Isla Huppatz and Mitchell Peterson Crowned Champions Of The Rip Curl GromSearch

Published on 19/12/2022

SUNSHINE COAST, QUEENSLAND (15 December 2022) – The 2022 Rip Curl GromSearch wrapped up today at Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast as Australia’s best grommets got amongst the 2 – 3ft punchy conditions. After a solid four days of competition, six individual champions were crowned across the Under 12, 14 and 16 Boys and Girls divisions. 

It was the final showdown of the series with the top three finalists from each division selected to surf at the Rip Curl GromSearch National final to be held at URBNSURF in Melbourne, in early 2023. 

In the Under 16 girls blue-ribbon division, it was all about Isla Huppatz (Bilinga, QLD). Huppatz started the heat strongly with a 9.33 point ride (out of a possible 10) and never looked back, improving her situation with a 9.50 and posting several other excellent scores to put her competitors in a combination situation within the first five minutes of the final.  

Huppatz said she was fired up to win today and especially to surf in the wave pool at the National Final.  

“The waves were so fun which made it a really enjoyable final,” said Huppatz. “I’m so excited to have won today and I can’t wait to compete at the National Final next year.”

In a nail biting final for the Under 16 Boys which came right down to the wire, it was Mitchell Peterson (Noosaville) who ended up in the top spot. Peterson overcame, Sol Gruendling (Freshwater), Rico Haybittle (Palm Beach) and Landen Smales (Noosa Heads). 

“I’m so stoked, this is such a great end to my competitive year,” said Peterson. “It’s been such a fun event and I’m over the moon to take the win today, especially against such a tough field of surfers.”

In form surfers, Eliza Richardson (Sunshine Beach) and Jesse Fergusson (Sunshine Beach) took out the Under 14 Girls and Boys finals. Continuing her run of recent wins, Richardson didn’t lose a heat all week on her way to victory. Solid surfing from Fergusson, which sealed the deal and left him victorious.

In the Under 12’s super groms, it was Evie Wilson (Dicky Beach) and Locana Cullen (Avalon) who were surfing well beyond their years to be crowned champions in their respective divisions. 



Under 12 Girls
1st Evie Wilson
2nd MillerMay Berg
3rd Charlotte Rielly
4th Navah Holmes

Under 12 Boys
1st Locana Cullen
2nd Lucas Deffenti
3rd Jay Whitfield
4th Magnus Howell

Under 14 Girls
1st Eliza Richardson
2nd Meika Locke
3rd Laney Stokes
4th Rosie Richardson

Under 14 Boys
1st Jesse Fergusson
2nd Lachlan Arghyros
3rd Jai Nield
4th Caden Francis

Under 16 Girls
1st Isla Huppatz 
2nd Olive Hardy
3rd Jordy Halford
4th Milla Brown

Under 16 Boys
1st Mitchell Peterson
2nd Sol Gruendling
3rd Rico Haybittle
4th Landen Smales

The GromSearch Series runs in more than 10 countries, with over 3,000 competitors worldwide.

The worldwide series of events is designed for grommets and features Under 12 Boys, Under 12 Girls, Under 14 Boys, Under 14 Girls, Under 16 Boys and Under 16 Girls divisions.

Surfing Queensland would also like to thank the Sunshine Coast Council, The Point Coolum, QMS Media, We Are Feel Good Inc and Queensland Government for their ongoing support. 


EVENT 1 – Jan Juc, Vic – Sept 17-19, 2022

EVENT 2 – Newcastle, NSW – Sept 29- Oct 2, 2022

EVENT 3 – Coolum, Qld – Dec 12-15, 2022

National Final – URBNSURF Melbourne, March 2023  

(Note – all dates and locations are subject to the relevant local, state and federal Covid-19 restrictions and regulations).    

An inclusion for the 2022 season is the adoption of the National age division for the GromSearch series, with Rip Curl Event Manager, Mark Flanagan, adding “After consultation with surfers, parents, Surfing Australia and surfing state bodies we decided to align with the national age divisions for the benefit of all participants. It wasn’t an easy decision, but we thought we’d make the change to help unify development pathways for surfers in this region”.


The Rip Curl GromSearch series began as a single day event in 1999 and has developed into a world-wide series providing groms with the opportunity to surf with friends and test their skills against the best junior talent in their country. The impressive list of previous GromSearch competitors currently competing on the elite WSL world tour is testament to the quality of the series.

Former GromSearch finalists competing on the 2022 WSL World Tour include:
Tyler Wright*, Steph Gilmore*, Carissa Moore*, Molly Picklum, Sally Fitzgibbons, Malia Manuel, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Bronte McCaulay, Caroline Marks, Macy Callaghan, Brisa Hennessy & Isabella Nichols. (Note: GromSearch competitors have won the last 14 WSL women’s World Titles).

Former GromSearch finalists competing on the 2022 WSL World Tour include: Gabriel Medina*, Morgan Cibilic*, Filipe Toledo*, Italo Ferreira*, Jordy Smith, Kolohe Andino, Kanoa Igarashi, Ryan Callinan, Leonardo Fioravanti, Connor O’Leary, Seth Moniz, Griffin Colapinto, Owen Wright & Sammy pupo. (*Note: 4 of the 5 surfers in the 2021 WSL Finals series were former GromSearch finalists).


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