McLaren and Ryan Take Out 2018 Rip Curl GromSearch

17 December, 2018
Author: Charles Hodgson

Champions have been crowned across six divisions today at the 2018 Rip Curl GromSearch presented by Flight Centre on the Sunshine Coast. Competitors faced windy and tricky conditions and 3-4ft waves (1.5m) as competition got underway at 7:30 am. Coolum Beach was once again the location of choice, which held the best waves on the Sunshine Coast today.   

Fin McLaren (Austinmer, NSW) has taken out the blue ribbon 16 and under boys division, ahead of Jed Ashton (Bulli, NSW), Zane Assink (Yaroomba, QLD) and Cameron McDougall (Little Mountain, NSW) respectively. A bluebottle stung McLaren during his heat, but through strength and confidence managed to brush it off and surf his way to first place. McLaren scored a 7.17 (out of a possible 10.00) and backed it up with a 6.17 for a heat total of 13.34 (out of a possible 20.00) – taking charge in the big, messy conditions ahead of his competitors. 

“It feels great to win the Rip Curl GromSearch for the first time,” said McLaren. “I copped a stinger as I was paddling out, but I was so focussed I didn’t really notice it until after I’d won. It must’ve been the adrenaline.”   

Nyxie Ryan (Lennox head, NSW) has gone one-up on last year, taking out the 16 and under girls division after recently recovering from a broken elbow. Ryan managed the washy conditions to push through and take first place ahead of Ellia Smith (Coolum Beach, NSW), Shaye Leeuwendal (Currumbin, QLD) and Angela Ball (Torquay, VIC) respectively. Ryan was the 14 and under girls champion at the 2017 event, and was clearly ecstatic upon her win.  

“It feels good, I only just bounced back from a broken elbow a couple of days ago,” said Ryan. “I won the 14s twice in a row, so I feel great after going up a division and winning the 16s.” 

Marlon Harrison (Coolangatta, QLD) has won the 14 and under boys division, defeating Touma Cameron (Suffolk Park, NSW), Winter Vincent (Manly, NSW) and Jahli Brooks (Currumbin, QLD) respectively. Harrison managed a heat total of 14.34, tearing apart the lefts and rights on offer in the messy conditions. 

“The conditions were tough today for sure, from the morning all the way through to the finals,” said Harrison. “I’ve had a great year, from trying out some Pro Juniors to getting some wins at the usual junior comps, it’s definitely been fun.”

Lilliana Bowery (Tewantin, QLD) has taken out the 14 and under girls division in first place, defeating Lucy Tandler (Coolangatta, QLD) and Jazz Wylie (Jan Juc, VIC) respectively in the final. Bowery scored an 8.33, combined with a 7.0 for a heat total of 15.33 to claim victory. Bowery was unfortunately stung by a bluebottle during the heat, but managed to power through and come out of the heat on top.  

“It feels great to get the win today,” said Bowery. “It’s been a good year. I didn’t have too many wins, but it was great to get win the state title and then top off the year with a win at the GromSearch.”  

Japanese surfer Yuma Nagasawa (JAPAN) has won the 12 and under boys division, defeating Dane Henry (Fingal Head, NSW), Chez Bos (Burleigh Heads, QLD) and Jack Macdonald (Freshwater, NSW) respectively. Nagasawa dropped a huge 9.0, backed up with a 6.83 for a heat total of 15.83.  

Jahly Stokes (Buddina, QLD) won the 12 and under girls division, tearing apart the rough waves. Stokes defeated Stella Green (Buddina, QLD), Jordy Halford (Currumbin, QLD) and Ruby Rockstar Trew (Manly, NSW) respectively. 

With parallel Rip Curl GromSearch Series in over 10 countries, the series has become a crucial stepping-stone in the development of junior surfers right across the globe. The list of previous GromSearch winners illustrates the prestigious history of the series, with World Surf League (WSL) competitors Gabriel Medina (Brazil), Tyler Wright (Australia), Owen Wright (Australia), Matt Wilkinson (Australia), Jordy Smith (South Africa), Kolohe Andino (USA) and Sally Fitz gibbons (Australia) among the list of former competitors and Grom Search International Final Champions. 

The Australian series is made up of five events as well as a National final. Participants for the National final are determined from the GromSearch ratings, counting a surfers best 2 results across the series. In 2018 the winner of each division in each respective event of the series will be guaranteed entry into the National final, their seed in the National final will be determined by their best 2 results total on the 2018 Rip Curl GromSearch Rankings.

The 2018 Rip Curl Gromsearch is presented by Flight Centre, with managing partner Surfing Australia. 


16 & Under Boys

1st: Fin McLaren 

2nd: Jed Ashton

3rd: Zane Assink

4th: Cameron Macdougall

16 & Under Girls

1st: Nyxie Ryan

2nd: Ellia Smith

3rd: Shaye Leeuwendal 

4th: Angela Ball

14 & Under Boys

1st: Marlon Harrison

2nd: Touma Cameron

3rd: Winter Vincent 

4th: Jahli Brooks

14 & Under Girls

1st: Lilliana Bowery 

2nd: Lucy Tandler 

3rd: Jazz Wylie 

4th: Cedar Lee-Jones

12 & Under Boys

1st: Yuma Nagasawa 

2nd: Dane Henry

3rd: Chez Bos

4th: Jack Macdonald

12 & Under Girls

1st: Jahly Stokes

2nd: Stella Green

3rd: Jordy Halford

4th: Ruby Rockstar Trew

Flight Centre Rising Star Awards: 

Female: Jahly Stokes

Male: Cameron McDougall

Rip Curl Coolum Outstanding Performance Awards:

Female: Lucy Tandler

Male: Fin McLaren