Groms Shred Long Beach
Wednesday 8 February 2023 The swell might have dropped off slightly for the final day of the Rip Curl GromSearch, but Long Beach continued to deliver high-performance waves and highly contestable conditions for the competitors.
CLOSING IT OUT: Anastasia Venter blasts one off the top to end her ride. Photo Louis Wulff
A slight drizzle in the morning cooled things down a little, but not out in the lineup. Instead, it was red-hot surfing from the get-go, with all remaining surfers going all out for a spot in the finals. The Rip Curl GromSearch is a five-event series. This year, series winners will be based on the competitor's best four of the five competition results.
The U12 Girls division took a bit of a beating in the large and somewhat unruly shorebreak at Long Beach. Still, for the Finals today, they were all surfing with tenacity and spirit. Maya Malherbe was the standout surfer and banked a massive 6.17 score for her highest-scoring wave, which saw her win from Emma Schermbrucker, Summer Barkhuisen and Charlotte Copson. Barkhuizen had impressed in the earlier rounds with some do-or-die heroics in the bigger waves, but Malherbe took her first crown in the end.
Marcello Zedde was the popular winner in the competitive U12 Boys division, with his fans and supporters cheering his every wave from the beach. He won comfortably from Valdemar Gwenin in second, with Harry Walton and Ryder Bertish taking the minor slots.
LEFT LIP LIFT: Ben Esterhuyse makes short work of the best surf day earlier. Photo Louis Wulff
Emily Jenkinson was one of the standouts of the contest, winning her U14 Girls final with relative ease. Camilla Heuer and Leah Lepront were starved of waves and finished second and third, with Jasmine Venter coming fourth.
Kai Stubbs showed nerves of steel in his U14 Boys final, only catching two waves in the 20 minutes allocated. Still, he stuck to his game plan of waiting for the good lefts, and his two-wave tally was enough to see him to victory. Some powerful backhand off-the-tops and clean finishes saw him win his first victory in the Rip Curl series. Ashbjorn Gwenin (2nd), Loghann Tilsley (3rd) and Adam Faclier (4th) had been charging the entire contest but were all out surfed by Stubbs.
"Finally, I got a win," said a very stoked Stubbs, celebrating his victory. "I only got the two waves, but luckily they were enough."
LONG BEACH LEPRONT: Louise Lepront smashes another Long Beach left. Photo Louis Wulff
Sarah Scott, hot off a blistering semi-final win where she scored a 9.17 for her one wave, took the win in the U18 Girls from Louise Lepront, Anastasia Venter and Gemma Hanafey. In the U18 Boys division, Connor Slijpen got an edge over on-form Nate Colby, with Surprise Maphumulo and Joel Fowles next up.
The Premier U16 Division had all eyes on it, and the two finals did not disappoint. Emily Jenkinson did the double and took her second win of the day, beating Anastasia Venter into second. Louise Lepront and Nina Bone were third and fourth. Jenkinson was impressive throughout the event for her impressively smooth and powerful surfing. She vindicated all the attention by winning the two divisions.
The Premier U16 Boys division was a close affair, with all surfers going full-tilt in the highly contestable two to three-foot lefts still pouring through. The heat shifted a few times until, eventually, the final siren went on what was most definitely the best Rip Curl GromSearch so far. In the end, Levi Epenetos took a narrow win from Levi Kolnik in second, with Josh Malherbe in third. Local surfer Massimo Bienz was fourth.
The next Rip Curl GromSearch will take place at Victoria Bay on March 11/12.
NO SURPRISE: Surprise Maphumulo took third in the U18 boys division. Photo Louis Wulff