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  • subtitle: Micha Cantor, Luke Gordon, Caroline Marks, And Kei Kobayashi Come Away With Victories At Final Qualifying Event Of The Year

Written by  Nick McGregor
Thursday, 8/21/14

TURF: 2014 Rip Curl GromSearch presented by mophie Stop #4; Jennette's Pier, Nags Head, NC; August 15th, 2014.

ENERGY: The final stop of Rip Curl's GromSearch qualifying series found itself with a stacked field of 82 contestants, including a handful of California’s top juniors who made flights East for a last chance to qualify for a coveted spot at the RCGS National Final, set to be held at Upper Trestles on October 25th. Competitors duked it out on the north side of Jennette’s Pier as a fading 1- to 2-foot swell offered minimal but contestable waves. Beautiful sunny skies with calm offshore winds prevailed throughout the day, as a packed beach of groms, families, and spectators crowded the event site to get a piece of the action. 

SLIDE: The Boys 16 & Under division showcased sensational small-wave surfing, as two of California’s bes, battled against the highest seeded East Coaster and #1 Barbados competitor Josh Burke. The lightning quick surfing of Kei Kobayashi reined supreme, though, as he got extremely busy catching all allotted 12 waves. Kobayashi wowed the judges and finished with two excellent scores. Coming in 2nd-place and taking home the mophie Maneuver of the Event for landing the only aerial of the day was Central Florida’s Luke Marks. 3rd-place went to Josh Burke with California's Jake Marshall rounding out the final. 

Caroline Marks dominated the Girls 16 & Under final, using her vicious backhand snap to put the victory well out of reach from her competitors. Coming in 2nd was North Florida's Sophie Falzone, 3rd-place went to South Carolina native and past GromSearch winner Emory McClary, while local girl and former finalist Jessica Wallace finished 4th. GromSearch poster boy Luke Gordon was poised to defend his 2013 Outer Banks 14 & Under title and achieved his goal with a focused game plan. Gordon took the win over close South Carolina friend, Micha Cantor, who was the day’s only double finalist. Taking 3rd was Ché Allan of Barbados, while finishing 4th was last year’s 12 & Under champ, Bo Raynor. 

All four Boys 12 & Under finalists were goofyfoots, but in the end, Micha Cantor took the right-foot-forward battle, with 2nd-place going to Californian Sebastian "Bash" Mendes, 3rd-place going to Californian Nick Marshall, and North Florida super grom Kaleb Kirshenbaum finishing 4th. 

THE PAIN: Anyone who finished just outside the qualification for the 64 national invitations Rip Curl offers for the National GromSearch Final. With 20-minute four-man heats — and a live webcast to top it off — the National final will be reminiscent of an ASP WQS event. 

THE MAN: Caroline Marks, Luke Gordon, Micha Cantor, and Kei Kobayashi all deserve props for winning, as does Luke Marks for claiming mophie's $50 for Maneuver of the Event. But since the GromSearch qualifying series is over for the year, Rip Curl sent out big thanks to the Nags Head locals for offering up their beautiful venue for the event, as well as other sponsors like mophie, Smith Optics, Kicker Audio, Futures Fins, Surface Sun Systems, Hubert’s Lemonade, Banzai Bowls, Famous Surf, Flexfit, DHD Surfboards, Boardstix, and Wahoo’s Fish Tacos. 

YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT FIGHT CLUB: “It was a long way to travel, but it was well worth it. I was really tired, but I had such a fun time. I cannot wait to come back again next year. I’m really stoked to take my first GromSearch win. I love competing in these events because all the best kids enter and it gets big coverage!” –Kei Kobayashi on his maiden voyage to the East Coast

FINAL RESULTS FROM STOP #4 OF THE RIP CURL GROMSEARCH PRESENTED BY MOPHIE 

BOYS 16 & UNDER

1. Kei Kobayashi, $250 

2. Luke Marks 

3. Josh Burke 

4. Jake Marshall 

GIRLS 16 & UNDER

1. Caroline Marks, $250 

2. Sophie Falzone 

3. Emory McClary 

4. Jessica Wallace 

BOYS 14 & UNDER

1. Luke Gordon, $250 

2. Micha Cantor 

3. Ché Allan 

4. Bo Raynor 

BOYS 12 & UNDER

1 Micah Cantor, $250 

2. Sebastian Mendes 

3. Nick Marshall 

4. Kaleb Kirshenbaum 

MOPHIE MANEUVER OF THE EVENT

Luke Marks, $50

 
 
 
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