With solid conditions flowing along the northeast for the past 2 weeks, the 2009 Grom Grudge Match in Seaside Park, NJ couldn’t have come at a better time. The next generation of golden groms to come out of the Northeast was lead by eventual winner Brendan Buckley and followed up by Rob Kelly and Ian Bloch. This contest is a big deal on the Jersey contest circuit and, apparently, the winner is showered in hair gel and tanning oil. But we’re a little suspicious. Here, Brendan fills us in:
By Matt Bauer
WALK US THROUGH THE COMPETITION AND CONDITIONS.
The waves were really rippable, so there was a lot of heavy shralping going down. Rob Kelly always rips, Ian Bloch was killing it, and groms like Mikey Ciaramella and Paul Raia were flaring pretty hard. The performance level was definitely pretty high and I think a lot of the kids were pushing themselves.
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT HEAT?
The final and the semi were both pretty tough. I started both heats off in my signature form: fully blowing it. I had a really slow start to both those heats due to my stupid air attempts.
TALK A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR NAIL BITTER SEMIFINAL AGAINST SOUTH JERSEY’S IAN BLOCH.
I was just floundering around for the first part of the heat. Ian had two pretty solid scores, and I had maybe a 2.5. I think he had pretty much written me off, but eventually (probably with, like, 5 minutes left), I got a right that let me do a few turns and a trendy little tail blow thing which put me right back in it. I only needed a 4 after that, and with about a minute to go a little left came to me. It was a smaller wave for the day, and it had a little ramp so I threw a little superman. I went in to the beach, handed in my jersey, and even told the judges that I thought it was pretty lame. They took about 10 minutes on the beach to decide whether or not to give me the score and eventually gave it to me. There was some controversy, but I do feel like I deserved the score. As small and heinous as it may have been, I don’t think I saw anyone else even attempt one all day, so I figured it was at least worthy of a 4.
WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING ON DOING WITH YOUR GRAND PRIZE OF $1,500?
I’ve been Googling where to purchase a midget, but haven’t found any solid sites yet, so it’ll probably be going straight back into traveling. Let me know if you know of any good midget purchasing sites, though.
OK, ENOUGH ABOUT CONTESTS. HOW WAS FILMING FOR SPECTACULAR ADVENTURES?
I went on two trips and they were both sick. Panama was definitely the best trip of my life so far; we scored some fun waves and had a blast. I’ve been looking up to those guys since I was little, so it was nuts to go on a trip with them. And Jerry Riccioti is just the man.
NOW THAT ALL YOUR SPECTACULAR ADVENTURES ARE OVER, WHAT’S NEXT?
I’m planning to do some of the East Coast contests this fall, then hopefully get a fun trip in before going off to Hawaii in the winter.
I’d just like to thank all the sponsors and everyone who helped out with the event. Also I’d like to thank all my sponsors for their support, and Hurricane Bill for giving us some waves. I didn’t even know there was a storm! Not like it was hyped or anything. [Laughs]
Photos by: Craig Bolen