17 April, 2016 – In a nail-biting final in the pumping surf of Pererenan Rights at Canggu, a consistent Raju Sena successfully held off Rip Curl Rider Ketut Agus’s radical attack to hold on to his second Gromsearch Title at this break in as many years. For this under 16 year old division Final it was a cage fight between the upstart Ketut Agus and the experienced Raju Sena. But both surfed their own game. Ketut, straight out of the gate, had the highest score of the heat, surfing with total abandon, hungry for the win. But it was a very clever, and steady, Raju Sena who wore his opponent down with superior tactics, snagging two, long clean waves to outpoint his opponent by only 0.4 points, the closet final in Gromsearch’s grand history.
“I knew what I had to do to win” said an exhausted Ketut Agus after the final “And I wouldn’t do it any other way. It’s all out or nothing if you really want to win. Tactics bore me”. Raju Sena, on the other hand, a veteran of many Gromsearch campaigns had a different take. “I won here last year and I intended on winning again” said Sena, “I have been watching the WCT guys very close this year. I think the idea is to rip…but to rip smart. And it paid”. Kin Goldman, taller and stronger this year, was surfing like a true challenger in the final until disaster struck. A broken leash sent him to the beach during the best two sets of the heat. “It was pretty heartbreaking” Said Kin, “to be trying to tie a leash on the beach when everybody else was racking up points”. Kin charged back out into the surf but it was too late. Dreams dashed, Kin settled for third. Ivan Prihandoyo, looking like the WCT tour leader in a yellow jersey, was noodle armed and weary from his hard fought earlier heats and could only watch on as the drama unfolded. He took fourth graciously.
Sunday Finals of the under 14’s division dawned with bigger surf and this played right into Sumbawa’s Bronson Meidy’s bag of tricks. Bronson, already shouldering a big wave reputation, dominated the field with barrels and a big 360 airs to leave the other competitors in his dust by an almost four point lead. Kian Martin, despite scoring the best barrel of the contest, took a brave second to Bronson’s onslaught. While Dhanny Widianto and Varun Tanjung were forced to chase down 3rd and 4th as best they could in the near perfect conditions.
But it was a completely different scene for the Under 12 division. In a final with waves just above the comfort zone for these mighty mites, surfers from all over Indonesia turned it on to show the Bali surfers just what surfers are made of. For Pajar Ariana and Raina Ono it looked like more of an expression session. Controlling the line-up just this side of intimidation, Ariana and Ono traded the best waves as if it were a Sunday picnic. They would easily place first and second while starving fellow Bali boys Dera and Made Joy out of any chance for the win. “Even though their just little kids” said Rip Curl rider Taina Izquierdo, “that final was a tactical lesson for everyone.
And speaking of Taina, who was considered the best bet for the 2016 Gromsearch win, unexplainably fell off the train in her semi-final and was not able to make the finals. “The competition at these Gromsearches is getting harder every year” said a wounded, but determined Taina, “Back to drawing boards for me, look out Bengkulu!”
With the Taina threat gone, Giada Legati surfed beyond all expectations for a surprise first place. Clinching it with a clutch re-entry on a heavy closeout right on the sand. Hayana Iguchi was on top of her game, keeping Gaida honest throughout the final and placing second by only .06 points behind. Of note are Iguchi’s powerful bottom turns that could compete with the boys at this point. Keep an eye on this savvy competitor, she is getting ready for the world. Ellie Turner, Gromsearch Java Champion, was apparently still recovering from flu but put in a journeywoman’s performance for third. “I was only firing on three cylinders out there”, Ellie commented, “But to have waves like that with only three surfers out…dream time”. Following in fourth was Dhea Natasha who had ripped her way to the finals, but in the final heat had people wondering where she was. Not available for comment at press time, Dhea took a distant fourth.
After three thrilling competitions so far in Lombok, Java and Bali, the Gromsearch series juggernaut continues on to Bengkulu, West Sumatra, for its next stop. “We feel lucky to have nabbed the new Bengkulu Venue”, says Rip Curl Marketing Director James Hendy, “We want to the Gromsearch to live up to its name as we look for Indonesia’s best young surfers. We want the whole archipelago to be represented and Sumatra is essential to this philosophy” In cooperation with the Bengkulu Boardriders Club, this upcoming fourth competition in the Gromsearch series will be yet another ideal venue for both competitors and spectators to witness the hottest under 16 surfing in Indonesia.
So with two remaining locations already hand-picked in Sumatra and Sumbawa, this year’s Gromsearch series will once again give any under 16 surfer their shot at the big time. With the national finals Indonesian location yet to be announced and an international Grand Final to be held at a secret location somewhere internationally, the Gromsearch is the greatest opportunity in Indonesia for any young surfer, boy or girl, to make their surfing dreams come true. 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 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, Hawaii, South America and New Zealand.
Look for all the action at these locations later this year:
Rip Curl GromSearch 2016 Locations:
EVENT 4 – Bengkulu, Sumatra, May 14th & 15th
EVENT 5 – Lakey Peak, Sumbawa, October 21st
RCGS – National Final – Somewhere October 22nd & 23rd
1st Place Giada Legati (Yellow) – 6.20
2nd Place Hayana Iguchi (White) – 5.40
3rd Place Ellie Turner (Red) – 4.77
4th Place Dhea Natasha (Blue) – 2.50
1st Place Pajar Ariana (Yellow) – 8.83
2nd Place Raina Ono (Blue) – 6.50
3rd Place Dera (Red) – 4.93
4th Place Made Joy (White) – 4.60
1st Place Bronson Meidy (Red) – 13.00
2nd Place Kian Martin (White) – 9.17
3rd Place Dhanny Widianto (Blue) – 8.97
4th Place Varun Tanjung (Yellow) – 7.07
1st Place Raju Sena (Red) – 11.43
2nd Place Ketut Agus (White) – 11.03
3rd Place Kin Goldman (Blue) – 7.73
4th Place Ivan Prihandoyo (Yellow) – 6.20
Ticket National Final
– Raju Sena
– Ketut Agus
Photos by Ryan Williams