Top Seeds Take The Reins On Day 1 Of The Rip Curl GromSearch

Published on 12/12/2022

SUNSHINE COAST, QUEENSLAND (12 December 2022) – The third event of the 2022 Rip Curl GromSearch National Series kicked off with a bang today at Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast. The next generation of surfing superstars put on epic performances in fun, 2 – 3ft shore breaks. 

It was a massive first day of action with 24 heats surfed and the opening rounds of boys and girls Under 14 Divisions hitting the water. It was the top seeds who took the reins today, putting on solid performances and posting excellent scores to progress through to the next round. 

Queensland’s very own, Caden Francis (Palm Beach) put on a spectacular performance in his first appearance at the Rip Curl GromSearch, finding incredible rhythm to win his heat with a two-wave combination of 14.34 (out of a possible 20). 

Fresh off a win at the Woolworths Surfer Groms Comp held yesterday at Coolum, Jesse Fergusson (Sunshine Beach), looked comfortable in the rash vest, finding multiple sections and storming his way through to Round 2. 

Ben Zanata (Dee Why), put on the performance of the event so far, posting an excellent 9.67 point ride (out of a possible 10) for a combination of critical manoeuvres. Zanata also scored the highest heat total and highest single wave score of the event so far. 

Local Sunshine Coast competitor, Pipi Taylor (Peregian Beach), looked solid in Round 1 of the Under 14 Girls division, taking a heat win to progress through to the next round. 

World Surf League Championship Tour Surfer, Former Rip Curl GromSearch winner and Coolum Beach local, Isabella Nichols, showed her support for the up-and-coming local surfers. 

Nichols attributes the Rip Curl GromSearch series as a major stepping stone in her career, providing an incredible pathway, which led her to compete at the International Final held in Indonesia. 

“The GromSearch is an important competition to be involved with for groms as they work their way through the ranks,” said Nichols. “When I was a grom, winning the National Final at Bells Beach and then being invited to surf at the International Final at Lakey Peak in Sumbawa was an incredible pathway and is still probably the best contest experience I’ve ever had.” 

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.

Stay tuned for day two of the Rip Curl GromSearch and make sure to follow @surfingqueensland on Instagram for updates. 

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).

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 support. 


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