HONOLULU (May 20, 2015) -
Summer officially kicked off when over 300 kid-size scale
surfers took to the waves of Queen's surf break at the
T&C/Surfer Grom Contest this past weekend, giving local kids a
chance to not just show their amateur skills but make lasting
memories. Many families make their annual trek
to Waikiki and stake out their area in the sand with a
pop-up tent for the weekend. Tent to tent, towel to towel, the
shores are lined with moms, dads, aunties, uncles and tons of groms
sharing in the stoke for their first or umpteenth time as this
event is a family tradition for many.
The contest encompasses two days of surfing and
beach games at one of the South Shore's premier surf
spots, giving groms and mini groms a competitive experience without
the pressure of rated surf contests. Holding an event that's
specifically geared to groms who aren't competing in HASA or NSSA
is important to keeping the next generation of young surfers
grounded. It gives the beginner surfers who are just starting out a
chance to surf amongst their friends and not be intimidated by the
competitive surf warrior. Its all about having fun in the waves and
sharing in the stoke of surfing. "The Grom Contest is an annual
highlight for all of us at T&C. The opportunity to share
the stoke of surfing and the magic of the ocean with Hawaii's
keiki is truly a privilege," says T&C Surf president and
founder Craig Sugihara. "The smiles, the laughter, and the sense of
accomplishment for the kids is priceless."
T&C Surf joined forces with Surfer
Magazine, Chili's Grill & Bar, FreeSurf Magazine, Vans, Dakine,
Go Pro, Boardstories, Naked Juice and the Boys & Girls Club of
Hawaii to host the 18th annual competition of surf
unlike any other held in this legendary surf break under the iconic
Duke Kahanamoku statue.
Saturday saw the surfers paddling out to the
line up braving the gusty winds and frothy 1-3 foot waves rolling
in at Queen's. With dreams of moving up through the ranks,
competitors filled heats and warmed hearts with their nothing-less
than all-out effort. And just like their surfing heroes, these
little wave warriors grabbed rail, made the drop and put on a show
for the crowds on Waikiki Beach.
The Kokua Division (push-in) for surfers ages
3-6 took place inside of Baby Queen's with sweet little reforms
gently breaking. All 101 participants in the kokua division were
awarded a trophy and goodie bag. Little groms got to rub shoulders
with the Axel Irons, son of the former legendary 3-time world
champion Andy Irons. Axel was the star of the show on Saturday,
entering his first T&C Grom Contest in the Kokua division. "You
could really feel all the love and encouragement from all the
families to all the kids. Nothing better than seeing happy kids",
stated his mother Lyndie Irons.
The surf was smaller on Sunday with 1-2 foot
waves as the first heat of 9-10 year old boys paddled out at 7am
followed by the girls shortly after. In between heats, kids
participated in fun activities such as stack the wax, water balloon
toss, and a dance contest. Other groms made new found friends
on the shore lines and frolicked in the shore break. At lunch, all
competitors enjoyed hearty lunches from Chili's Grill & Bar and
cold Naked Juice coconut water thirst quenchers.
At Sunday's end in the 11-12 boys division, Joh
Michael Van Hohenstein impressed judges ripping in his heat,
confidently taking down his competition Wiech lading in a close
second, and Jardini Stella in third. Ka'euokulani Topping took
first in the 11-12 girls division beating out Yen, Paranhos Lopes,
Kauhane, Choi and Francisco who took 2nd through 6th place,
respectively. Marvin Fretias claimed the boys shortboard in the
9-10 age group and second year repeat Betty Sakura Johnson defended
her title and won the girls division once again. Taking home the
first place trophy in the boy's shortboard 6-8 was Tiger Abubo and
in the girls division it was Oaka Wong. Top six surfers in the boys
and girls longboard and coed bodyboard divisions in the 6-9 and
10-12 age groups all claimed trophies and awesome prize packs.
In the Girls longboard division some fantastic
performances showed by 10-12 Haley Otto taking first, followed by
Mahiana Akaka in second and Kylee North is third. Nailing the
final, winning first place honors in 6-9 was Luluhia Kane besting
her competition Sophia Culhane, and Journey Regelbrugge. In Boys
Longboard 10-12 division, Asher Sprecher glided across the waves to
claim first place followed by Benjamin Johansen as a second place
winner, both repeats from last year. Sam Geertman took 3rd place
honors. In the 6-9 division some fantastic performances showed once
again that there is some great up and coming longboarders. Kekoa
Lufurano was in electric form throughout the day's competition,
followed by Tevai Blomfield Foster, and taking third was Adam Dao
for boys division. Really though, everyone who competed came away
winning, with goodie bags for all, lots of waves, a few memorable
wipe-outs and new friendships for all.
The whole weekend was run in great spirits,
with two very lucky groms awarded a custom T&C shortboard.
Other groms clung to their tiny raffle tickets hoping for their
number to be called so they could score almost as big. Prizes
included Go Pro Hero 4+ plus cameras, Penny, Z Flex, Globe and
Sector 9 skateboards, D'Blanc sunglasses, Science bodyboards, Nixon
watches and more. All in all, the groms had an awesome weekend that
they will remember for days to come.
Thank you to all the sponsors that supported
and made this event possible: Surfer Magazine, The Boys & Girls
Club of Hawaii, Chili's Grill & Bar, Naked Juice, Go Pro,
Dakine, Vans, FreeSurf Magazine, and Boardstories.
ABOUT THAT CONTEST
"It was my son and daughters first contest and
they were super stoked. My son did not want to let go of his trophy
for the rest of the day. My daughter is already planning on what
games she wants to play next year. As a parent, I see how important
this contest is being that I entered my kids for the first time.
When I was growing up there were no surf contest like this. It's
certainly a great day with the family, " Ryan Suighara, son of
T&C founder Craig Suighara.
This is our 5th year putting our keiki in the
T&C grom contest....every year we all look forward to heading
to town and being with all the families on the beach and watching
the keiki getting stoked and feeling so proud of the waves they are
catching! Mahalo T&C for putting on such a fun and ohana
focused event for our island youth!" Amy Asam, surf mom.
"Grom was awesome as always I can't wait to
enter Emma. She loves playing with the older girls... I'm so proud
to be apart of such a remarkable and fun filled family day." Rosie
Vierra Schoening, T&C Pearlridge store manager.
"T&C put on such an awesome comp this
weekend. So cool what they do for the kids! Proud to be a part of
such a rad company. The groms killed it today." Brisa Hennessy,
T&C team rider.
"My son Miles Sahetapy-Engel had such a fun
day, surfing some great heats, and he just barely missed the final
for the 9-10 year Shortboard! He was so stoked to make it
that far and had such a fun day playing in the ocean ALL DAY with
his friends!! We are looking forward to next year! " Heather
Jeppensen, grom mom.
"Huge thanks to T&C Surf for putting on
such an amazing event for the kids! These grms went ham today,
making uncle proud." Billy Kemper, T&C team rider and WSL pro
For results: www.tcsurf.com/grom15