Rip Curl GromSearch Seal Point A Great Success

Connor Slijpen © Louis Wulff

Seal Point, Cape St Francis, 24 July 2022 – Aimee du Preez and Connor Slijpen were the winners in the premier U18 Division of the Rip Curl GromSearch at Seal Point in Cape St Francis. The surf was excellent for the entire event, and despite some rainfall, the surfing performances were outstanding.

The Rip Curl GromSearch Seal Point was presented by Sea Harvest and Supported by The Cape St Francis Resort. It was the second competition out of a 3-event series, and the final contest will take place at Scottburgh on 24 and 25 September.   

The U12 Girls was won by Camilla Heuer, who put on a gutsy performance to outpoint Leah Lepront into second place. Jasmine Venter, Maya Malherbe and Mikayla Jeffries made up the minor positions. 

The tight U12 Boys final was a reasonably close tussle between Ben Esterhuyse and Carl Wiersma. Still, Esterhyse got into the lead and kept his position until the final siren. Owen Heny was third and Marcello Zedde fourth.


Ben Esterhyse © Louis Wulff

A polished performance by Louise Lepront in the U14 Girls division saw the goofy-footer win the final comfortably. Emily Jenkinson was second, and Taylor Emslie came in third, with Sophia Jackson and Nina Dirkze-van Schalkwyk placing fourth and fifth.

The very competitive U14 Boys saw the surfers enjoy pumping surf as Seal Point came alive for 20 minutes. The sets were pouring down the point as the surfers picked off the best waves. At the final horn, it was Cooper Smith who took the win from Josh Malherbe. Both surfers were on form and going wave for wave, but Smith clinched it, leaving Malherbe in second and local surfer Rory Dace in third. David Moussouris was the fourth-placed surfer in the final. 

In a nail-biting U16 Girls final, Gia Gilmer snuck the win from favourite Anastasia Venter with good wave selection and powerful turns. Gilmer kept her nerve in a busy final with loads of waves pouring through and chose her waves carefully. They allowed her to display the power, speed and flow in her surfing, with the judges giving her the nod over Venter. Gabriella Herbst and Yannah Figl came in third and fourth spots. 

With so many top surfers loaded into the heat, no one knew how the U18 Boys final would go. But, with two natural footers against two goofy-footers and non-stop waves still reeling down Seal Point, it was an absolute frenzy of high performance, power moves and all the surfers throwing massive blasts of spray on each turn. 

At the final horn, it was a goofy-foot win. Amiable surfer Luc Lepront took out the win, edging the ever-improving Blake Crankshaw into second place. Powerful goofy-footer Joel Fowles placed third, and Levi Kolnick was fourth.

Seal Point went to sleep for a while towards the end of the day’s surfing, as the tide dropped a little and the surges slowed down. There were still good waves to be found, but getting the excellent ones was tricky.  

It was a determined Aimee du Preez who blitzed her way through to a win in the premier U18 Girls section. She scored a comfortable win over Louise Lepront, who was surfing in her second final. Gia Gilmer, also in her second final of the day, placed third, with the much-improved up-and-comer Emily Jenkinson in fourth.  

Aimee Du Preez © Louis Wulff


Connor Slijpen is no stranger to the podium these days and is making finals in pretty much every event he enters. He found a few good inside runners early in the heat to take the lead. However, Christian Venter was hot on his heels and determined to keep the contest tight until the final seconds. In the end, it was Slijpen who took the win over Venter. Joel Fowles, surfing in his second final, managed another third-place finish. Another up-and-comer in Levi Epenetos took fourth.

The prize-giving was a fun affair as JBay surfing legend and Rip Curl athlete Matt McGillivray, currently ranked 14th on the World Surf League Championship Tour, handed out the prizes as the rain came down, and an amazing event drew to a close. 

 The entire tournament was streamed live by SuperSport Schools on their portal – You must first register to watch (which takes about one minute). The entire event can be found for replays and for downloadable clips.

The GromSearch 2022 consists of three Premier SAST events, with 1,000 points going to the winners and prizemoney, as per premier events. 

About Surfing South Africa

Surfing South Africa is the official National Federation for surfing in South Africa. SSA is a member of the South African Confederation of Sport and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) and is recognised as the governing body by the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture. Surfing South Africa is responsible for the development of the sport, the hosting of National tournaments, the sanctioning of International events and the selection of National teams in all the disciplines that are part of SSA.

SSA is one of the 109 members of the International Surfing Association (ISA), the World governing body for the sport. 

Go to Surfing SA on Facebook for more information about Surfing South Africa.

The Cape St Francis Resort

The beautiful Cape St Francis Resort supported the Rip Curl GromSearch. Bordering the beach at Cape St Francis and just a few minutes from the contest venue, Cape St Francis Resort ticks all the boxes as a perfect beach holiday destination. The Resort has a unique setting. Several accommodation options include conventional hotel rooms and three- and four-bedroom cottages. There are also luxury beach villas, perfect for couples, surfers, families and anyone who loves a beach holiday. All are suitable for either a bed and breakfast choice or self-catering options.


Complimentary high-resolution images available.

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