Rip Curl’s Gromsearch lived up to its name by not only searching for the best young surfers in Indonesia but also searching for the best waves for them to surf in. After a last minute decision to move the contest from Senggigi Beach all the way across the island to Kuta Lombok’s famed Seger Beach, the Senggigi Boardriders jumped into action with transport and support and coordinated with the West side boys to make it all happen. Sure enough, the predicted swell moved in and gave the competitors a perfect field of 3-4 foot rights with light winds and yet another great, fair GromSearch was underway.
With the contest having to run in one day, organizers were forced to shorten the qualifying heats, adding pressure to already boiling point competitors. But, as usual, the cream rose to the top as all the young competitors met the challenge without complaint.
In the Under 16 boys, Padma’s Ketut Agus had the shine from the first moment he stepped into the water, marching his way into the final like a one man army. His performance was unquestioned all day and he easily took the top honors, his own St. Valentines Day massacre. This left a shocked Raju Sena and Rio Waida to battle it out for second. Both top contenders assumed the title was theirs until Agus pulled away with great wave selection and strong, clean lines. It looks like Agus’s daily training regimen and tough workouts had paid off. Meanwhile, playing catch up, only .04 points separated a dizzy Raju and Rio giving them 2nd and 3rd respectively. As for Java’s dark horse Ivan Prihondoyo, he could only watch on as the other three in the final choked him out for waves, leaving him high and dry in 4th. Pity, because Ivan’s surfing is as eye pleasing as it is effective, clearly one of the top five hottest surfers in the Islands. Expect Ivan to come back with a vengeance at the Gromsearch #2 coming up at his homeground of Batu Karas on March 20th, 2016. Bali surfers beware. Java is a whole different story.
At the U-14 category Bronson(Lakey Peak) seemed to be the most outstanding at the beginning of the event, because of his reckless attack at the waves. However, Bronson at the final came third and the winner turned out to be Kian Martin (Brazil) by showing consistent performance of airs and solid carves. At the second place came to be Ryuki Waida (Bali), with a very mature performance for his age group, being the brother of Rio Waida, a notorious surfer in the grom search Events. Lastly in the forth place, Danny Widianto from halfway board riders gave an excellent fight.
In the favorite division of the Gromsearch, the under 12 boys competition, the boys from Serangan, Bali emerged as a major force. With what looked like teamwork, controlling the line-up, Angga and Fajar, who both only use their one name, cruised into 1st and 2nd place convincingly. Both of them making it look like a freesurfing session back home. Louis Demanik got edged out to a distant 3rd while Rendy, the only Lombok finalist of the contest, got the biggest cheers of the day from the local crowd. And even though Rendy took 4th place with only 4.7 points on the board, he was still carried up the beach like a champion.
Pride runs deep in Lombok. Visitors, take note.
In the under 16 Girls division, Canggu’s Suma Longbottom dominated like a hungry lioness to take top honors with a courageous display of surfing and a board that looked great under her feet. The board, shaped by her Father, Dylan Longbottom, no doubt. It looks like Suma is already exhibiting the courage and flair that has earned her Father a place in history as one of the bravest Psycho wave surfers in the world. Surprising everyone with the most slick heat tactics in the whole contest, Italy’s Gaida Legati played her own game for 2nd place when she fell behind her best friend Suma. Gaida hunted down second place like a cheetah, fast and deadly. Gaida’s mature tactics left favorite Taina Izquierdo stunned. Taina, a fierce competitor herself, was emotional after a disappointing 3rd place finish. A lot of passion in the young Lady from Padang Padang. With all this courage and passion going on, Dhea Natasha looked lost at sea, losing her earlier form and falling to a disappointing 4th yet a well earned place in the final.
The Rip Curl Gromsearch contests always have a deep respect for the local environments and the local surfers of their contest sites. Beach clean-ups and education are mandatory for all competitiors and this year, two tickets to the National finals were awarded to the two top Lombok under 16 boys competitors, Amir Hamzah and Obos.
The spirit of the Rip Curl Gromsearch series 2016 continues, alive and well, as the next stop looms on the horizon of all young surfer’s dreams. Java’s magic point surf of Batu Karas is next on the competition schedule. Make sure to stay tuned as Indonesia’s greatest young surfers vie for the top spots in the national finals and a dream shot at going to the international finals to compete against the best young surfers in the world.