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Surf’s UP for Grom Fest 2014

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When contest officials pulled up to the town beach, the surf was looking weak. “The winds were expected to blow hard from the east, and we were counting on getting a solid wind swell off of it,” said ESA Competition Director Mario Frade. “And that is exactly what happened. By the end of the first heat, it was a ridable 2-3 feet.”

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Menehune Boys. Photo by Katy Giffault.

This is the third year that the contest has ran, thanks to the New England Institute of Science and Sailing, and Mistral Dodson, who came up with the idea. “Surfing is one of our more popular programs, along with sailing, wind surfing, and paddle boarding,” said Mistral. I thought a surfing contest would be a perfect venue for our students who attend our programs.”

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Photo by Katy Giffault.

This year’s event attracted more competitors than the previous two contests, and ESA groms made a strong showing in all the finals. The toughest and most competitive division was without a doubt, the Wahines. “The Wahine final was the best surfed heat of the day,” said ESA judge Kai Holtbakk. “There was some great surfing from all the finalists.”

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Leigh Giffault, Peter Pan, Kelly Giffault, Paige Giffault. Photo by Katy Giffault.

The contest was really a battle between veteran riders Lily Gartner and Charlotte Robbin. Both finished with 6 solid rides each, and Lily started out strong, picking off some nice right peaks to take the lead. As the heat was coming to a close, however, Charlotte grabbed a clean backside cover-up and followed up with a headstand off a left section, putting her on top at the buzzer. Sarah Billis pulled into the third spot on probably the most solid backside left at the event.

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Lily Gardner. Photo by Katy Giffault.

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Charlotte Robbin. Photo by Katy Giffault.

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Lily Gardner. Photo by Katy Giffault.

Noah Gartner only caught four waves in the Boys Final, but made them all count, as he edged out Jim Robbin for the title. It was actually Noah’s first ride that put him on top, a clean right that sectioned for one of the highest scores of the contest. Jim had two good lefts near the end of the heat, but could not quite overtake Gartner. It was a split decision win when the scoring sheets were tabulated, with Dylan Holtbakk closed behind in the third spot.

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Noah Gartner (Yellow). Photo by Katy Giffault.

In his own age group, Gartner easily dominated the right peak, cruising to an effortless win over Max Garber. The final wave of the session was a perfect right peak that allowed Noah to pull off several scoring moves, giving him a 9.0 and a 9.5 from two judges.

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Abby, Mike Smith, Kelly Giffault, Paige Giffault, Leigh Giffault. Photo by Katy Giffault.

Caitlyn Kuhn picked off two outstanding lefts and beat out the fast breaking sections, to top Cameron Gretches for the Girls Ankle Biter title.

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Kahuna Girls. Photo by Katy Giffault.

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Kahuna Girls. Photo by Katy Giffault.

The Kahuna Boys final was dominated by ESA veterans, as Joe Doherty topped Ryan Wilkinson for the title. Dylan Holtbakk finished 3rd. Kelly Giffault’s first wave put her in the top spot, and she stayed there to win the Kahuna Girls crown over Abby Melton.

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Kelly Giffault. Photo by Katy Giffault.

ESA competition continues this Saturday at the Narragansett Town Beach, at the annual “Battle of the Beach.” This event will feature a retro shortboard open event, an open longboard division, and competition in all age groups. Sign-ups are from 11 AM to noon, with the competition starting up at 12:30 PM.

Final Results of the 3rd Annual Catch A Curl Grom Fest, held in 2-3 foot surf at the Westerly Town Beach, in Westerly, Rhode Island, on September 13th, 2014.

Girl Ankle Biters- (girls under 10 years old)1.Caitlyn Kuhn 2.Cameron Gretches

Boy Ankle Biters-(boys under 10 years old)1.Noah Gartner 2.Max Garber 3.Baxter Menzies 4.Code Birrel 5.Jack Morrone

Wahines-(girls 11-14 years old) 1.Charlotte Robbin 2.Lily Gartner 3.Sarah Billis 4.Ellie Zrenda 5.Olivia Papanier 6.Gabby Heughins 7.Emily Mantatto 8.Lydia Tinnerello

Boys-(boys 11-14 years old) 1.Noah Gartner 2.Jim Robbin 3.Dylan Holtbakk 4.Zander Bass 6.Sam Meyer 7.Cody Lanphere 8.Jayden Parry 9.Brayden Birrel

Kahuna Girls-(girls 15-18 years old)1.Kelly Giffault 2.Abby Melton 3.Paige Giffault 4.Leigh Giffault

Kahuna Boys-(boys 15-18 years old)1.Joe Doherty 2.Ryan Wilkinson 3.Dylan Holtbakk 4.Doug Sockbeson

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Paige Giffault. Photo by Katy Giffault.

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Kelly Giffault, Leigh Giffault, Abby, Paige Giffault, Mistral Dobson. Photo by Katy Giffault.

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Beach Clean Up. Photo by Katy Giffault.

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Photo by Katy Giffault.


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