Jack Erlank, Victoria Bay © Louis Wulff

Surfing season is upon us in South Africa, and the best junior surfers in the country will be heading down to Port Alfred towards the end of July. Here are the quick facts about the Rip Curl GromSearch Port Alfred presented by The Royal St Andrews Hotel.

What’s Happening?

The Rip Curl GromSearch is rolling into Port Alfred on the 28th of July for a weekend of the best junior surfing in the country. The contest, presented by the Royal St Andrews Hotel, is the fourth in a five-event series that has proven to be the most popular surfing series in the country this year.  

Rip Curl Surfer Joel Fowles from East London © Louis Wulff


Where Is It Happening? 

East Beach, Port Alfred, Eastern Cape – In the words of surf journalist Jazz Kuschke…

“When the swell is just right (it likes long-range south to southwest swell), East Beach, off the Kowie River Mouth in Port Alfred, is a long, fast hollow right-hander breaking over a sand bottom. As with most breaks, that’s not every day, though and more often, you’ll find a sedate, short left-hander bowling up in the rip toward the rocks with easy, peaky rights further down the beach. Experienced surfers jump from the rocks into the mouth at the head of the wall instead of paddling out, but this can be somewhat hairy, so don’t attempt it until your confidence and ocean knowledge are on a level. 

When it’s on, it can provide a fast hollow top section with the potential of some solid tubes. Toward the inside, the face opens up, allowing for some rail and lip work, with the ride often punctuated by a left-breaking peak to make up some good close-out aerial stuff.” 

The tournament is presented by The Royal St. Andrews Hotel, which will be offering special accommodation rates for officials, athletes and their families. 

The Royal St Andrews Hotel Event Rates

R1150.00 per room per night, single accommodation and inclusive of breakfast. R675.00 per person sharing per night, double accommodation and inclusive of breakfast. This translates to R1350.00 per room per night, B&B for two persons.

Participants must call/email the reservations office and quote “Rip Curl Gromsearch”.


The Royal St. Andrews Hotel

When Is It Taking Place?

What was provisionally booked as a two-day event quickly changed into three full days of surfing. The competition will take place from 28 – 30 July, historically a very good time to surf in Port Alfred. 


Why Is It Happening?

Junior surfing is the place to be in South Africa right now. With their well-run events spread over the calendar year, the future of our sport is in safe hands with Surfing South Africa.


The Rip Curl GromSearch series allows kids to compete against the best surfers in the same age bracket from their country. This format gives these groms insight into a life of competitive surfing. It gives them the invaluable experience of surfing and competing in different waves nationwide.

Who Is Competing?

The best junior surfers in the country will all be vying for their points and prizes. The Rip Curl GromSearch contests are all Premier SAST events, with 1,000 points going to the winners and prizemoney per all Premier events.

 Lily Heny From Port Alred will be representing her home town. © Louis Wulff

The U16 division is recognised as the premier division at the GromSearch contests. 

Live Heats will cover the contest, with live scores available throughout the event. The previous Rip Curl GromSearch event was held in Scottburgh on the South Coast. Those results can be found here Live Heats.