After a one week delay, the first event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge looks set to capitalise on a solid East Coast swell when the event kicks off at Tay Street, Mount Maunganui on Saturday morning (1st February).
Originally scheduled to be contested last weekend, a poor swell outlook for the start of the two day event forced the postponement and now the surf gods have dished up the summer season’s first cyclone swell of any significance.
The introduction of the new age categories which include Under 20 Boys and Girls Divisions has seen unprecedented entry levels at the event meaning an action packed weekend ahead.
The newly crowned national champions will be keen to continue their good form into the second event of the year after the National Championships were held at Gisborne in mid-January.
Local surfer Jonas Tawharu will be one such surfer after claiming a breakthrough win in the Under 16 Boys Division at Gisborne. It was Tawharu’s first win at national level with the goofy foot surfer claiming the scalps of the more fancied Kehu Butler (Mnt), Manu Scott – Arrieta (Sandy Bay) and Isaac Kettle (Tara) in the final. All four surfers will be competing in the Under 17 Boys Division this weekend, giving up at least a year in experience to some of their opponents that include the likes of Harrison Whiteside (Chch) and Taylor Hutchison (Rag).
Tawharu’s younger sister Elin will contest two divisions this weekend being the Under 14 and Under 17 Girls Divisions. Elin claimed the Under 16 Girls Division at the National Championships and along with her pack of young female counterparts from Mount Maunganui, will look to dominate the Under 14 and Under 17 Girls Divisions against surfers from the rest of the country.
In the premier Under 20 Men’s Division it will be newly crowned Under 18 Boys Division Champion Dune Kennings (WGM) that will lead the way in the boys and fellow Whangamata surfer Ella Williams, likewise in the girls division.
The hotly contested boys division will also see the likes of Mac Christie (Mnt), Kayden Mayes (Mnt), Waretini Wano (Piha), Sean Kettle (Tara), Jordan Griffin (Mnt) and Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata) plus others vying for the title.
Fifty of the youngest competitors at the event will contest the Under 14 Boys and Girls Divisions. These divisions are where new talent is introduced to the competitive scene. They get their chance to compete alongside the best surfers in New Zealand, some of whom they have looked up to and read about online and in magazines but never surfed with. Now they will get to rub shoulders and talk surfing all weekend long.
Two weeks remain before the New Zealand Junior Surfing Team is announced, the team heading to Ecuador in April to contest the ISA World Junior Championships. Results over the coming two weeks will be valuable for all surfers and their conquest to represent New Zealand on the international stage.
It is the ten year anniversary of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge. The Grom Series has evolved to include an Under 20’s Division which will be contested alongside a new Under 17 Division and the traditional Under 14 Division with boys and girls contesting all divisions.
The series of events acts as a platform for New Zealand’s best surfers to ready themselves for international competition. However, the series also acts as an entry point for many young surfers who make the step up from surfing at their home break and perhaps competing at a club level.
Please see below for remaining event dates:
Billabong Grom Series pres by Oceanbridge Event 2 – 8 – 9 February, Whangamata
Billabong Grom Series pres by Oceanbridge Event 3 – 1 – 2 March, Piha Beach, Auckland
Entry into the events can be completed from the start of December at Surfing New Zealand under events.
For further information on the 2014 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, Von Zipper, Palmers and Kustom has made this event possible.
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