Words and Photos by Justin Mehren
The Freedom Artists showdown was held in peaky combo swell at Westwards beach in Malibu. With divisions for all ages, the contest provides a snapshot of the local crop of groms and brings back all the familiar faces in the pro division. The day opened with the mini-groms, which came down to a battle between Sage Burke and Sebastian Mendes. In the end, it was super grom Mendes taking the win.
Next, the groms battled it out with a stacked final that included both Burke and Mendes going wave for wave against Griffin Foy. Foy came out on top and peaked during the final with a solid backhand attack. The juniors put on a show all day, and the final was nothing short of explosive. With each competitor opening with a solid wave, it was local, Henry Jenkinson, getting the best of the exchange. In end, it was Micky Clarke saving his best for last and paddling into the best wave of the heat with just a few minutes left to take the win.
The pros entertained the crowd from the first heat to the last. The maneuver of the day goes to Matt McCabe for a full rotation air in his opening heat. This set the tone for the remainder of the day as the competitors got the juices flowing. Early stand out, Cory Arambide, showed great consistency, landing multiple airs and finishing all of his waves. In the end, it was Nathaniel Curran that came out on top by not holding back in the final and landing one of the best airs of the day and the highest score of the final.