Grommets ruled once again last weekend as the 11th annual Rip Curl GromSearch National final came down in the crystal clear reefs of Lembongan Island with Indonesia’s best young Grommets battling it out in 4-6 foot dream waves. The famous break of Shipwrecks turned on for the finals throwing plenty of offshore glassy barrels over the shallow reef for the groms to secure big scores.
With a total of 16 boys and 6 girls making it to the National Finals through the qualifying events in their respective regions – Senggigi, Lombok, Lakey Peak in Sumbawa, Cimaja in West java and Kuta in Bali, all the kids were amping to get amongst the perfect conditions and a shot at winning one of two coveted spots in the International Finals to be held at an undisclosed location in 2015.
Day 1 :The competition started at Shipwrecks point, but a big high tide and a fresh new swell made conditions tricky and dangerous leaving contest organisers no choice but to go mobile with the event switching to the short intense barrelling right-hander – Lacerations on the other side of the bay. First up were the boys to test their skills in the notoriously shallow ledging right, know to take the skin off many surfers who fall – hence its name! All the boys who tackled the wave in round 1 came up good and stoked to surf one of the island best waves with only 4 out. Competition ran through round 1 of the Boys and Girls and squeezed in the repro charge round 2 of the boys, before the low tide stopped the event for the day.
Whilst the older Groms revelled in the perfect ledgy barrels, the younger kids like Ketut Agus from Denpasar faced a big challenge surfing some of the most challenging waves in his career to date, yet still making it till the quarter finals. Meanwhile, Padma boy Raju Sena scored first place in every heat on his way to taking his place in Round 3.
In the Girls division: the first round, consisting of only 2 heats In round 1, Cinta Hansel, Kailani Johnson and Taina Izquierdo gave it their best shot in the first heat collecting great scores from the judges with gutsy performances, ending the heat with only small differences between 1st and 3rd place, but it was Cinta Hansel that progressed to round 3 setting her eyes on the winners podium from the get-go. Meanwhile, in heat 2, Pua Johnson showed her power over Dea Natasha and Salini Renganis making her way trough to round 3 also.
Day 2: As the morning broke, everything looked very quite with small waves on the low tide, this gave the perfect opportunity for competitors to have a lazy start, get a good breakfast before the tide started to fill-in and the waves starting to wake up. By 10am it was all systems GO! with perfect conditions to start the finals day action back at the event primary location of Shipwrecks point.
The Boys division kicked off the day with round 3 in the water running right through until the Finals, again heavy swell pounding the reef made for challenging conditions for the youngest kids to compete in the 3 man format. As the day progressed the competition got very heated seeing only the hardest pushing grommets getting awarded the scores needed to make it to the finals, among the Stand-out groms, Lakey Peak’s Andre Anwar shone bright but was eventually toppled in the semi finals by Raju Sena (Padma) who took his rightful place in the finals. Next up it was Rio Waida (Padma) who surfed with precision and flare ousting Cimaja Local Eric Damian to take his position against his Padma arch rival – Raju in the finals.
Both surfers started the final heat blasting huge turns and going for the air but eventually it was Raju who saved his best for last coming down to a nail biting finish winning by a fraction of a point ahead of Rio in a proper man on man battle in near perfect conditions. “I’ve been surfing in GromSearch contests for a while now and made the international Finals by winning last year,” Raju said. “I can’t wait to get another chance to surf in the Finals at the International GromSearch next Year!
Meanwhile, in the girls division, the Johnson Sisters Kailani and Pua looked very strong, for a minute having the judges thinking it might be an all-Sister family final. However, it was eventual winner Cinta Hansel who stopped a dynamic performance by Kailani and stepped into the finals, Semi final number 2 was another hard-fought battle with Pua Johnson taking on East Java local – Salini Reganis. Finally the strength of Pua overpowered the Pacitan girl seeing her advance into the finals with a 12.13 score over Salini’s respectable 9.37.
Cinta Hansel (Uluwatu) was clearly the most on form surfer of the girls’ event, throwing down big powerful hacks all the way to the finals on the Glassy barrels of Shipwrecks, executing technical manoeuvres one after another in the pocket. Pua Johnson, who has been going from strength to strength all year put up a strong battle not making it easy for the micro grommet to take the win, but eventually it was Cinta’s consistency and hours of training that paid off seeing her take the eventual Girls title.
These two days comp, the best Grommets from all over Indonesia found themselves ripping the famed surf spots of Shipwrecks and Lacerations, notoriously shallow right-hander’s that can intimidate even the seasoned pro’s. With support of the Local Surf Community Lembongan Board Riders, these Grommets was spoiled with not just a good wave but also a boat in the channel to support their needs and provide a perfect viewing platform for their fans and parents alike. Huge thanks goes out to by Ware Ware Sunset Boat to be the best judging platform, meeting point and a place to hang out!
Among the highlights on the beach was a POSCA pen drawing surfboard competition. While the other grommets surfed, the rest that were left watching from the beach had the opportunity to join the fun and games on the land rounding off a full on weekend for these full on young surfers on the enchanting Island of Nusa Lembongan.
Thanks for All the support from Lembongan people, Lembongan Surf Team, The Linda Bungalow, Lembongan Sugriwa Express and Ware Ware Sunset Boat.
Once again Congratulation to Raju and Cinta!
Let Grommets rule…….! See you all next year!
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