Kolohe Andino, former GromSearch winner. Photo: Taras.
The world is a tricky little oyster for grom trying to make their mark on the ol’ amateur contest circuit. They are barraged by acronyms — NSSA, ESA, VQS, ISA, BPA, FBI, CIA, so on and so forth. So many contests, such a precious amount of time. How, dear groms, do you choose which contests to devote yourself to? Lucky for the tikes, some events are no-brainers.
If you’re under 17 years old, it should require very little thinking when deciding whether or not to compete in the Rip Curl GromSearch. The contest has been attracting and championing young surfers since before iPhones. Kolohe Andino once blew off a WSA event to surf in the GromSearch and won big. Stephanie Gilmore, Matt Wilkinson and Gabriel Medina all revel in that same GS champion glow. Look where their titles got them, and look where a title could get you.
The action starts this weekend in Huntington Beach, but it certainly doesn’t end there. The event then goes mobile, going on tour around this star-spangled nation and coming to a region near you. The top competitors from each regional event gather in at Upper Trestles to battle for the national title. The national winners from the Boys 16U and Girls 16U then go to Bells to spar for the title under the wise eyes of world tour surfers. With a win there, it isn’t too far-fetched to believe we could someday see our young champs back at Bells on the WCT — the WCT! — the mother of all acronyms. —Brendan Buckley
2013 GromSearch Schedule
Huntington Beach, CA
New Smyrna Beach Inlet
New Smyrna Beach, FL
Nags Head, NC
GromSearch National Championships
San Clemente, CA