This weekend’s Rip Curl GromSearch, being staged in Taranaki will crown two extremely fortunate champions that will get an enormous boost to their careers. The winners of the Under 17 Boys and Girls Division qualify to represent New Zealand at the International GromSearch Final being held in May at a yet to be confirmed location.
The two-day event will see top young surfing talent from around the country vie for the qualifying spots. Surfers will also compete in the Under 14 and Under 12 age categories with well over 100 entrants looking forward to the event.
The past winners list for the Under 17 Boys and Girls Division includes the country’s best surfers such as two-time winners from Mount Maunganui Kehu Butler and Raiha Ensor (2015/16), Taranaki’s Daniel Farr (2014), and Elin Tawharu (2017) who have all gone on to now compete on the World Surf League Qualifying Series.
It is an opportunity of a lifetime to compete at a Rip Curl GromSearch International Final and the experience gained from the event is immense. The event caters for a select 16 surfers in the boys division and eight in the girls division and was last held at the Medina Centre in Brazil which was recently developed by 2014 World Champion Gabriel Medina.
Last year’s boys winner Caleb Cutmore (Ham) returns to the event this year hoping for a repeat performance. The 16-year-old has been in good form too, winning two events on the New Zealand Grom Series in the Under 18 Boys Division as well as testing the waters in the Australasian Pro Junior events in Australia.
Cutmore will defend his title against a throng of junior surfers including local surfer Tom Butland (Oakura), Kora Cooper (Rag), Jack Lee (Whaka), Luke Griffin (Mnt), Finn Vette (Gis) and many others.
New Zealand will have a new representative in the girls division. 2017 runner-up Saffi Vette (Gis) will attempt to secure her first win at the event. Vette has spent most of summer competing in Australia and only last weekend surfed to her best result of the season with a seventh place finish at the Sun Zinke Pro Junior held at Manly.
Vette will face off against the likes of Christchurch surfers Estella Hungerford and Tegen Bishop, Raglan’s Brie Bennett who moves up a division, Georgia Wederell (Mnt) and local favourite Ariana Shewry (Oakura) who will want to put on a good showing in home waters.
New Plymouth’s Natasha Gouldsbury is the number one ranked surfer in the Under 14 Division and after a win last weekend at Piha, will want to make it two in a row. Number one seed in the boys, Jayden Willoughby (Rag) will be hoping to find a return to the top of the podium. He finished second to close rival Navryn Malone (Rag) last weekend after three straight wins to start the year.
The Rip Curl GromSearch is the only national event that stages Under 12 Boys and Girls Divisions. This age category gives numerous surfers the chance to compete at a national level for the first time and in a division against surfers their own age. This year sees entry levels in the division top all others for both the girls and the boys.
Action will take place from 8:00am – 4:00pm daily on Saturday and Sunday with Fitzroy Beach as the primary venue and Back Beach as back up option should it be required due to a small swell.
See below for winners of the Rip Curl GromSearch over the past four years.
Under 17 Boys Division
2014 – Daniel Farr (Tara)
2015 – Kehu Butler (Mnt)
2016 – Kehu Butler (Mnt)
2017 – Caleb Cutmore (Ham)
Under 14 Boys Division
2014 – Dylan Preston (Mnt)
2015 – Dylan Preston (Mnt)
2016 – Tom Butland (Oakura)
2017 – Kora Cooper (Rag)
Under 12 Boys Division
2014 – Tom Butland (Tara)
2015 – Tom Butland (Oakura)
2016 – Jayden Willoughby (Rag)
2017 – Navryn Malone (Rag)
Under 17 Girls Division
2014 – Jasmine Smith (Gis)
2015 – Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
2016 – Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
2017 – Elin Tawharu (Mnt)
Under 14 Girls Division
2014 – Zhana Hutchieson (Tara)
2015 – Georgia Wederell (Mnt)
2016 – Georgia Wederell (Mnt)
2017 – Brie Bennett (Rag)
Under 12 Girls Division
2014 – Georgia Wederell (Mnt)
2015 – Ariana Shewry (Oakura)
2016 – Natasha Gouldsbury (Levin)
2017 – Anna Brock (Mnt)
For more information on the Rip Curl GromSearch please contact Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, please contact Leon Parkin on 021386473 or email email@example.com.
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