Sorry, your version of Internet Explorer is too old to view properly.

Why not try Chrome instead.



Kobayashi & Marks new GromSearch U.S. Champs



Rip Curl Grom Search National Final

Upper Trestles, California
25 October 2014

Duo Crowned Rip Curl GromSearch National Champions

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 27 October, 2014 - The much-anticipated Rip Curl GromSearch National Final presented by mophie capped off an amazing season at the famed cobblestone point break of Upper Trestles, CA. A fun combo swell producing waves in the 2 to 3 foot range provided consistent and highly rippable conditions for the nation’s top 16 and under talent. Sixty-four regional qualifying competitors from across the East Coast, Barbados, California, and the Hawaiian Islands comprised the draw, and at the end of the day four deserving surfers reigned victorious.

Not only was $500 up for grabs for each division winner, but also for the boys & girls 16/U divisions, an all expenses-paid trip to compete in the International Rip Curl GromSearch Final, which is going on the Search in early 2015 to an undisclosed location. 

In the premiere Boys 16 & under division, San Clemente surfer, Kei Kobayashi put his local knowledge to use, picking off two quality waves and capitalizing en route to his first National Title in 5 years. An exuberated Kobayashi was almost at a loss for words during his post-winning interview,

“Words cannot describe how stoked I am. I just want to thank my friends, family, & especially my dad. I’m speechless. I’m just so psyched. This has been a goal of mine for the last few years. I can’t even take this in right now; I’m tripping, so rattled… I’m just tripping. Last year I blew it in the final, I had the lead, but lost it in the final minutes, this year I didn’t want to let that happen again. I’m just so psyched!” 

Coming up just short in the final was Luke Gordon (South Carolina) who started out the final strong with a 7.67, but was unable to back it up. 3rd place went to young 13-year-old, Cole Houshmand, and rounding out the final in 4th was perennial contender, Nolan Rapoza. 

Caroline Marks © Steve Morissette


On the girl’s side, Caroline Marks, continued her winning ways and posted numerous 9+ point rides throughout the competition on her way to victory. Marks, who had a slow start to the final, eventually found a rare lefthander and comboed the field with a 9.1 ride. 

“I think I have 5, or 6. Um… yeah 6.” Marks answered when asked how many National Titles she’s already racked up in her career, “I would like to thank my sponsors, and my family for their support. As long as I’m having fun, it doesn’t matter how many national titles I have.” 

Rounding out the final in 2nd place was Emory McCalry, who had a strong lead in the opening moments of the heat, Maddie Peterson who ripped her way to a 3rd place finish, and Tiare Thompson in 4th. 

In the Boys 14/under division, San Diego native, Ryland Rubens continued where he left off in the RCGS regional qualifier at HB Pier, where he went on to take the victory. Rubens absolutely dismantled his competition in every heat, as his smooth backhand hook tore apart numerous Uppers walls. Rubens was the clear standout and will be a top contender for next year’s 16/under division. Runner-up went to Santa Cruz’s, John Mel, 3rd place Jett Schilling, and 4th Devin Bruggeman. 

In the youngest but brightest division, the Boys 12/under, the super groms showed up and blew up! Lead by the committed and radical surfing of champion Wyatt McHale, the youngsters surfed well beyond their years. Runner up went to Cole Alves, who had a chance for the win in the dying moments, but his score just fell short. 3rd place went to Kade Maton, and 4th Elijah Hanneman. 

Caroline Marks © Steve Morissette


A few specialty awards were also given out during the event. The mophie maneuver of the event went to Hawaiian Elijah Fox, for a difficult tail-high air-reverse. Fox was awarded $100 in single dollar bills, packed into a custom RC/mophie backpack, which was also stuffed with amazing mophie gear. Another Hawaiian, Cody Young, was awarded with the Rip Curl SearchGPS Fastest Surfer Award. Young blew away the competition as he was clocked going 19.3 MPH in one of his early morning heats. Young walked away with a brand new SearchGPS watch, which was just released to the market this week. Congrats winners!

Rip Curl would like to thank all of our amazing co-sponsors that make the GromSearch series possible. A special shout out to the presenting sponsor, mophie, as well as Smith Optics, Kicker Audio, FlexFit, Futures Fins, DHD Surfboards, Famous Surf, Surface Sun Systems, BoardStix, Banzai Bowls, Hubert’s Lemonade, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, and our media partners and Surfing Magazine. Thanks to all the parents for supporting our series and showing up to all our qualifying events. We will see you again next year when we kick off the series in early summer in Huntington Beach!

Official Results of the Rip Curl GromSearch presented by mophie



Boys 16/Under
1. Kei Kobayashi                      14.10  ($500)
2. Luke Gordon                        12.80
3. Cole Houshmand                 10.26
4. Nolan Rapoza                        8.40

Girls 16/Under
1. Caroline Marks                    16.17   ($500)
2. Emory McClary                   13.17
3. Maddie Peterson                  7.00
4. Tiare Thompson                   6.57

Boys 14/Under
1. Ryland Rubens                     16.50  ($500)
2. John Mel                              11.53
3. Jett Schilling                        10.70
4. Devin Bruggeman                7.97

Boys 12/Under
1. Wyatt McHale                     14.57   ($500)
2. Cole Alves                           13.26
3. Kade Matson                        9.87
4. Elijah Hanneman                 7.03

mophie Maneuver of the Event: Elijah Fox ($100)

SearchGPS Fastest Surfer Award: Cody Young, 19.3 MPH 

Robin Senour

Latest photos


Follow us and sign up to our daily newsletter