emi Campbell (Denmark) when she scored a heat high 7.10 ride (out of a possible 10) to take the lead. The talented natural footer then backed it up with a big finishing turn on her last wave to secure a 6.77. The combined total of 13.77 was enough to secure the win and a spot in the National final. Greene finished in a close second with a 12.40 combined total ahead of Margaret River's Hannah Massie in third on 8.47 and Imogen Caldwell rounded out the top four with a 6.30 total.

"Im so happy to have won here today, it was a close final and I knew that it was going to be a tight result." Campbell said. "Thanks so much to Rip Curl and everyone here today, Im really looking forward to heading to the Sunshine Coast in December." She continued.

The blue ribbon 16 and under boys final was a different affair with Margaret River surfer Jacob Willcox dominating the heat, scoring an early 7.33 followed by a 8.07 to take the lead within the opening 5 minutes which he never relinquished. Willcox's smooth rail to rail surfing on both his forehand and backhand was hard to match. Despite the best efforts of a stylish Shaun Manners (Margaret River) and  a powerful Harry McPherson (Mandurah), who went wave for wave to try and peg back the leader, neither could find the wave which would allow for an excellent 8 point plus ride for them to take the win. Manners had to settle for second with a 12.70 combined total ahead of McPherson in third who finished on 12.30. A gallant performance over the event couldn't be replicated from Josh Burke (Margaret River) who couldn’t find quality waves securing fourth on an 8.27 total.

"I surf a lot with these guys and knew the final was going to be tough. I stuck to my guns and knew what I had to do. Im stoked to be heading to the National Final and yeah Im over the moon." Willcox said after an impressive outing.

Not to be done with yet, Willcox backed up his win in the 16's with a similar performance in his back up division the 14 and under boys. The win confirmed him as the most consistent junior talent in the West and sending an ominous message across the country ahead of the upcoming National Final. Willcox was up to his usual tricks and posted a 16.17 combined total, out classing Kael Walsh (Yallingup) in second, Duke Nagtzaam (Yallingup) third and Shaun Manners (Margaret River) fourth.

The 14 and under girls also showed their flair with an entertaining final ensuing. Eliza Greene was unstoppable in this one winning ahead of Ella Massie (Margaret River), Emi Campbell and Luciana Burke (Margret River) who finished second, third and fourth respectively. Greene's backhand was the difference as she found the best right hand runners and scored the two highest wave scores.

In the most hotly contested division of the weekend, the micro groms in the 12 and under boys ensured the future of WA surfing is in safe hands with level of surfing exceeding all expectations. In a head to head battle, Yallingup duo Kael Walsh and Duke Nagtzaam put on a clinic with some amazing surfing for their age. Despite scoring a near perfect 8.67 Nagtzaam was unable to find a solid back up score to see Kael Walsh take his first GromSearch win. Walsh's combined total of 15.77 was just ahead of Nagtzaam's 15.34 in the closest final result of all divisons. Lachlan Taylor (Karrinyup) finished third ahead of Felix Leaver (Yallingup) fourth.

In other results Ruby Adams (Denmark) won the 12 and under girls division ahead of Marnie Durant (Red Bluff) in second. Mandurah's April McPherson finished in third ahead of local Trigg surfer Mia McCarthy in fourth place. 

The Telstra ‘Standout Performance’ award was given to Kael Walsh (Yallingup) in the boys division and Imogen Caldwell (Red Bluff) in the girls for their strong performance over the entire event.  The Waves magazine ‘Rising Star’ award went to Harry McPherson (Mandurah) and Marnie Durrant (Red Bluff) who showed great skills throughout the event and especially during their respective finals.
James Fleming (Gerladton) was awarded the Air Asia ‘Wave of the Day’ for the best single turn that he did in his losing semi final. The backhand fin waft was judged by event officials as the best turn of the whole event.

This years Rip Curl GromSearch exceeded all expectations and set a new record number of entries. With junior surfers being at the forefront of the sports development into the future events such as this are great for providing a fun, safe and exciting surfing experience for all participants. The next stop of the Rip Curl GromSearch will take place at Clifton Beach, Tasmania on 5th-6th November, 2011.

The Rip Curl GromSearch is presented by Telstra, with major partner Air Asia and associate partners Waves Magazine and DHD surfboards.

16 & Under Boys Final  >
1.  Jacob Willcox (Margaret River)
2.  Shaun Manners (Margaret River)  
3.  Harry McPherson (Mandurah)
4.  Josh Burke (Margaret River)

16 & Under Girls Final >
1.  Emi Campbell (Denmark)
2.  Eliza Greene (Yallingup)
3.  Hannah Massie (Margaret River) 
4.  Imogen Caldwell (Red Bluff)

14 & Under Boys Final >
1.  Jacob Willcox (Margaret River)
2. Kael Walsh (Yallingup)
3. Duke Nagtzaam (Yallingup)
4. Shaun Manners (Margaret River)

14 & Under Girls Final >
1.  Eliza Greene (Yallingup)
2. Ella Massie (Margaret River)
3. Emi Campbell (Denmark)
4. Luciana Burke (Margaret River)

12 & Under Boys Final >
1. Kael Walsh (Yallingup)
2. Duke Nagtzaam (Yallingup)
3. Lachlan Taylor (Karrinyup)
4. Felix Leaver (Yallingup)

12 & Under Girls Final >
1. Ruby Adams (Denmark)
2. Marnie Durrant (Red Bluff)
3. April McPherson (Mandurah)
4. Mia McCarthy (Karrinyup)

Event 1: Tuesday 27th – Friday 30th September, 2011 - Jan Juc, VIC
Event 2: Monday 3rd – Thursday 6th October, 2011 – Coffs Harbour, NSW
Event 3: Saturday 22nd – Sunday 23rd October, 2011 - Trigg, WA
Event 4: Saturday 5th November, 2011 - Clifton Beach, TAS
Event 5: Saturday 12th – Sunday 13th November, 2011 - Middleton, SA
Event 6: Tues 13th – Friday 16th December, 2011 – Sunshine Coast, QLD

Survey: Map Surfing’s future 

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Justin Majeks

Groms - Surfersvillage


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