Light offshore winds with a clean 1 to 1.5 metre swell greeted grommets on the final day of the Ripcurl Gromsearch at Trigg Beach Western Australia. Competitors were more than eager to enter the water with waves, warm weather, blue skies and the chance to represent WA at the prestigious final at the infamous Bells Beach all beckoning.
In the 16 & under boys division Queenslander Chris Friend wasted no time in setting up his all too familiar form of racking up manouvre after manouvre and looked set to win the final, but the West Aussie contingent were not about to let him have it easily. Towards the later part of the final friend scored an interference call and lost half the total of his second highest scoring ride.
As the opportunity unfolded for the rest of the groms, what was about to follow had everyone biting nails and pulling their hair out. Mat Baldock (Margaret River), Tod Quartermaine (Mandurah) and Darcy Maynard went into a furious exchange of waves that had the judges and spectators alike in a head spin as the grommets matched each other wave for wave in a flurry of on the rail surfing action that was simply amazing.
After the spray and foam had settled Baldock had done enough on the final siren to clinch a berth in the National final at the Ripcurl Pro, Bells Beach, by just 0.75 of a point.
“I'm so stoked. I just can’t believe I’m going. It was a bit of a bummer that Chris had that interference scored against him, but when you got everyone wanting the same wave it usually happens. It was great to see him come over for the event and the rest of the East Coast crew. I just want to thank Ripcurl for bringing the Gromsearch to WA and I know everyone is just hanging for next year," said Baldock.
Felicity Palmateer, who last night was crowned overall Surfing WA state champion at the annual presentation awards, showed why she is regarded as the best in WA. The talented goofy footer got off to a slow start in the 16 & under girls final with Kalbarris Erica Trotter catching the better waves in the early stages to take the lead. Palmateer came into form midway during the final and never really looked back winning the girls blue ribbon division and a berth at the national finals to be staged at Bells Beach in conjunction with the Ripcurl Pro World Championship Tour event during Easter.
“I’m pretty happy with the win, it was hard picking the good ones out there, but a couple eventually came. I’m pretty much over the moon with the opportunity to compete at Bells Beach during the Ripcurl Pro and have been told by others who have been there, that it is an amazing experience. I’m so stoked," said Palmateer.
In the 14 & under boys division Margaret River Grom Creed Mc Taggart did not disappoint. The talented natural footer posted a 7 and 6.5 point ride to secure first place in the final from New South Welshman Jake Scollard. Scollard required an 8.00 point scoring ride to take the lead, but could not match McTaggarts smooth controlled manouvres.
“Winning is always great and the feeling it gives you is hard to explain. Everyone surfed their best in the final and wave selection definitely played an important part. It was a fun event and I was glad to be a part of it," said McTaggart.
A lull in the swell saw competitors in the 14 & under girls final scratching for quality scoring waves. Gracetowns Bronte Macaulay caught anything that remotely resembled a wave and her tactics paid off. Macaulay snuck in front of Palmateer by just 0.5 of a point to claim victory.
“I can’t believe I won. I really thought Felicity had beaten me and to have the surprise of being told you have won is unreal. I would like to thank all the sponsors and people who put this event on and my Mum and Dad for their constant support," said Macaulay.
As expected, Jack Robinson dominated the 12 & under boys final. The nine year old grommet from Margaret River did not disappoint his supporters and was quick to assert his authority from the start of the final to the finish with his closest rival Rory Wood from Mandurah needing a 9.10 point ride to knock Robinson from his perch. Robinson remained victorious claiming his first Gromsearch title and first big event win.
The Carve Stix rising star of the event award, saw Jake Fawcett from Geraldton walking away with the latest in skateboard technology for his performance over the entire event. Jake Kearney (Kalbarri) and Mickaela Greene (Dunsborough) both scored a six months subscription to renowned surfing magazine “Waves" for their efforts during the event.
The Snickers Wave of the Day award was won by Shaun Green from Safety Bay.
16 & under boys final
- 1. Mat Baldock (Margaret River)
- 2. Chris Friend (Alexander Headland QLD)
- 3. Tod Quartermaine (Mandurah)
- 4. Darcy Maynard (Trigg)
16 & under girls final
- 1. Felicity Palmateer (Hillarys)
- 2. Erica Trotter (Kalbarri)
- 3. Laura Macaulay (Gracetown)
- 4. Bronte Macaulay (Gracetown)
14 & under Girls final
- 1. Bronte Macaulay (Gracetown)
- 2. Felicity Palmateer (Hillarys)
- 3. Mickaela Greene (Dunsborough)
- 4. Jessica Fletcher (Bunbury)
14 & under girls final
- 1. Creed McTaggart (Margaret River)
- 2. Jack Scollard (Newcastle NSW)
- 3. Jake Kearney (Kalbarri)
- 4. Damien Norman (Casurina Beach NSW)
12 & under boys final
- 1. Jack Robinson (Margaret River)
- 2. Rory Wood (Mandurah)
- 3. Shaun Greene (Dunsborough)
- 4. Tom Hyde (Trigg)