BILLABONG GROM SERIES TRANSITIONS TO WEST COAST

Posted - News Posted for New Zealand News, World Surfing News.

The third and final event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge makes a move west to Piha Beach, Auckland this weekend (5th – 6th March) with the event set to crown six series champions on Sunday afternoon.

The Series has seen two events take place on the East Coast, at Mount Maunganui and Whangamata, so far this summer. However, the final event being on the West Coast presents a new set of challenges for the country’s top young surfers with swells generally bigger and more powerful at Piha.

Taylor_Hutchison_BGS20162RH_1Taylor Hutchison claiming his title after this year’s previous runner-up finishes. Photo: InTheDrink

The solid waves will set the scene for a title showdown across the six divisions ranging from Under 20 Boys and Girls Divisions down to Under 14 Boys and Girls Divisions.

Leading the way in the Under 20 Boys Division is Taylor Hutchison (Rag) after two runner-up finishes this year. Hutchison is followed closely by Andrew MacKenzie (Mnt) who is one of three surfers with a mathematical chance of taking the series win. The chasing pack also includes Callum Chuter (Mnt) and Jack Wilson (Chch).

Contrastingly in the Under 20 Girls Division, Gabriella Sansom (Albany) has already secured the series win after winning the first two events of the year. Local Piha surfer Claudia Fraser will be out to finish the series off with a win and continue to close the points gap on Sansom for the overall New Zealand Grom Series, which finishes in November.

Mount Maunganui’s Jonas Tawharu is another surfer that has gone unbeaten in the series this year and it will take an unexpected semifinal loss for his opponents to catch and pass him in the Under 17 Boys Division. Tawharu’s closest rivals include Jared Gebert (Ohope), Dylan Preston (WGM) and Caleb Cutmore (Ham) who have all placed in the finals at events this year and are capable of securing a win at Piha this weekend.

The Under 17 Girls Division could easily finish in a three-way tie with little separating the top girls in the division. Raiha Ensor (Mnt) currently leads the way with Kai Woolf (Gis) and Elin Tawharu (Mnt) following close behind in second and third respectively. For the scenario to unfold, Tawharu would have to win the event with Woolf finishing in second and Ensor finishing in third.

The absence of ratings leader Finn Johnson (Gis) in the Under 14 Boys Division opens up the race for the top six surfers who can all win the series with a win at the final event. Front runner Taylor O’Leary (Mur) will want to fend off challenges from winner of the second event, James Ririnui (Mnt) as well as Jack Lee (Whakatane) and current National Champion Thomas Robinson (Whangarei).

Likewise in the Under 14 Girls Division, event one and two winner Stella Smith (Gis) will be absent this weekend allowing Georgia Wederell (Mnt) a clean run to the top spot in the series.

Conditions are expected to be excellent on both days of the event with light morning offshores and a small swell that builds throughout Saturday and holds in to Sunday.

Please see below for current Billabong Grom Series rankings after two of three events.

Under 20 Boys Division
Top 5
1, Taylor Hutchison (Rag)
2, Andrew Fraser – MacKenzie (Tau)
3, Callum Chuter (Tau)
4, Jordan Griffin (Mnt)
5, Jack Wilson (Chch)

Under 17 Boys Division
Top 5
1, Jonas Tawharu (Mnt)
2, Jared Gebert (Ohope)
3, Dylan Preston (Whmata)
4, Caleb Cutmore (Ham)
5, Lee Ririnui (Mnt)

Under 14 Boys Division
Top 5
1, Tom Robinson (Whngrei)
2, Taylor O’Leary (Mur)
3, James Ririnui (Mnt)
4, Josef Jungwirth (Rag)
5, Tom Butland (Tara)

Under 20 Girls Division
Top 5
1, Gabriella Sansom (Auck)
2, Claudia Fraser (Auck)
3, Bianca Sansom (Auck)
4, Abby Falwasser – Logan (Gis)
5, Indica Ratima (Rag)

Under 17 Girls Division
Top 5
1, Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
2, Kai Woolf (Gis)
3, Elin Tawharu (Mnt)
4, Maaia Reid – Bennett (Mnt)
5, Zhana Hutchison (Tara)

Under 14 Girls Division
Top 5
1, Stella Smith (Gis)
2, Georgia Wederell (Mnt)
3, Estella Hungerford (Chch)
4, Hannah King (Gis)
5, Daizee Rawls (Gis)