Source: Surfing New Zealand
A double header is scheduled for Whangamata this weekend when the returning Billabong Pro will take place alongside the second event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge.
The three day spectacle will kick off with the Billabong Pro on Friday (7th February) with the age group divisions in the Billabong Grom Series starting on Saturday.
The event will see the best surfers from around the country converge on the Coromandel Peninsula for the event with another summer swell building late in the week. The new swell is expected to deliver surf for the 150 plus entrants.
National Open Women’s Division Champion Grace Spiers will be competing at her local break for the first time since winning the crown and will be the ‘one to watch.’
Spiers won her first national title at Gisborne in mid-January and anther good performance this weekend would boost the 20 year old surfer well ahead of her opponents on the New Zealand Pro Series rankings.
Top seed in the Men’s Division will be Maz Quinn from Gisborne. Quinn won the New Zealand Pro Series in 2013 and placed third at the National Championships at Gisborne behind winner Billy Stairmand (Rag) and runner up Bobby Hansen (Gis). With the omission of several of New Zealand’s top surfers, including Stairmand, due to international commitments, it will be up to the remainder of New Zealand talent pool to challenge Quinn in the ‘Heats for Hundies’ format that sees surfers rewarded for every heat the win.
Surfers will receive one hundred dollars for every heat they win and of course progression in to the next round and another chance at grabbing part of the prize pool. The heat-by-heat incentive has brought additional meaning to each and every 20 minutes of the event for both the Men’s and Women’s Divisions.
Alongside the country’s top surfers, New Zealand’s best up and comers will compete for the second week running. The three event Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge kicked off last weekend at Mount Maunganui, competitors scoring the best swell of the year to hit the north eastern coastline.
This weekend the grommets will line up again for a shot at the second event before the series climaxes at Piha on the first weekend in March.
The premier divisions of the first event were claimed by Dune Kennings and Ella Williams of Whangamata. However, this weekend Williams will miss the event leaving Kennings to defend his title in the Under 20 Boys Division and a new winner in the Under 20 Girls Division to be found.
Daniel Farr (Tara) and Kea Smith (Mnt) will defend their titles in the Under 17 Divisions after wins last weekend as will Mount Maunganui surfers Kehu Butler and Elin Tawharu in the Under 14 Division.
The Billabong Pro is a four star rated event and will be event two of five on the New Zealand Pro Series which started with the National Championships in Gisborne held during January as well as seeing events contested at Raglan, Dunedin and Hawkes Bay.
For further information on the 2014 Billabong Pro 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].
Action footage will be distributed free of charge from the event. Please contact Ben Kennings for further details.
High resolution action images of the surfing at the Billabong Pro 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.
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