COSTA MESA, Calif. — Just one week after claiming a 4-star WQS victory in his hometown of Santa Cruz, Nat Young kept the momentum rolling at the 2008 Rip Curl GromSearch National Final presented by Boost Mobile, held in pumping conditions at Salt Creek, Calif., November 2.
In one of the most high-performance Boys 16/Under finals in GromSearch history, Young traded blows with Boost Mobile wildcard Kolohe Andino, Fisher Heverly, and Conrad Carr until the final horn blew. Momentarily relinquishing his early lead to North Carolina rising star Fisher Heverly, Young responded by doing what any champion would do: throwing down a 9.33 followed by a 9.0.
With the win, Young pocketed a cool $1,000, and the coveted all-expenses-paid trip to Bells Beach, Australia to compete in the International Rip Curl GromSearch Final to run in conjunction with the Rip Curl Pro WCT during Easter of 2009.
“I’ve always seen the other kids win the trip every year,” explained a still-dripping Nat Young on the awards stage, “and I’ve always wanted it to be my turn. I’m so stoked… It should be an awesome experience.”
Young wasn’t the only one to win a trip to Bells this past weekend. Chandler Parr flew under the radar the entire event at the National Final, quietly doing work, making heats, and inching closer to the National Title.
In the final, she stunned an on-fire Nage Melamed to claim the Girls 16/Under National Final title.
“There aren’t words to explain what I am feeling right now,” said an astonished Parr. “This is so amazing.”
In the Boys 14/Under division, San Clemente phenom, Ian Crane absolutely lit up the lined-up lefts of Salt Creek. With an array of blitzing frontside speed carves, fin throws, and tail wafts to edge out the ever-stylish Luke Davis. One wave in particular left two of the 4 judges with no other response than a perfect 10.
Finally, in the Boys 12/under, Koa Smith padded his GromSearch legacy. Looking like a mini-man possessed, Smith was on the offensive from the start. Dismantling a succession of lefts with speed, power, and precision. Within the first three minutes, Smith “Balboa” already notched two mid-7’s, putting the heat in a chokehold.
“I lost in my first heat in the 16/Under,” Koa stated during the awards ceremony. “I was all about redemption after that.”
Aside from the live action, there were other key stories of notoriety. With the help of Sequoia Solar, despite the rainy conditions in the morning, the budding solar company assisted the powering of the event.
“Although we had some technical difficulties due to the weather conditions today and we had to rely on the generators, we were still able to host a solar-power assisted event,” said Rip Curl Marketing Director Dylan Slater. “Hopefully this will be the start of introducing renewable energies into all of our events.”
This was the conclusion of a historic tenth year of the Rip Curl GromSearch presented by Boost Mobile. From all corners of the country, the nation’s hottest talent came out in full effect. Rip Curl would like to thank all GromSearch series sponsors for their support: Boost Mobile (presenting sponsor), Smith Optics, Surfing Magazine, Surfline, Wahoos, and Surf One skateboards.
Rip Curl GromSearch National Final Presented by Boost Mobile
Nat Young ($1,000)
Chandler Parr ($500)
Ian Crane ($500)
Koa Smith ($500)