The Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge roars in to action at Mount Maunganui this weekend with surfers from the length of the country hitting the East Coast for the two day event.
A staple for junior surfers in New Zealand, this year’s three event series frequents Mount Maunganui followed by Whangamata in February and Piha Beach, Auckland in March showcasing the best young surfers in New Zealand in the Under 20, 17 and 14 age brackets.
After the New Zealand surfing community converged on Dunedin for the National Championships in mid-January, this weekend’s event will be a welcome return to warmer climes. The North Island has been bathed in sunshine and warm water and the weekend has a clean swell forecasted with left over waves from Cyclone Victor which has everyone surfed-out after the past ten days.
Recently crowned national champions will be contesting the event this weekend including Under 18 Boys Champion Elliot Brown (Dun) who will surf in the Under 17 Boys Division. Brown took his opponents by surprise in Dunedin blazing all the way to the final and a coveted title. He has now made the journey north for his first experience at the Billabong Grom Series.
Local surfer Elin Tawharu (Mnt) won the Under 16 and Under 18 Girls Divisions at the National Championships. Tawharu has been in great form of late and will be joined by her equally able Mount Maunganui mates who will have home advantage this weekend. They include the likes of Kea Smith who secured three runner up finishes in Dunedin, unable to get past Tawharu in the age groups and Ella Williams (WGM) in the final of the Open Women’s Division, Williams going on to win her first championship.
The youngest champion crowned at Dunedin was Whangarei’s Thomas Robinson who will also be present this weekend and will lead a large field of surfers under the age of 14. Robinson finished ninth in the series in 2015 but with a number of surfers moving up a division and a national title to his name already this year, he will have many of the other surfers watching his every move.
The Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge also acts as an entry point for many young surfers who make the step up from surfing at their home break and competing at a club level or at school. These entrants make up the vast majority of surfers that contest each of the three events for fun.
For all entrants, the fun will be loaded into the two days with each competitor walking away with a goody bag filled with sponsors gear and good summer memories.
This weekend’s event has additional flavour with the Billabong Girls Get Out There Day taking place next to the event.
Those females that have never given surfing a go or are completely new to the sport have the chance to get professional surf lessons followed by yoga sessions and they get to take home a goody bag as well. Sessions take place at 10am and 12pm daily on Saturday and Sunday with limited spaces available on both days. You can register online via the Billabong website.
Entry into the final two Billabong Grom Series events at Whangamata (13 – 14 February) and Auckland’s Piha Beach (5 – 6 March) can be completed at Surfing New Zealand under events.
For further information on the 2016 Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email [email protected]. Alternatively contact Billabong Event Manager Keone Campbell on 0274921138 or email [email protected].
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 and Von Zipper has made this event possible.
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