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Australia’s Xavier Huxtable and Hawaii’s Keala Tomoda-Bannert Win the 2018 GromSearch International Final

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Solid four-to-six-foot sets and a day to remember at Manu Bay, Raglan, New Zealand.

Today was a day that will go down in GromSearch history – 16 of the world’s best junior surfers battling it out in solid and powerful four-to-six-foot Manu Bay, posting 10-point rides and showing the world what the future of surfing looks like.

At the end of the competition it was Torquay’s Xavier Huxtable (AUS) and Kauai’s Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) who came out on top, taking down the duo from the NSW Central Coast Finn Hill (AUS) and Kirra-Belle Olsson (AUS).

“I feel so good right now,” said Xavier Huxtable, after he took the win of the GromSearch International Final. Xavier is one of the first Victorian male surfers to take out an International Junior event, and that made the win all the sweeter. “It means so much to me to win this event against such talented surfers from all over the world.”

It wasn’t an easy road to the final, though. Xavier also had to surf through a highly talented Cole Houshmand (USA) in the semis, who is known for his progressive style in all types of waves, and in order to come out on top the Victorian had to post two massive scores. But he was up to the task, and by the end of the heat he had the first and only 10-point ride, combined with a 9.25 – a near perfect heat score of 19.25.

Hawaii’s Keala Tomoda-Bannert didn’t have an easy path to the title either, matching up against Brazilian talent Anne Dos Santos (BRA) in the semis and the promising Australian surfer Kirra-Belle Olsson (AUS).

“That was such a crazy day,” said Keala Tomoda-Bannert. “The surf was pumping, and there was a really strong current that made the paddle-out exhausting. But I’m so happy to win and I feel amazing to know that I surfed through girls like Anne, Kirra (Belle) and Piper (Harrison) (AUS). New Zealand has been an amazing experience, and I am going to be sad to leave!”

A massive thank you to all the competitors of the 2018 Rip Curl GromSearch International Final, and a huge congratulations to Xavier Huxtable and Keala Tomoda-Bannert.

GromSearch International Final – Final Heat Results – Men:
Xavier Huxtable (AUS) 17.8 def. Finn Hill (AUS) 15.3

GromSearch International Final – Final Heat Results – Women:
Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 16.7 def. Kirra-Belle Olsson (AUS) 15.3

Semi-Final Heat Results – Men:
SF1: Finn Hill (AUS) 16.15 def. Lucas Vicente (BRA) 15.7
SF2: Xavier Huxtable (AUS) 19.25 def. Cole Houshmand (USA) 16.4

Semi-Final Heat Results – Women:
SF1: Kirra-Belle Olsson (AUS) 17.1 def. Saffi Vette (NZ) 4.9
SF2: Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 18.7 def. Anne Dos Santos (BRA) 12.75

Quarterfinal Heat Results – Men:
QF1: Lucas Vicente (BRA) 19.05 def. Xavier Huxtable (AUS) 17.85 def. Caleb Cutmore (NZ) 15.65
QF2: Cole Houshmand (USA) 18.55 def. Finn Hill (AUS) 16.3 def. Guilherme Ribeiro (PRT) 14.25

Quarterfinal Heat Results – Women:
QF1: Saffi Vette (NZ) 15.25 def. Anne Dos Santos (BRA) 11.45 def. Brie Bennett (NZ) 11.25
QF2: Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 16 def. Kirra-Belle Olsson (AUS) 13.36 def. Piper Harrison (AUS) 11.4

Round Two Results – Men:
Heat 1: Caleb Cutmore (NZ) 15.6 def. Navryn Malone (NZ) 8.25
Heat 2: Guilherme Ribeiro (PRT) 16.8 def. Kona Eru (IND) 12.65

Round Two Results – Women:
Heat 1: Anne Dos Santos (BRA) 11.75 def. Taina Izquierda (IND) 11.5
Heat 2: Piper Harrison (AUS) 10.25 def. Emma Dubes (FRA) 8.85

Round One Results – Men:
Heat 1: Lucas Vicente  (BRA) 15.5 def. Navryn Malone (NZ) 10.7
Heat 2: Xavier Huxtable (AUS) 15 def. Caleb Cutmore (NZ) 14.5
Heat 3: Finn Hill (AUS) 13.9 def. Kona Eru (IND) 9
Heat 4: Cole Houshmand (USA) 17.25 def. Guilherme Riberio (PRT) 13.55

Round One Results – Women:
Heat 1: Saffi Vette (NZ) 15.95 def. Anne Dos Santos (BRA) 15.45
Heat 2: Brie Bennett (NZ) 12.25 def. Taina Izquierda (IND) 11.1
Heat 3: Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 12.35 def. Emma Dubes (FRA) 11.35
Heat 4: Kirra-Belle Olsson (AUS) 16.65 def. Piper Harrison (AUS) 15.05

Rip Curl ran the first ever GromSearch event in 1999 to provide a fun competitive event for 16-and-under junior surfers, and since then it has developed into a worldwide series that culminated at the International Final. This Final is held at a different location each year, with a focus on nurturing the development of the next generation of elite surfers.

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