Jody W. Wood
In the past, a lot of young groms who were just getting into surfing, often took to the waves on their dad or older brother’s old board, or maybe an old school, yard sale special. But, the times, they are a changing. Performance, at all age levels, has increased over the years with changes in design and materials. Young groms are ripping at a level not seen by many pros 20 years ago. That type of performance surfing doesn’t happen by accident. Kids are starting out younger and younger, with goals and plans to be professional surfers. And chances are, the kid down the street isn’t riding his dad’s 7’6″ Egg anymore. Now, there are high performance shortboards designed especially for the little guys, scaled down versions of one’s the big boys ride.
Larry Ricci, surfboard shaper/designer for South Coast Surf Shops talks about the Grom Model seen in Surfshot Magazine this month with team rider Jay Christensen.
1. What is the idea behind the Grom Model?
“Over the last ten years the technical ability of younger surfers has improved dramatically. These kids require fine-tuned, high performance surfboards to compliment their ability. They are tireless wave mongers. They want to go fast, get air, carve, snap, and tube ride. Robin Prodanovich and I are just as fired up to provide the vehicle for the next generation.
2. What kind of feedback have you gotten from the kids riding them?
“I’m truly impressed with the articulation and detailed feedback we get from the kids. They are so much more informed and in tune with design concepts than ever before. They understand rocker, outline, rail volume, fins, etc. Their input has been incredibly positive.
3. What sizes are the boards available in?
“Usually 5’10” and under. Eight year-old team rider Ryland Rubens is currently riding a 4’10”.
4. Do you feel these boards will help speed the learning curve for surfers who might have, in the past, been stuck with their dad’s old board?
“Once they reach a certain performance level, they want a board designed especially for them. They don’t want to ride their dad’s old board anymore.
5. How long have these boards been in the works between yourself and Robin?
“As the performance curve has widened to include younger and younger surfers, so has the demand for the appropriate equipment. Robin and I draw from our years of experience and, especially, rider feedback to continue the development as these kids lead us to the next level.”
6. Are the grom models available in the shops or are they all customs so far?
“There are some grom models in our current inventory, but custom orders are the most popular right now. You can personally speak to Robin or myself about a custom design by appointment.”