Weston-Webb claims Rip Curl International GromSearch

AUSTRALIA — After an epic day of big storm surf waves at Bells Beach and progressive surfing performances by a crop of the world’s best young surfers, Dylan Lightfoot (17, South Africa) and Kaua‘i’s Tatiana Weston-Webb (15) emerged victorious at the Rip Curl International GromSearch.

In the Girls Final, Weston-Webb sealed a victory on her final wave of the heat, scoring an 8.33 for a series of powerful turns on a ride all the way through the Bowl and to the beach. Weston-Webb finished with 14.00, followed by Ella Williams (New Zealand) in second with 12.23, Stephania Single (AUS) in third place with 11.33, and Leticia Canales (Spain) in fourth place with 7.00.

“Bells is definitely a wave you have to adjust your surfing to, but it’s really fun when you get the right one,” said Weston-Webb, who was surfing at Victoria’s famous point break for the first time. “I was a little nervous before the Final, but I talked to Steph (Gilmore) and Sally Fitzgibbons before the Final and they just told me that if I kept surfing like I had all week that I would be fine.”

In the Boys Final, Lightfoot scored an 8.5 and an 8.43 on two impressive rides which saw him tear apart the burly Bells waves on offer. Brazil’s Filipe Toledo was nipping at his heels the entire Final. After demolishing his third wave for a 9.33, Toledo nearly caught a potentially heat-winning wave in the dying seconds, but came up less than a point short with a 6.73 score. Cameron Richards (USA) finished third, with a total heat score of 13.00, and Tommy Boucaut (AUS) took fourth with 8.93.

“This is definitely one of the biggest victories of my life,” Lightfoot said after being sprayed down with Red Bull by his fellow competitors on the winner’s podium. “It was very tough out there today. The waves were very powerful and looked a lot better from the beach.”

With his victory, Lightfoot earned a wildcard into the 2012 Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang Invitational, one of the surfing world’s most prestigious invitational events. He will face a field of the world’s best tube riders when the event takes place at Bali’s iconic left barrel later this year (July 15-Aug 26).

“I still can’t believe I’m going to surf in the Padang Cup,” said Lightfoot, who was competing in his first-ever International GromSearch event. “I’m really excited for that. It still doesn’t seem real.”

The boys and girls Finals of the 2012 Rip Curl International GromSearch were held following the Final of the Rip Curl Women’s Pro presented by Ford Fiesta, won by Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons.

Current ASP World Tour surfer and former Rip Curl International GromSearch Champion Gabriel Medina was on hand to present this year’s finalists with their trophies.

The Rip Curl GromSearch series is an International Series for male and female surfers age 16 years and under. Over 2,000 groms compete in the series worldwide, and it all comes down to the final eight competitors representing their country at the International final.

Rip Curl International GromSearch Boys Final

1. Dylan Lightfoot (ZAF) 16.93

2.  Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.06

3. Cameron Richards (USA) 13.00

4. Tommy Boucaut (AUS) 8.93

Rip Curl International GromSearch Girls Final

1. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 14.00

2. Ella Williams (NZ) 12.23

3. Stephania Single (AUS) 11.33

4. Leticia Canales (EUK) 7.00


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