Port Alfred Pumps For Final Day

All the Rip Curl GromSearch Port Alfred winners © Louis Wulff

It was a day of perfect four to five-foot right-handers at East Beach and a mammoth final day for the Rip Curl GromSearch Port Alfred.

The surfing day started at sunrise in pumping waves during the morning low tide. As the day progressed, the waves continued to pulse, and the excellent conditions persisted all the way through to the final heat, as the sun started to set.

Throughout the day, surfers pushed themselves and bravely battled it out in the testing conditions. Some of the younger surfers, in particular, bravely paddled out, personal milestones were achieved, and there were several breakthrough performances. 

In The U12 Boys division, Marcello Zedde continued his unbeatable streak, taking his 4th win out of four Rip Curl GromSearch events. Luc Jackson boldly paddled to the backline to wrestle his way into second place.

Leah Lepront was the popular winner in the U14 Girls, with some excellent backhand surfing, taking the win from Camilla Heuer.

Nate Taylor had an absolutely blistering final in the U14 Boys division, banking a 9.24 score and the highest single ride of the event. He picked up a nugget that grew down the line, allowing him to perform several high-risk moves with power and flow, with the judges rewarding him accordingly. Local surfer Owen Heny was the runner-up.

All eyes were on the premier U16 Division, the age group on which the GromSearch series is focused. Louise Lepront was the star performer of the girls’ final and surfed with confidence and power on her backhand to take the victory over Remi Fourie, Anastasia Venter and Camilla Heuer.  

Cape St Francis surfer Rory Dace put on a powerful and polished performance in the Premier U16 Boys division to take the win from Kai Hall. “It was a bit bumpy out there, but there were some excellent waves in between. You just had to find the right ones,” said Dace. It was nerve-wracking for the young natural footer as he couldn’t get back to the lineup for the last few minutes of the heat as the waves poured through unabated. 

“I had about 3 minutes left after my last wave, and there wasn’t enough time to get back out as the sets were just non-stop,” said Dace. “I sat and watched from the inside as Kai (Hall) and Clayton (Turrel) both got waves, but luckily they didn’t get enough to go ahead of me. So stoked with the win!” As the final siren went, Dace emerged victorious ahead of Hall, Turrel and Kieran Murphy. It was his first win in the U16 division of the Rip Curl GromSearch series. 


Rory Dace © Louis Wulff


Anastasia Venter put on an inspired performance in the U18 Girls Division, narrowly defeating Louise Lepront in their final. At the same time, David Emslie triumphed in the Boys U18 final, with Kai Hall as the runner-up. 

The Rip Curl GromSearch Port Alfred will definitely go down as the most exciting GromSearch of the last few years. Thanks to Kowie Boardriders for all their help and hard work in pulling off this fantastic contest. 


U12 Boys 

1. Marcello Zedde, 2.Luc Jackson, 3. Zach Epenetos, 4. Slayde Shooter. 

U14 Girls 

1. Leah Lepront, 2.Camilla Heuer, 3. Emily Jenkinson, 

4. Taylor Emslie. 

U14 Boys 

1. Nathan Tayler, 2.Owen Heny, 3. Malachi Wolmarans, 4. Ben Esterhuyse. 

U16 Girls 

1. Louise Lepront, 2.Remi Fourie, 3. Anastasia Venter 4. Camilla Heuer.  

U16 Boys

1. Rory Dace, 2. Kai Hall, 3. Clayton Turrel, 4. Kieran Murphy.

U18 Girls

1. Anastasia Venter, 2. Louise Lepront, 3. Lily Heny, 4. Gemma Hanafey, 5. Zia Hendricks.

U18 Boys

1. David Emslie, 2. Kai Hall, 3. Simon Winter, 4. Surprise Maphumulo.