By Sam Watson

SURFING Victoria has postponed the Rip Curl GromSearch at Jan Juc Beach due to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria.

The event, which has been the proving ground for some of the world’s best surfers, was scheduled for this weekend.

It was to include events in the under 16s, 14s and 12s girls’ and boys’ divisions, with the region’s best young surfers battling it out to take the next step in their career.

The GromSearch series focuses on providing elite competition along with fun events for junior surfers all over the world.

A lot of talent has come from the Australian leg of the GromSearch series, including Owen Wright, Steph Gilmore, Tyler Wright, Sally Fitzgibbons, Wade Carmichael, and Nikki van Dijk.

It’s been an especially crucial place for young women to get noticed on the surf scene, and former GromSearch competitors have won the last 13 women’s world surf league titles.

And in 2019, the top six surfers on the WSL men’s tour were all former GromSeach competitors.

Surfing Victoria CEO Adam Robertson was devastated with the result, but he said there was no other way around it.

“We are sad to have to postpone a big event on the Victorian calendar, however, with the continued COVID-19 restrictions, it won’t be possible to run an event that includes all Victorian groms,” Robertson said.

“We appreciate the patience and understanding from competitors and parents and look forward to hosting the Rip Curl GromSearch at Jan Juc in the future.”

Rip Curl event manager Mark Flanagan echoed Robertson’s sentiment.

“We don’t want to run the Rip Curl GromSearch if travel is prohibited from around Victoria,” Flanagan said.

“We respect the relevant COVID regulations and will try and find an alternate date when we can run the event.”

A new date for the Jan Juc event will be announced in the coming weeks, and the Australian GromSearch national final will be held for qualifying athletes in 2022.