Surfings Next Gereration to Invade Queens

T&C Surf Grom Contest competitor

Summertime on Oahu means sun filled days, salty hair, sandy feet, and no shortage of south swells. It also means it’s time for our favorite surf event... the T&C Grom Contest. You couldn’t pick a better place to have a keiki surf event than the adored wave at Queens in Waikiki. The wave is perfect for surfers of any age or skill, from beginner surfers to top professionals and the iconic backdrop of Waikiki beside Diamond Head doesn’t get much better. It’s almost poetic to have a keiki surf contest in the place that gave birth to modern surfing, with help from famed Olympian and legendary waterman Duke Kahanamoku. And on June 3rd 2023, the 25th annual T&C Grom Contest presented by Dukes Waikiki, returns once again to celebrate and perpetuate youth in surfing.

25 years ago, T&C Surf Designs founder Craig Sugihara held the first T&C Grom Contest, where kids ages three to twelve get to surf a nearly empty lineup at Queens, arguably the most perfect wave in the world, and get to go home with a ton of prizes. Needless to say, it caught on and has been going ever since. Craig Sugihara exclaims, “I look forward to this event every year, it is one of my favorite ways to give back. So much has changed over the 25 years since we started the T&C Grom Contest - more kids, more girl surfers, younger kids. What hasn't changed is the stoke you see in the eyes of the kids!”

T&C Grom Contest girls division in the line up.

The contest is special because it features only kids that are unrated in the junior contest circuit. For many, it’s their very first introduction to competition in surfing. With help from the local surfers and community we clear the lineup for kids to get accustomed to surfing heats as they compete in shortboard, longboard, and bodyboard divisions, along with the kokua division at Baby Queens, where the smallest keiki get a helpful push into the waves from parents, aunties and uncles. There’s also the “Freesurf Magazine Expression Session,” where ohana join in on the fun and surf in tandem with keiki who have a sibling participating in the event. Many of today's top professional surfers can trace their contest roots back to this very event, including Seth Moniz, Zeke Lau, Barron Mamiya, not to mention five-time WSL Women’s World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Carissa Moore, as well as three-time WSL Women’s Longboard Champion (WLC) Honolua Blomfield and two-time WSL WLC Kelia Moniz.

FreeSurf Expression Session duo competing at the T&C Grom Contest

A portion of the proceeds from the contest will be donated to our non-profit partner, the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii. Paddy Kauhane, CEO and President at the BGCH says, “Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii is thrilled to once again be the Non-Profit Sponsor for the T&C Surf Grom Contest! This wonderful event is perfectly aligned with our values, as it celebrates healthy living and inclusive opportunities for keiki through surfing. All of us at BGCH are humbly grateful to T&C Surf and Duke's Waikiki for their commitment to serving our keiki and ʽohana in Hawaii!”

Kokua division competitors showcasing their skills in the T&C Surf Grom Contest

The T&C Grom Contest will begin Saturday, June 3rd. from 8 am to 4:30 pm at Kuhio Beach with the Kokua division featuring keiki three to eight years old on the inside at Baby Queens from 8 a.m. to 3 pm, and the older groms at Queens. The fun extends from the lineup to the beach with games and activities as well as prize drawings where kids can win bonus goodies from surf wax to a skateboard! The day wraps up with the Kokua division awards taking place around 3:30 pm. No participants walk away empty handed. All who enter receive a goodie bag full of prizes from the event sponsors Dakine, Futures, RVCA, Vans, & Verta and this year as special treat from the Asato Family Shop.

Sunday, June 4th is finals day! All six- to twelve-year-old divisions will run heats all the way to the finals and conclude with prize-giving for all competitors along with more great prizes starting around 3:30pm. The crowd favorite “Freesurf Magazine Expression Session” will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (time subject to change). The FSM Expression Session is open to adults and children ages six and under. Online entry is required and limited to just ten entries. Prizes and trophies will be awarded to the top three teams.

With typically more than 350 plus kids competing, we strongly advise interested parties to get their entries in early, as the contest is often full to capacity prior to the entry deadline. Registration can be found online at The public can also call 808-483-8711 for more information.

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