Junior surfers from all over the country converged on Mossel Bay for the first event in the Rip Curl GromSearch series 2022.
The competition got underway in onshore but fun conditions at Inner Pool yesterday morning.
Local surfer Blake Crankshaw was the first surfer to show some good form in the cold conditions, and the day looked set for some high-performance heats.
In the day’s second heat, a shark was spotted in the lineup. After a brief consultation with the surfers and organisers, the competition was moved to Victoria Bay.
It proved to be an excellent decision. The waves at Vic Bay were highly contestable, and the competitors let loose on the right-handers, with some explosive surfing going down.
In the U18 Boys division, there were some red hot performances, including Rory Dace from Cape St Francis.
Although only U14, Dace won his opening U18 heat.
Other surfers to perform well and win their heats included his brother Joel Dace, Connor Slijpen (CT) and Luke Thompson (KZN).
David Emslie and Josh Jefferis both surfed exceptionally well in their respective U16 opening heats, winning comfortably. Despite the easterly persisting, the surf remained good, with three-to-four foot walling right-handers on tap for the junior surfers.
In the U16 Girls division, Sarah Scott, Zia Hendricks, Anastasia Venter and Gemma Hanafey came out on top and advanced to the finals. Scott put on an excellent performance to score the highest points in this round, with a 12.17 two-wave score out of a possible 20 points.
Star Performer Sarah Scott (CT) © Louis Wulff
When the U14 Boys hit the water, the kids were still finding some gems in the rough and put on some sterling performances. Kai Stubbs, Rory Dace, Nathan Tayler and Matt Canning won their heats to advance.
Josh Malherbe (Coffee Bay) advanced in his U14 heat and will be surfing in the semi-finals tomorrow. © Louis Wulff
The U12 division saw Ben Esterhyse and Liam LeRoux place first and second in their semi. Callum Loftus and Mikey Todd took first and second in their semi to advance to the final as well.
The Rip Curl GromSearch #1 will return to Victoria Bay today, Sunday, 10 April, for the final day, with contestable conditions forecast.
The competition is a Premier SAST event, with 1,000 points going to the winners and prizemoney per a premier event.
Event mini-site – https://www.surfingsouthafrica.co.za/2022-rip-curl-gromsearch/