GROMS FLOCK OAHU’S SOUTH SHORE FOR SURF FEST

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 surfer.

For results: www.tcsurf.com/grom15