The Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge wrapped up with Dune Kennings (WGM) claiming back-to-back wins in the Under 20 Boys Division while Bianca Sansom clawed a win back from her sister in the girls division which was held at Piha Beach today (Sunday 6th March).
The surf built considerably for the final day of the event with a solid 1.5m swell and light sea breezes all day. Early afternoon low tides affected conditions but there were still some clean runners on the Piha Bar.
Kennings fell behind early in the final after runner up Taylor Hutchison (Rag) posted a 7.0 point ride at the start of the final. However an 8.67 out of a possible 10 midway through the final saw Kennings edge Hutchison for the lead and hold on until the final hooter sounded with a 15.4 point heat total.
“Stoked to win today, the waves were hard to surf so it was like you were surfing against the ocean, not your competitors” Kennings said after the final.
“I wanted to surf to the best of my ability today which I did and that was what got me through.”
Despite winning two of the three events in the series, injury prevented Kennings from competing in the first event handing Hutchison the series win by way of his three runner up finishes.
“Today is a year to the day that I got my knee injury, it has been a long time and it is good to overcome that and get a fresh start. I am off to Aussie tomorrow to watch the Quiky Pro. I went last year but couldn’t surf so I am amped to be able to go and surf over there this year and watch the event” said Kennings.
Placing third with a total of 11.7 points today was Callum Chuter (Mnt) and that was enough to see him finish runner up in the series. Christchurch surfer Harrison Whiteside finished the final in fourth place.
Bianca Sansom (Albany) finally got one over her sister in the final of the Under 20 Girls Division after her sister Gabriella won the first two events of the series. Bianca posted a 11.17 point heat total which was enough for the win but not enough to bump Gabriella off the overall series win.
“Really happy, this is my last Billabong Grom Series event so it is good to win it” chirped Sansom. “It is good to finish the series on a high.”
The win was narrow over Gabriella, the two surfers separated by 0.24 points.
Placing third in the final was Claudia Fraser (Piha) who also slipped to third overall in the series with Britt Kindred (Mur) placing fourth.
Jonas Tawharu (Mnt) completed a clean sweep of wins in the series today claiming the Under 17 Boys Division for the third straight time. With the final being held over the low tide, Tawharu opted to surf the bar alongside his opponents. The fast breaking lefts were clearly an advantage to Tawharu who finished with a 11.87 point heat total. Finishing runner up was local surfer Shane Kraus with Dunedin’s Jack McLeod in third and Waitara surfer Reef Matthews in fourth place.
Raiha Ensor (Mnt) cemented her position atop the rating with a win in the final event of the series, her performance highlighted by an outstanding 9.0 point ride. Ensor was in a battle with Elin Tawharu (Mnt) for the win today as well as the overall series and she proved too good today with a 16.3 point heat total.
Tawharu ended up second today and second overall in the series. Placing third today was Tiana Breeze – De Mooij (Mnt) with Billie Scott (Whangarei) in fourth.
Jack Lee (Whakatane) cracked his first finals win in the Under 14 Boys Division with a win in the dying stages of his match up. Lee scored a 6.33-point ride on his last wave to edge out Taylor O’Leary (Mur). O’Leary’s runner up finish was enough for him to hold off Jack Lee and win the Billabong Grom Series. Placing third today was Myka Black (Chch) with Josef Jungwirth (Rag) in fourth.
Georgia Wederell (Mnt) took out the final of the Under 14 Girls Division despite breaking the nose off her board. Taranaki surfer Tomas Butland came to the rescue of Wederell lending his board midway through the final.
Wederell was up against three first time competitors from Auckland with Summer Carkeek getting the nod over Alice Westercamp in third and Liv Haysom in fourth.
Wederell claimed the overall Billabong Grom Series title for the Under 14 Girls Division.
Please see below for series winners and final results from the third event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge completed at Piha Beach, Auckland today (Sunday 6th March).
Under 20 Boys – Taylor Hutchison (Rag)
Under 20 Girls – Gabriella Sansom (Albany)
Under 17 Boys – Jonas Tawharu (Mnt)
Under 17 Girls – Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
Under 14 Boys – Taylor O’Leary (Mur)
Under 14 Girls – Georgia Wederell (Mnt)