Groms Infiltrate Queens for the 20th Annual T&C Surf Grom Contest Presented by Chili’s
On May 20-21, groms and families alike packed Queens for the 20th Annual T&C Surf Grom Contest Presented by Chili’s, a contest that triumphs family and fun over competition. During the two-day contest, fun-sized aqua surf filled in the lineup, creating memorable surf sessions for the contestants.
Since 1997, the goal of the T&C Surf Grom Contest has been to get Hawaii’s youth in the water with a non-competition style event, providing surfers ages 12 and younger a taste of competitive surfing in a mellow setting.
The contest has served as one of the first surfing experiences for so many in Hawaii’s surf community, and as time continues, those who once donned the T&C contest jerseys continue the tradition by bringing their children to the event.
From longboards to shortboards, bodyboards and the ever popular Kokua Division – which allows parents to assist their 3-6 year old keiki and help them catch waves – the contest creates an arena excitement not just for the kids.
“We see a lot of smiling faces from the parents,” said Craig Sugihara, T&C Surf Founder and Owner. “They’re sometimes more happy than the kids.”
Craig and the T&C staff have continued the contest for two decades because “it’s always about trying to give back. We eliminate the sponsored surfers, so that welcomes the new and upcoming surfers, and it’s their first experience in a contest. That’s why we do it.”
“This is the last year for my young daughter in the Kokua division, she’s 6,” said renown contest surfer Gregg Nakamura, discussing why he couldn’t resist coming down to the beach on event day. “Today we were trying to backdoor the peak, just having a good time. It’s just the good family vibes, everyone pops up a tent and surfs. Kids are super psyched, parents are twice as psyched, prizes are sick and everyone has a good time.”
Besides the waves on hand throughout the day and the games on the beach, something else the children looked forward to were the prizes: goodie bags packed with accessories, along with the opportunity to win surfboards, GoPros, bodyboards and more.
“We’re really fortunate to have support from industry sponsors,” said Adam Borello, T&C’s Marketing Director. “It’s endless swag for the kids, stoking them out. We even gave some GoPros out to some 3-5 year olds.”
With the contest in its 20th year, how many more can parents and contestants expect?
“Any young child getting that first wave here at the contest, they’re just like me – hooked,” said Sugihara. “You’re hooked, you want more. That’s the best part of this event, and as long as the kids and parents enjoy it, it will continue forever.”
20th Annual T&C Surf Grom Contest Presented by Chili’s Final Results