Rip Curl Gromsearch #4 held in the powerful beach break barrels of Bengkulu, South West of Sumatra!
Ketut Agus and Taina Izquierdo triumph with gutsy performances!
16MAY2016 – Continuing the Search for Indonesia’s best groms, Rip Curl kicked off Gromsearch #4 in the powerful beach break of Pantai Pajang in Bengkulu, SouthWest of Sumatra.
“It looked like Puerto Escondido in Mexico,” Said very surprised Dad Rizal Tanjung, “Gnarly grown-up, spitting barrels. But the boys handled it! A great day of surfing! We’ll be coming back”.
Finals day dawned with solid 6 foot peaky sets exploding on the sandbars of Pantai Pajang and with more than a few nervous young surfers on the beach, Contest Director Dylan Amar made the call. Under 16, under 14 boys and the Expression Session were going to be sent out into the big surf, and for safety reasons, the Girls and the under 12 divisions were to be moved to Tapak Paderi, a protected harbor break that offers mellow 300 meter rides when the surf is up.
“I was ok with the decision” Said Rip Curl’s gallant Taina Izquierdo, “But I would have taken a shot at the big stuff”.
photo by @gianggawphoto
With the key decision made, the Finals got underway and they did not disappoint. Because of the size and power of the surf, the finals were to be 40 minutes each. In the under 16’s, right off the bat, Ivan Prihandoyo gave everyone a taste of what was to come by charging into a bomb and tucking in. But the spit of the wave was so strong it blew him out of the barrel…without his board.
“We would have given that wave a ten if he had made it” Said Deputy contest director Dhanny (Last name Here), “it stunned most the kids on the beach. Us too”.
The wipeout that followed left Ivan rattled, but he still managed to place third. 20 minutes into the final, Raju Sena picked his first wave. It was the biggest wave surfed of the day and Raju dropped in, bottom turned and arched into a gaping barrel that just blew him to bits. “Raju made that wave look like Hawaii!” Said fellow finalist Ketut Agus, “You should have seen it from the water. Huge!”. This was to set Raju’s pace for rest of the heat. Time and again he threw himself into suicide barrels looking for the big scores, but they were not to be. Still, for his fearless performance he managed a 2nd place finish. “I wasn’t going to hold back for points” Said Raju, “It was go big or go home for me. I like what I did out there”.
The smart money was on Rip Curl’s Ketut Agus. Maturing as a competitor, he chose his waves like a professional. Big walls that afforded some turns and maneuvers with one speeding power drive that had the beach on their feet. He would take the championship. Meanwhile, a gutsy Varun Tanjung, looking lost at sea in the huge conditions, just couldn’t find a rhythm and took a disappointing fourth. “The results didn’t matter to me”, Said stoked Dad Rizal Tanjung, “Just the fact these kids paddled out there made them all winners”.
With conditions getting bigger and offshore winds holding, the under 14’s voted to paddle out. “Yeah, it was four times overhead for us” Said Rip Curl’s Tenshi Ishii, “But we had no choice. What were we supposed to do, go surf with the girls in the harbor?” With this spirit, the under 14 boys division turned out to be the highlight of the contest. Nicknamed the “Battle of the little warriors” the 40 minute heat was packed with action. “This is better than watching the WCT in Brazil,” Said Dylan Amar, “these are real waves”. Bengkulu local Asep Parit lead the charge, his every wave bringing the hosting Rafflesia Surfing Association to their feet, waving flags and hooting encouragement. Asep would return to the beach like a punch drunk boxer in a very proud fourth place. So heroic with the punishment he took, that winner Ketut Agus gave Asep his own brand new DHD surfboard on the winners podium. At 13, Varun Tanjung paddled out into his second final in the big conditions and found redemption with a good barrel and a clean long wave to finish a satisfying third. He was the only surfer to face the heavy conditions for over 80 minutes. Meanwhile Sumbawa’s Bronson Meidy and Tenshi Ishii traded blows like middleweights for the whole heat. Both surfers, with reputations as big wave chargers, pulled into barrel after barrel with absolute audacity. “We weren’t scared” Said a thoughtful Bronson Meidy, “it was the kind of heat we love to surf”. Bronson would eventually finish 2nd. But it was Tenshi Ishii’s daring approach, combined with one big impossible backside off-the-lip on a six footer, that would secure him the championship. After the awards ceremony, personifying what the Gromsearch is all about, a forward thinking Ishii said “I’m ready for what’s next…bring it on”.
photo by @gianggawphoto
Then came the contest re-location to Tapak Paderi, the groovy smaller harbor wave that peels like paradise for over 300 meters. It wasn’t uncommon during the under 12 boys and girls divisions to have four riders up at once.
In the Under 12 boys division Japan’s Raihia Ono was up against 2 Bengkulu locals and Lewis Demanik from Australia. With rides that allowed up to 14 maneuvers, especially with the Rafflesia Boys screaming and encouraging their team mates. In the end, Ono’s onslaught would take the win with a stylish display of backside surfing. While local Mexsy came in 2nd position, and Demanik just behind coming in 3rd position. Not to forget, Fatan, local boy coming in 4th, was carrying the stoke through out the event.
The girls division was the second highlight of the day. Rip Curl’s Taina Izquierdo surfed as if it was a 30 minute free surf, cruising to first place easily. But the real excitement for the crowd was in watching their three local girls give it all they got. 15 year old Angel got the longest wave of the day, an impossible 350 meter beauty, 13 year old Alditya was able to make her family proud with a 3rd place finish and little 9 year old Rapunzel, who had only been surfing for 3 months, was a delight. With Taina guiding her into one waves that had her and the Rafflesia Boardriders crying with pride by the end of them.
It seems surfing is taken very passionately in these waters.
The great day was finished off with a hefty 1 kilometer beach clean-up in association with the surfing student Biology club of Bengkulu Middle school. And then came the final announcement that the Rafflesia Surfing Association and the Bengkulu Middle School Biology club were going to pledge a weekly clean-up until the Gromsearch returned next year.
A cheerful end to a magnificent day of surfing and eco awareness for the kids.
The Rip Curl Gromsearch is still the greatest opportunity in Indonesia for any young surfer, boy or girl, to make their surfing dreams come true. With real surf, real contests, real winners and a fantastic grand prize that could lead to international recognition and help launch an international professional surfing career.
Here’s how it works: The winners of each regional competition are invited to the Indonesian
National Final. The winners of the Indonesian National Final are then flown to the international Grand finals in Hawaii where they will face the hottest under 16 surfers from around the globe. Win the International Grand Finals and you are well on your way to sponsorship and a pro career.
Past locations for the International Grand finals include the USA, Australia, Brazil, Europe,
South America and New Zealand.
And inspiring to all new contestants, past winners are among some of the World’s best, including - Owen Wright, Matt Wilkinson, Jordy Smith and six time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore.
The stuff that young dreams are made of, offered in a professional arena, the GromSearch brings the most talented young surfers in Indonesia together in an exciting, safe and friendly
environment that promotes sportsmanship, environmental awareness, cultural exchange and high voltage competition.
The Rip Curl GromSearch remains a worldwide series of events designed especially for young surfers or, to use the Australian term, Groms. Since its inception, The Gromsearch has always been the premiere series of global events that gives young surfers the center stage and a chance to show the world what they’ve got. And with three divisions, under 16yrs, under 14yrs and under 12yrs for both boys and girls, there are plenty of chances to do just that.
Remember, to be competition eligible you must be the specified age as of the 31st December 2016. All divisions are limited, with entry allocated on a first in, first served basis. Participants may also enter all 5 qualifying events, giving young surfers the maximum opportunity for competitive success.
So wax up, and get to Lakey Peak in Sumbawa for Gromsearch #5
1st Taina Izquierdo (15.70)
2nd Angel (7.70)
3rd Alditya (6.90)
4th Rapunzel ( 2,37)
Under 12 Boys
1st Raiha Ono (15.70)
2nd Mexsy (10.23)
3rd Lewis Demanik (9.67)
4th Fatan (4.20)
Under 14 Boys
1st Tenshi Ishii (12,47)
2nd Bronson Meidy (7.47)
3rd Varun Tanjung (5.87)
4th Asep (5.20)
Under 16 Boys
1st Ketut Agus (14,17)
2nd Raju Sena (11,40)
3rd Ivan Prihandoyo (9,87)
4th Varun Tanjung (3,27)
Best Wave: Sandi
Best Wipe out: Robin
and look to the following locations for all the action later in the year:
Rip Curl GromSearch 2016 Locations:
EVENT 5 - Lakey Peak, Sumbawa, October 21st
RCGS - National Final - Somewhere October 22nd & 23 rd
Rip Curl GromSearch 2016 series #4 is sanctioned by: Asian Surfing Championship
Rip Curl GromSearch 2016 sponsored by: Agility, XPS Link and Zombie Wax
Supported by: GUS and Bengkulu Rafflesia Surfing Association,
with media partners: Surf Time, BaliBelly and Indosurflife.com