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RIP CURL GROMSEARCH HEADED TO PALM SPRINGS FOR THE 2023 FINALE

The qualifying is done. The athletes are ready. Next up is showtime.


The 2023 Rip Curl GromSearch presented by Banzai Bowls is headed to the Palm Springs Surf Club for the finals.


The 'Path to the Pool" began with a qualifier in Huntington Beach California, then proceeded down to Kewalo Basin Oahu and concluded with a stop in New Smyrna Beach Florida.


Through those events, 46 athletes have stamped their ticket to the finals.


But wait, there are more to come.


When the finals happens on October 21st, 64 athletes in all will be hitting the wave pool in hopes of being crowned a champion


" We will have wildcards selected by Rip Curl and other supporting brand partners," said Rip Curl team manager Noah Cohen. "We will also have a video submission contest that will launch in the near future."


As for qualifiers that took place, one big change from last year is the number of participants. Held last year at the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch, only the winners of each division got to participate. This year all four finalists in all divisions will get to go.


If you made the finals, you earned a trip to the championships. The bonus for each winner was a $500 prize, so winning did make a difference.


Last years runner up in the 16 & under boys division, Lucas Cassity, will return as a double qualifier, having made the finals in both the 16u (California) and the 14u (Florida and California).


"I'm super excited that I will be able to attend the Rip Curl Gromsearch national final, especially because I was able to qualify in both divisions," said Cassity. "I don't really have much experience in wave pools, so last years' experience gave me a better idea how to surf an artificial wave better."


So, without further ado, let's see everyone that made the finals and how the winners made their way to the top.



Qualifier # 1 Huntington Beach


Boys 16 & Under

Winner Eeli Timperi


2nd Luke Wyler, 3rd Will Deane, 4th Cannon Carr


Two-time current national champion Eeli Timperi continued his hot summer by taking down the division with a 14.50 heat score. His 8.33 and 6.17 were the only two waves he caught during the final as all competitors struggled to get waves. Only 10 were caught by all four.




Boys 14 & Under

Winner Petey Romaniuk


2nd Gavin Bren, 3rd Lucas Cassity, 4th Ian Honda




Petey Romaniuk came from behind in this one and his last two scores were 7.83 and 6.17 to secure the win. Gavin Bren maintained second with a high of 7.00.








Boys 12 & Under

Winner Tanner Sandvig

2nd Finn Castle, 3rd Kai Thompson, 4th Brody Buck



Dropping back-to-back 7+ scores is always good and, in this case, it lifted Tanner Sandvig to the win. His 7.43 and 7.33 was enough for a 14.76. Finn Castle battled to the end, but his 13.13 score came up just short.







Girls 16 & Under

Winner Eden Walla


2nd Maddie Stanton, 3rd Lanea Mons, 4th Remy Todd




Eden Walla continued to prove why she is a top performer on the west coast as she parlayed her only two scores of the final, a 7.50 and a 7.43 into a heat winning 14.93 score. Maddie Stanton put up a 7.03 in her second-place finish.


"The key was to just have fun and not be too picky about the waves. I came really close last year so I'm stoked to make it this year," said Walla.



Qualifier # 2 Kewalo Basin, Oahu


Boys 16 & Under

Winner Luke Tema


Photo www.instagram.com/coconutadventures

2nd Dylan Sloan, 3rd Kahlil Schooley, 4th Keano Jardine


Luke Tema continued his great run over the last month with a solid win. Coming off a National Title in the NSSA at Huntington in July, Tema caught just two waves in this one, an 8.17 and a 6.60. Some 13 waves later by his three opponents, Tema's 14.77 stood tall.


"The waves were pretty slow for the final. I got a decent wave to start so i wasn't worried about backing it up quickly. It will be fun to try out a new wave pool. I'm stoked," said Tema.



Boys 14 & Under

Winner Reef Isono


Photo Instagram.com/coconutadventures

2nd Zoulten Poulsen, 3rd Kahlil Schooley, 4th Gavin Goodwin




The finals came down to a match up between Reef Isono and Zolten Poulsen.

Both surfed five waves and both needed late scores. However, it was Isono that locked up the win with his last score, a 5.83 to win 11.26-10.30






Boys 12 & Under

Winner Merrik Mochkatel


Photo instgram.com/coconutadventures

2nd Hayden Flores, 3rd Matias Banto, 4th Kea Moody



Merrik Mochkatel saved his best score for last when his 7.33 locked up a win over Hayden Flores, who finished second. Earlier in the event, Mochkatel dropped scores of 9.10, 8.27 and 8.17.


"It was a super lully heat the waves dropped. I was really stoked to lock in my first wave and get an ok score. I was waiting for a back up and thankfully it came through. Rip Curl held such a good event and I'm super stoked. I'm looking forward to the Palm Springs wave pool with all the boys."



Girls 16 & Under

Winner Vaihiti Inso


Photo instragram.com/coconutadventures

2nd Isla Sexton, 3rd Skai Suitt, 4th Zoie Zeitz


When only two waves are scored in a final, it's not often you will be a winner but Vaihitimahana Inso made that happen. Her scores of 9.67 and 7.67 were good enough for a heat winning 17.34 score. The other three competitors combined for 11 scores.





Qualifier # 3 New Smyrna Beach Florida


Boys 16 & Under

Winner Gabe Griffin


Photo instagram.com/carolinesearsphotography

2nd Logan Radd, 3rd Lucas Cassity, 4th Braeden Kopec


Gabe Griffin caught just three waves in the final, but his 6.90 and 5.17 was enough to take the win by 0.60. Runner up Logan Radd had a 6.27 high in his eight waves scored. Griffin's signature moment came in round 2.


"I was sitting in second place without a solid score. On the south side of the contest zone I found a left wedge, took off on the backside and went vertical on the first turn then came down off the bottom and hit the lip releasing my fins for a 7.50. On my way back out I found another wedge, took off on my backside behind the wedge getting 2 sick fin releases and got the winning 9.00 score."





Boys 14 & Under

Winner Tomasso Layson


Photo instagram.com/321spacecoastmedia

2nd Lucas Cassity, 3rd Tama Hannemann, 4th Shea Edwards




Tommaso Layson put up back-to-back scores of 6.33 and 8.17 for a 14.50 heat total, just better than Lucas Cassity to get the win. Cassity had a 6.50 and 6.03 in 5 scored waves.







Boys 12 & Under

Winner Luke Lopez


Photo instagram.com/321spacecoastmedia

2nd Sebastian Peters, 3rd Wyatt Yount, 4th Tanner Brasol




Luke Lopez easily won the final with a 14.00 heat total on wave scores of 5.33 and a huge 8.67. Sebastian Peters had a high of 5.60 in his runner up performance and Wyatt Yount, visiting from Huntington Beach nailed down third place.








Girls 16 & Under

Winner Vela Mattive

2nd Daya McCart, 3rd Alana Lopez, 4th Ava Lavender





Vela Mattive nailed down the win when she got her highest score of the final on her third ride and held on to beat a determined Daya McCart. McCart ended up with a final high eight waves ridden.




" I was really fired up for this event after not doing how I wanted in the California Grom Search. Before every heat, I got myself pumped up and I was excited to just go surf. I paddled out for every heat loose and determined. I was so happy to win this event and get to go to the wave pool, " Mattive said.


Thank you to @carolinesearsphotography, @coconutadventures and @321spoacecoastmedia and Rip Curl for their help with pictures. Visit them on instagram.




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