The closest title race in the history of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge is set to be played out at Piha this weekend (28th February – 1st March).
Of the six divisions contested amongst the top junior surfers from around the country, five divisions will be determined this weekend while four of those five divisions have title races involving up to six surfers. The close nature of this year’s series is testament to the growing pool of surfing talent around the New Zealand coastline.
The Under 17 Girls Division is setting up for a massive finish with a star performance from any of the top six girls set to catapult them to a title win. Event-two winner, Elin Tawharu (Mnt), leads the way ahead of Abby Falwasser – Logan (Gis). A win by Tawharu would have her clinch the title but a third placing or lower will open the door for her opponents to snatch the series.
Milly Crewe (Mur), Britt Kindred (Mur), Zhana Hutchieson (Tara) and Kea Smith (Mnt) need a win and other results to go their way to claim the series. With the tight nature of this division, anything is possible and the girls will be on edge right the way through to Sunday afternoon.
The Under 14 Boys Division faces a similar scenario to the girls with a six person battle for the title. The absence of Australian based Kaya Horne has left the door open for a new batch of groms to take the lime light. Horne convincingly won the first two events but the next five ranked surfers have all shared the minor placing spoils.
Luke Griffin (Mnt) and Dylan Preston (WGM) have the best chance of taking the title but you cannot discount Caleb Cutmore (Ham) who has a runner up finish to his name or James Ririnui (Mnt) who is yet to put a full event together this summer. Whangarei surfer Max Brunker is also an outside chance to claim the title but would need some big slip ups from the groms ahead of him.
The Under 20 Girls Division will come down to the top four surfers. A two way share of the lead belongs to Raiha Ensor (Mnt) and Gabriella Sansom (Auck) but Claudia Fraser (Piha) and Bianca Sansom (Auck) have both shown good form during the series so far and sit in third and fourth respectively.
The Under 17 Boys Division has a two surfer battle with Daniel Farr (Tara) needing a minimum of second place to hold on to the series while number two ranked Jonas Tawharu (Mnt) needs to win the event and have Farr place fourth for any chance of toppling the Taranaki surfer.
The two divisions that are more or less decided are the Under 20 Boys where Dune Kennings (WGM) has claimed two wins and an unassailable points lead and the Under 14 Girls where Kai Woolfe (Gis) also has two wins to her name and a near unassailable points lead.
Surfing at the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge event will take place from 8:00am – 4:00pm on Saturday and Sunday. Surf conditions are expected to be excellent with a small 1.0m swell and light offshore winds forecast.
Please see below for the top five surfers from each of the six divisions contested in the series so far.
Under 20 Boys Division
1, Dune Kennings (Whmata)
2, Harrison Whiteside (ChCh)
3, Riccardo Lucibella (Tara)
4, Andrew Fraser – MacKenzie (Tau)
4, Callum Chuter (Tau)
Under 17 Boys Division
1, Daniel Farr (Tara)
2, Jonas Tawharu (Mnt)
3, Manu Scott-Arrieta (Sandy Bay)
4, Joshua Farr (Tara)
5, Jack Wilson (ChCh)
Under 14 Boys Division
1, Kaya Horne (Mnt)
2, Luke Griffin (Mnt)
3, Dylan Preston (Whmata)
4, Caleb Cutmore (Ham)
5, James Ririnui (Mnt)
Under 20 Girls Division
1, Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
1, Gabriella Sansom (Auck)
3, Claudia Fraser (Auck)
4, Bianca Sansom (Auck)
5, Dayna Story (Gis)
Under 17 Girls Division
1, Elin Tawharu (Mnt)
2, Abby Falwasser – Logan (Gis)
3, Milly Crewe (Muri)
4, Britt Kindred (Muri)
5, Zhana Hutchison (Tara)
Under 14 Girls Division
1, Kai Woolf (Gis)
2, Grace Pevats (Whngrei)
3, Saffi Vette (Gis)
4, Georgia Wederell (Mnt)
4, Toni Power (Mnt)
The three event series is part of a wider New Zealand Grom Series which comprises of up to seven events for some divisions and features the country’s top junior surfers.
Entry into all Surfing New Zealand sanctioned events can be completed at Surfing New Zealand under events.
For further information on the 2015 Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively contact Billabong Event Manager Keone Campbell on 0274921138 or email email@example.com.
Web clips will be distributed free of charge from each event. Please contact Ben Kennings for further details.
High resolution action images of the surfing at all events on the Billabong Grom Series will be available to media free of charge.
The Surfing New Zealand event hotline is 0211134506. This will be updated daily at approximately 7am with venue, divisions contested and conditions for the day.
Generous support from Billabong, presenting sponsors Oceanbridge, Von Zipper, Palmers, Kustom and Muesli Hub has made this series possible.
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