Cam Watch: Local surfer rips in world competition

Of all the sandy beach locales in the world, Soorts-Hossegor, France may not stick out as one that excels as a surf destination. The truth is the beaches of Southwest France, Spain, and Portugal are ripe with swell driven by the same gulf stream that brings hurricanes to the Southeastern U.S.

Surf apparel company Quiksilver has been growing its King of the Groms contest into a multinational circuit for almost a decade. Surfers compete in national contests and the winners are sent around the globe for international finals. The winner of the International Finals gets all expense paid trips and wild card entries into the 2012 Quiksilver Pro contests in Australia and France.

Earlier this summer South Carolina surfer Cam Richards defeated the field of U.S. entries in Huntington Beach, Calif., to earn his shot at the 2011 King of the Groms world title. With his legendary father and big brother crossing the pond to cheer him on, Cam was ready for the international stage.

His round one heat would start very slow. He waited almost halfway into the heat to catch his first wave and it was worth it. Scoring an 8.00 he instantly had the highest scoring wave of the heat thus far. Only a minute later and he shut the lid with a 5.33. Winning that heat took Cam directly into the third round where he would place second to Italy’s Leonardo Fioravanti.

In round four the heats go from three surfers in the water to a man-on-man format. He met 12-year-old Jake Marshall from Encinitas, Calif. Jake is the youngest competitor in the KOTG and also Cam’s really good friend. Jake took the lead at the 5-minute mark with a huge fins-free bash netting him a 7.57, but Cam was able to eke a 6.5 to get rid of his lowest scoring wave and secure the win against his pal and fellow statesman.

In the QF Cam met his round-3 rival, Leonardo Fioravanti. In this heat Cam scored the highest combined wave score of the KOTG contest and the second highest score of the Quiksilver Pro contest. with TWO 9.27s, netting him an 18.54 and a date with Brazil’s Yan Deberkow in the semifinals.

In this slow heat, Cam’s patience wouldn’t get him the win. His two waves, scoring a 6.67 and 5.93, were just slightly less critical than Yan’s two low 7’s. Yan would score an even 16.00 in the final against Australia’s Mitch Parkinson to win this year’s KOTG.

So, of all the 16-and-under surfers in the world, Cam tied for third. Still a great showing.

 Photo Credit–Chauché/Quiksilver


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