Blanchard rings the bell in Australia

The cold didn’t stop Hanalei’s Alana Blanchard from capturing the girls International Rip Curl GromSearch title at Bells Beach, Australia.

“It has been fun being here,” Blanchard said. “There were some fun waves to get and I am really happy with my result. I didn’t know it was going to be so cold, but we did get some good waves, so that was good.”

Although Australian surfers dominated the boy’s division, their female counterparts struggled against the international contingent in their division.

After the preliminary heats were held, the final draw listed no Australians. Blanchard, Alizee Arnaud of France, Paige Hareb of New Zealand, and 2005 International GromSearch champion Nikita Robb of South Africa were the four surfers through and ready to challenge for the title.

Blanchard surfed well all morning and managed to over-come an inform Arnaud to claim victory. Arnaud, who held the lead for most of the final, was pushed down to second after Blanchard exploded on one of the best-shaped waves of the final. Linking up smooth top-to-bottom combos, Blanchard crushed the unsuspecting Bells righthander to snag a near-perfect 9.95 wave score and the Rip Curl International GromSearch title.

“It’s great having the final here, because we get to watch the pros, see what they do and try it. I’ve had a good time,” Blanchard added.

A mixed bag of ‘grommets’ from all corners of the globe enjoyed Easter at Bells Beach this year, onsite at the Rip Curl Pro Surf and Music Festival to compete in the International Finals of the global Rip Curl GromSearch series.

After spending the first few days on the beach watching the world’s best male surfers compete the Rip Curl Pro World Tour event, the GromSearch boys and girls — all aged 16 years and under — finally got their chance to take center stage and impress the Easter crowds.

Held on Easter Sunday, the International GromSearch Final was the climax of several regional series’ held around the world. Each region’s champions were flown to Bells last week to represent their countries in efforts to capture International GromSearch glory.

Competitors heralded from Australia, Indonesia, Europe, New Zealand, Brazil and the USA. Both the boys and girls divisions held semi-final rounds before the four-surfer final.

Australia’s Owen Wright won the boys championship.

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