Young extreme sports enthusiasts are a common sight at local beaches and parks. These junior kahunas, affectionately known as groms, work tirelessly to hone and exhibit their skills with the goals of having fun and perfecting their craft.
When groms are in the water, the skate park, or even on the slopes, chances are they are not alone. Look back a few dozen yards from the glides and grinds, and you are sure to see a cluster of interested spectators watching every bit of the action. These are the grom-moms.
The grom-moms, who fancy themselves the soccer moms of extreme sports, were started informally to provide support for their children. Unable to drive themselves, groms often rely on parental support to get them to the best breaks and freshest powder. Scouring the San Diego scene, they spend hours at the beaches and parks watching their children have the time of their lives. Not surprisingly, they often find themselves talking to some of the many other adults who have come under the same circumstances.
Moving from an informal gathering of like-minded supporters to an organized group, the grom-moms now have their own clothing line.
"Like many San Diego moms, I spend a whole lot of time taking my son and his friends back and forth to surf or skate the many wonderful beaches and skate parks our city has to offer," said Alicia Mascarenas, founder of Grom-mom.com, the online clothing store for parents of young surfers, skaters, and snowboarders. "More importantly I believe we are a mom-led team to support our children."
The grom-mom clothing line was started as a treat for these parents as they headed to the nearest store to deck their children out in the latest surf or skate fashion. It has since expanded to an organized group of avid fans that form a fan base for their children, and encourage others to join.
The line of shirts and hoodies, which Mascarenas describes as "clothing with awareness," offers a flag of fellowship and camaraderie among groups and families scattered along the beach or on the other side of the fence. It is also a banner of support and sponsorship that their children can see from the water.
That banner can also be seen hanging at official grom events. Last year they helped sponsor La Jolla's WindanSea Menehune/Junior contest, a prominent surf competition with a division for juniors age 16-and-under and a division for menehunes, a nickname for the 13-and-under crowd which translates roughly to Hawaiian leprechaun. This summer, they are helping to support Revolt Magazine's First Annual Summer Surf Series, the finals of which will be held in La Jolla on Sept. 22. The moms will also be donning their gear at this year's GromFest in August.
As their reputation spreads along with their message, the grom-moms find themselves networking with other parents to promote involvement in their grom's activities. "I have met the most wonderful moms as a result of this adventure," Mascarenas said, and having the caring eye of parents around "makes a difference."
The groms seem to appreciate the extra attention and growing fan club. The parents enjoy the opportunity to bond with their children and provide a positive example, even when it comes to handing out snacks. "Groms are notorious for being able to sniff out a snack a mile away, so we might as well make it a healthy one," she said.
In the fall, the grom-mom line will go one step further to include quintessential motherly advice, with universally recognized slogans like "eat your veggies" printed on the back. Not to be forgotten, the online grom-mom store offers men's apparel as well, inscribed with the title "Grom-dad." The store also sells hats and bags for the more practical aspects of the fun-in-the-sun lifestyle.
In the wake of success that has followed since its inception, the grom-moms are looking to extend their sponsorship capabilities. Their goal is to one day have the ability to be a significant financial contributor to their favorite non-profit organizations, such as the Surfrider Foundation. Currently, they are testing the waters to find a distributor among the brands who tailor extreme sports gear to fit the needs of the youngsters.
Grom-moms hope that the connection they build with their children now will continue as the young ones climb through the age divisions. With their collective parental wisdom, they understand, as Mascarenas says, "The simple stuff like sun block and snacks turns into bigger things." The grom-moms will be there.