OB’s annual Gromfest will put young skills to the test
by Don Balch
Aug 22, 2012 | 5168 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Young surfers, commonly referred to as “groms,” show intensity during a previous Gromfest Surf Contest in Ocean Beach. This year’s event is scheduled to take place Saturday, Aug. 25.                                              Photos by Don Balch I The Beacon
Young surfers, commonly referred to as “groms,” show intensity during a previous Gromfest Surf Contest in Ocean Beach. This year’s event is scheduled to take place Saturday, Aug. 25. Photos by Don Balch I The Beacon
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If one looks in “The Surfin’ary,” a dictionary of surfing terminology and surfspeak, a “grommet” or “grom” is used to describe “an adolescent or pre-adolescent surfer,” or “a 1960s Australian term for ‘gremmie,’ that has been adopted worldwide and is in current usage” or “a young surfer-type person intent on maximizing beach and in-the-tube experiences.”

Such tubular experiences will provide the setting for the 11th annual Gromfest Surf Contest at the Ocean Beach Pier on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Enthusiastic surfers age 16 and younger will be competing in boys’ and girls’ age-division events in both shortboard and longboard divisions.

The event, hosted by the Sunset Cliffs Surfing Association (SCSA), is intended to preserve and promote the art of surfing, and has done so for more than 40 years. The surf contest is held in the memory of Carl Warner of Point Loma, a major surfing enthusiast.

Years ago, Point Loma residents Lisa and Rick Haux, owners of MOR Furniture For Less, reached out to the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association (OBMA), a local merchant’s group, with the desire to start something for local area kids in memory of Warner, their long-time employee who had recently passed away. The OBMA worked with the SCSA to establish the Gromfest, and it has been an annual beach party since.

The surfing competition includes “Super Groms” (boys and girls 7 and under on any size surfboard); “Little Wahine” (girls 8 to 10 on any size board); “Groms” (boys 8 to 10, short board); “Menehune” (boys 11 to 13, short board); “Wahine” (girls 11 to 16, any board); “Jr. Boys” (14 to 16, short board); and a “Longboard Division” (open).

Surfers qualify to compete if they live in the 92106 or 92107 ZIP codes or who are SCSA members. The first 110 kids can register for a $25 fee, and forms are available at South Coast Surf Shop, Pride, Julie Designs and Surf ’N’ Sea Custom Wetsuits, all in Ocean Beach.

Activities include a barbeque, a raffle, silent auction and awards ceremony. All money collected benefits the SCSA Juniors Program, which sponsors various community events to benefit Ocean Beach and Point Loma area youngsters.

The Gromfest is an energetic, spectator-friendly, surfing spectacle that embraces the fun of the youthful wave-riding lifestyle and is definitely intent on “maximizing beach and in-the-tube experiences” for all in attendance.
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