Grommets, or groms, are young extreme sports practitioners. The term often refers to surfers under the age of 16. These prodigies know that discipline is key and they put blood, sweat and tears into their training, trying to outweigh opponents twice their age every time they hit the surf. Some of these groms may have come of age, but they are still on a roll and definitely worth keeping an eye out for. So let’s meet the up-and-coming surfing superstars that are making waves as we speak.
6. John Mel
John Mel after winning the USA Surfing Championship - Photo by Jack McDaniel - USA Surfing
Birthdate: October 18, 1999
Birthplace: Santa Cruz, USA
Fav surfboard: Channel Islands Rook 15
Son of master big wave rider Pete Mel and grandson of Santa Cruz legend John Mel, he is the third generation of surfing champions in the family. Wave riding runs through his veins and John Mel junior charges monstrous waves alongside his dad. His number one objective is to become a professional surfer on the WSL Championship Tour. John Mel has every chance of seeing his dream through. After all, he did win the US Surfing Championships at Lower Trestles. Twice.
John Mel in Tahiti - Photo by Kelly Cestari
With a freckled face and boyish looks, John is a great fit for modeling gigs from Quicksilver and Pottery Barn Teen. He also has a thing for acting, and made his big-screen debut in 2014 in the movie Ride, written and directed by actress Helen Hunt. Therefore, John is also focusing his efforts towards his modeling and acting career and wishes to land more roles that relate to the surfing lifestyle.
5. Macy Callaghan
Macy Callaghan - Photo credit girlsurfnetwork.com
Birthday: October 15, 2000
Birthplace: Avoca Beach, NSW, Australia
Fav surf spot: Snapper Rocks, Queensland, Australia
Fav surfboard: Mayhem V2-HP
Before 2016, she was just another aspiring surfer with big dreams. But after grabbing the junior women’s world champion title at the 2016 WSL Junior Championship at Kiama, New South Wales, Australia, Macy Callaghan showed her true potential. And did you know she beat fellow Aussie pro surfer and top athlete Sally Fitzgibbons while at it?
Macy Callaghan - Photo by WSL/Ed Sloane
Now, the whole world can see that she has world champ written all over her, riding those waves with graceful motions. The long-legged blonde Aussie is a teen surfing sensation. A leader in the Qualifying Series (QS) ratings, she continues to attend both junior and senior competitions. With dreams of making it to the World Tour, her rapid progress might just send her there.
4. Griffin Colapinto
Griffin Colapinto - Photo credit opensponsorship.com
Birthdate: July 29, 1998
Birthplace: San Clemente, California
Fav wave: Lower Trestles, Southern California
Fav surfboard: Mayhem V2 Shortboard
Already considered a threat in heats, Griffin Colapinto is a maniac in the waves. He was only two years old when he first stepped on a longboard and entered his first amateur surfing event when he was eight. Now, he is traveling the world to accumulate Qualifying Series points in the hope of making it to the World Tour.
Griffin Colapinto - Photo credit Billabong
In 2015, Colapinto bagged the Surfing America National Championship title for under-18, as well as the US Open of Surfing Junior Pro held at Lower Trestles, California. Furthermore, the young gun is proving himself comfortable in a wide variety of surf. In 2016, he easily adapted to the thicker surf found on the North Shore of Oahu, where he made the headlines after pulling off a massive inverted air-reverse at Haleiwa during the Quarterfinals at the Hawaiian Pro. He won the Pipe Pro Junior and Los Cabos Open events during the same year.
3. Jack Robinson
Jack Robinson - Photo credit Billabong
Birthplace: Margaret River, Western Australia
Fav waves: Teahupo’o, Tahiti & Pipeline, Oahu
Charging waves most surfers would run from, Jack Robinson is widely regarded as the best young surfer on the planet. Known for his aggressive style, Jack is one of the world’s top barrel riders, paddling into hollow, deadly surf all around the globe. He entered the spotlight when he was eight years old and began competing against surfers twice his age and… winning. By the time he turned 11, he was already surfing the famed Pipeline in Hawaii. At 14, he landed the #1 spot on Surfer’s Magazine annual Hot 100 Junior list. Making it to the top 10 is a tough deal. Being the winner guarantees surfing stardom.
Jack Robinson - Photo credit Billabong
The talented grom grew into a well-accomplished pro surfer, and is currently one of the highest paid junior surfers in the world after having signed a deal with Billabong. He continues to ride the Pipeline in Oahu and Teahupo’o in Tahiti, some of the heaviest tubes in the world, and he does it with style. Preparing for the World Tour, he travels with his dad, surfing as much as possible all over the world.
2. Barron Mamiya
Barron Mamiya - Photo credit Hurley
Birthdate: January 27, 2000
Birthplace: Haleiwa, North Shore of Oahu
Fav waves: Pipeline & Backdoor, Oahu
One of the world’s best barrel riders, Barron Mamiya does not look his age, let alone surf his age. He may be young but he already has years of big wave riding experience under his belt and has impressed the entire surfing community with his effortless display or charging heavy waves like the Pipeline in Oahu.
Barron Mamiya surfing Backdoor, Oahu - Photo by MillerR
Barron started surfing when he was only three years old, with his dad. He paddled out at the famed Pipeline in Oahu when he was nine. But what truly sets him apart from other surfers his age, is that he had to fight for his passion and learned to tame the waves by himself – he borrowed various surfboards from fellow surfers and tried them all out so that he could become accustomed to the different types of surf and styles. It all paid off eventually, as he became known as one of the best surfers in the world, conquering the world’s heaviest waves with apparent ease. “You must believe you are the best to become the best.” (Barron Mamiya)
1. Jake Marshall
Jake Marshall at the US Open of Surfing - Photo credit RedBull
Birthdate: April 28, 1998
Birthplace: Encinitas, California
Fav wave: Macaronis, Mentawai Islands, Indonesia
Calm and well spoken, disciplined and true to his rigorous training regimen, Jake Marshall could easily pass for an older surfer. Jake was born in Encinitas, California, a surfing mecca. When he was six, he moved to Florida with his parents, and that’s where he first tried surfing with his dad. Two years later, the family moved back to Encinitas, in a house just five minutes from the beach. Jake’s fate was sealed.
Jake Marshall getting barrelled – Photo credit Jimmicane
A well-rounded athlete, he played soccer and baseball until he was 10 and had to dedicate all his time to surfing. That’s when he signed with Hurley, cementing his position as one of the world’s most promising groms. Alongside Barron Mamiya, Jake Marshall is considered one of the world’s most powerful young surfers. A yogi and a vegetarian, he dominated the NSAA Junior Surf Tour, having won four NSSA Championships and two USA Prime National titles. Now a pro surfer, Jake travels the world to ride the best waves our planet has to offer and will let nothing get in his way.
Having dedicated their lives to surfing, giving 110% each time they hit the waves, the future is looking bright for these kids. So, who will be the next Kelly Slater? Ready to place your bets?
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