Local surfer Samuel Pupo (BRA) and Leilani McGonagle (CRI) have been crowned Rip Curl GromSearch International champions over Kei Kobayashi(USA) and Australian Jaleesa Vincent in fantastic conditions at Maresias Beach, Sao Paulo, Brazil on the weekend.
Top junior surfers from around the world battled it out over two days of competition at theRip Curl GromSearch International final hosted by current WSL world champion Gabriel Medina and presented by GoPro, in front of a crowd of thousands watching from the beach.
Pupo (14), the younger brother of top WSL surfer Miguel Pupo thrilled spectators at Maresias by putting on a dominant performance at his home break.He built momentum through the final day, securing great scores in every heat including a perfect 10 point ride in his semi final to progress to the last heat of the day full of confidence against second seed Kobayashi (USA).
The early exchanges between the two were close until Pupo scored the highest wave of the final, a 9.75 for a long left hander 10 minutes from the end, leaving Kobayashi requiring a perfect 10 point ride to overturn the deficit, a task he was unable achieve.
“It’s a privilege to win here with Gabriel in attendance and all of the crowd supporting me.We both grew up surfing here and I’m honoured to win such a prestigious event at the beachwhere it all started,” Pupo said.
In the girls division Australian Jaleesa Vincent (16, Coolum) knocked out the event’s number one seed Caroline Marks (EUA) in the semis to set up a final showdown with Costa Rican Leilani McGonagle. McGonagle immediately got to work in the final posting two good scores to put the pressure. Vincent who responded with a score to match, but couldn’t find a second, leaving her as runner-up, and McGonagle the first Central American to win a Rip Curl GromSearch International title.
“I’m really excited to be the first ever Costa Rican champion, it means a lot. It’s so cool to have my name on the winners’ list alongside my Hawaiian friends Tatiana Weston-Webb and Brisa Hennessy and all the other GromSearch winners!” McGonagle said.
The list of former Rip Curl GromSearch International finalists include many stars currently on the elite WSL World Tour, names like Owen and Tyler Wright (AUS), Alana Blanchard (HAW), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS).
The 2015 Rip Curl GromSearch International final in Maresias is presented by GoPro – Be a Hero, with major partner POSCA and support from Coconut’s Maresias Hotel, April 28 – May 3. São Paulo Surfing Federation and the City Hall of São Sebastião are collaborators. The event is covered by Fluir magazine and Waves website, with daily reports by FMA News.
2015 Rip Curl GromSearch International Final Results
Samuel Pupo (BRA) 17.25 def. Kei Kobayashi (USA) 14.25
SF1: Samuel Pupo (BRA) 19.40 def. Lens Arancibia (FRA) 13.50
SF2: Kei Kobayashi (USA) 16.65 def. Kehu Butler (NZL) 16.35
Leilani McGonagle (CRI) 14.40 def. Jaleesa Vicente (AUS) 13.25
SF1: Jaleesa Vincent (AUS) 15.15 def. Caroline Marks (USA) 14.50
SF2: Leilani McGonagle (CRI) 15.50 def. Raiha Ensor (NZL) 12.45