Kewalos Provides Record Breaking Conditions for Stop 2 of the 2019 Rip Curl GromSearch
Stop 2 of the Rip Curl GromSearch rolled into the Kewalo Basin last weekend, July 13th – 14th, for an epic two days of competition along the South Shore of Oahu. After 60 action-packed heats, 16 competitors locked in their spot at the GromSearch National Final taking place at the BSR Surf Resort in Waco, TX. The National Final will go down as the first junior organized contest at the pool, offering the perfect stage for the nation’s best groms to put on a show.
Opening day saw playful, warm water A-frames providing the perfect canvas for competitors during the opening rounds. Those that made it through the first day anticipated what the morning would bring as forecast partners, Surfline, called for a strong SSW swell to send six -ten foot plus waves toward the Basin. Outside of the water, GromSearch sponsors lined the harbor wall offering up the necessary Banzai Bowls and plenty of Wahoo’s Burritos to competitors and families throughout the day.
The Boy’s 16/U saw huge sets and big scores as Robert Grilho III (HI) took on fellow Hawaiians Luke Swanson, Brock McTigue and Kai Paula. “I’m super excited to be here and stoked the waves were absolutely firing. It was great to have the opportunity to showcase my style of surfing and see everyone else’s surfing progress throughout the day.” In a power-surfing showcase heat, Grilho used his signature aggressive style to put up an 8.50, backing it up with a solid 7.73. The heat rounded out with Swanson earning a 15.34 total, McTigue with a 13.43 and Paula following closely with a 13.33.
The Girls 16/U Final also saw an all-Hawaiian heat as Luana Silva (HI), Leila Riccobuano (HI), Vaihitimahana Inso (HI) and Savanna Stone (HI) took on pumping Kewalos walls. “Today was really special, I’m super happy to come away with the win. The waves were so much fun out there, it was about 8ft and firing. I’ve never surfed Kewalos like this and it has to be the best GromSearch I’ve done.” Luana had quite the day as she put up a 10 in the Semi-finals and a 9.83 in her Final. Luana finished with a solid heat total of 15.66 while Riccobuano earned 14.37, Inso 13.00 and Stone finished with 1.33 points.
Shion Crawford lead the Boys 14/U final for most the heat, leaving the remaining 3 competitors in a tight race for 2nd place. In another all Hawaiian heat, Shion met Makana Franzman (HI), Luke Swanson (HI) and Keanu Taylor (CA) in a punt filled final. “That was a really fun contest and I’m stoked to walk away with the win at this comp. I had a few super fun heats with a few barrels and almost had a couple big airs. Thank you, Rip Curl for a great contest,” echoed a mega stoked Crawford. Crawford took the big W with a 16.50 heat total, with Franzman earning 13.70, Swanson with 13.66, and Taylor with 13.40 points. This crew is heading to Waco for what is sure to be a division worth keeping an eye on.
The events youngest competitors easily saw some of the largest waves of the event as the Boys 12/U Final dealt with multiple 10 foot plus wash throughs rolling in during the heat. Event winner Luke Tema (HI) took on Rylan Beavers (HI), lone-Californian Luke Wyler and Stone Suitt (HI). “This contest was so fun; it was the biggest and most fun Kewalos I’ve ever surfed. There were actually barrels at Kewalos which is pretty crazy; I’m stoked to win this one,” exclaimed Tema. Tema put up a 9.17 on a long right to put him in the lead, finishing the Final with 14.50, leaving his fellow competitors searching for large scores for the win. Beavers followed in second with 10.33, Wyler 3rd with 9.50 and Suitt wrapped up in 4thwith 5.90 points.
Luke Swanson (HI), the lone double division finalist, walked away with the …Lost Surfboards High Heat Total (19.00) winning a custom …Lost Mayhem Surfboard, as well as winning the Banzai Bowls Best Maneuver with a lofty frontside air reverse. He’ll get the coveted custom handmade Banzai Bowl filled with 150 $2 bills.
After two events now cemented for 2019, there are 32 spots locked in for the National Final held at BSR Surf Resort in Waco, Texas. Which means there are still 32 spots up for grabs! And from what we’ve seen this season, this year is one for the record books!
The Rip Curl GromSearch series would not be possible without the incredible support from its partners: Banzai Bowls, BSR Surf Resort, Perfect Swell, Surfrider Foundation, Lost Surfboards, Wahoos, Flexfit, Sector 9, Oakley, FCS, Surface and Surfline.