Watch: Four Of The World’s Best Groms Converge
Skateboarding, ice cream and the next big thing in surfing.
Glimpsing into the crystal ball of surf you could bet your very last inflated dollar that there would be four faces in particular who’d be staring back at you. They’ll be the ones who’ll grow up to be the spoke in John Florence’s wheels, or the nail in Kelly’s coffin (in a competitive surfing sense of course – that man is immortal). Spend an hour on the D’bah sand, watching them pop and hack better than men twice their age, makes this a believable future simulation.
Hurley, with arguably the most well-oiled high performance machine, recently organised to unite their indigo children at Cabarita, NSW, and brought Stab along for the ride. Except for Winter Vincent, the sole Oz-born grom, for the others this meant they were to dine on their first Australian waves. Of course, being at the level they’re at, it won’t be their last.
The spin of one 12 year-old with an inevitably bright future! Winter Vincent.
What eventuated was a week of training at Hurley’s High Performance Centre (HPC), skateboarding, football (a conglomeration of various international disciplines), surfing and ice cream. The groms were exercised, stretched, and set free on an intimidatingly high skate ramp complete an with airbag landing pad at the centre. Frequented by the likes of Bede Durbidge, Julian Wilson and Adam Melling, it’s a warehouse full of everything one would need to extend, from fitness to aerial rotation. The surf coaches of the Hurley Surf Club pointed lenses seaward while the teens were whipped into the punchy ramps of Cabarita, not that they needed any assistance in getting above the lip. Later during the video analysis they were schooled on leading twists with the eyes and crushing their tailpads. However, when Bronson Meidy stuck an impossible landing it was the coaches asking the questions.
#squadgoals. Left to right we have Bronson Meidy (13), Dean Vanderwalle (15), Winter Vincent (12), Eli Hanneman (14).
Initially expectations were that these kids would have a supernatural presence, untouchable in some way, and they were in the water. But on land it was all fart jokes, iPhone games and endless energy. Between moments of surf brilliance, of which there were plenty, they’re dabbing, throwing sand, joking and bickering – a refreshingly entertaining divergence from the square, regimented mature-age pro surf trip.
Now, allow us to formally introduce our cast.
It’s likely you’ve been acquainted with Eli Hanneman. He’s from Maui, started skateboarding at three, before stepping onto foam and learning to move it in exceptional ways. He believes that Mick Fanning is the greatest power surfer on the planet and has an entertaining personality well beyond his 14 years of existence.
Under the wing of Indonesian surf deity Rizal Tanjung, Bronson Meidy is 13 years-old and is on an unstoppable trajectory. Clay Marzo is his favourite surfer, which is fast becoming apparent in his rail surfing approach. Bronson hails from Lakey Peak, and as it was his first trip out of Indonesia, was just as fascinated by the Gold Coast’s highways as he was by the Super Bank’s endless rides.
In the Aussie corner we have Manly’s Winter Vincent. Remember the philanthropic grom who helped raise funds for Waves For Water? The youngest of the clan, who’d just turned 12, it’s clear Winter isn’t just another spin-obsessed youngster. He rides a smaller centre fin, which he uses to blow the tail when attacking the lip – he sticks pretty much every one of them. Winter’s spending this year travelling the world looking to expand his comfort zone and build on his already lethal competitive game.
Will this 15 year-old be the first Belgian born CT surfer? All signs point to yes. Dean Vanderwalle, moved from his European homeland to Costa Rica at the age of seven and didn’t waste time forging a promising future for himself. Ring leader of the fart joke squad, he too believes Australians have the best power surfers in the world, being Mick and Joel Parkinson, and says he’d like to be remembered for the same reasons. Watching him take down an oncoming Cabarita section in such a destructive manner, it’s clear he’s on track to achieve said goal.
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