Posted - News Posted for New Zealand News, World Surfing News.

An in form Kehu Butler (Mnt) will lead the New Zealand Junior Team of twelve surfers at the 2016 Vissla ISA World Junior Surfing Championships that are being held at the Azores Islands, Portugal in September.

The New Zealand Junior Surfing Team was announced today (Monday 9th May) and his inclusion in the team comes on the back of more international success over the weekend.

KehuButler_SubwayD2_Smith9799-001Kehu Butler. Photo: Smith / WSL

Both Butler and fellow Mount Maunganui surfer Raiha Ensor who was also named in the team, were representing New Zealand at the international final of the Rip Curl GromSearch held in Hawaii. Butler finished the event runner up behind American Nolan Rapoza. Meanwhile Raiha Ensor finished third in the Girls Division, eliminated by event winner Brisa Hennessy (HAW).

Butlers result comes only one week after he claimed his maiden victory in the World Surf League Australian Pro Junior Series with a win at the Subway Pro Junior held at Cronulla Beach, Australia. The Pro Junior Series caters for surfers under the age of 18 and the win means that Butler finished the year ranked seventh overall.

At the World Junior Championships, Butler will be competing in the Under 16 Boys Division for the third consecutive year. He will be joined by three additional surfers – Kaya Horne (AUS), Jared Gebert (Ohope) and Elliot Brown (Dun).

Both Gebert and Brown will compete at the event for the first time as will Lee Ririnui (Mnt) who has been selected as one of four surfers in the Under 18 Boys Division.

Daniel Farr (Tara) and Jonas Tawharu (Mnt) move up a division to the Under 18 Boys in 2016 where they are joined by Northland surfer Manu Scott – Arrieta (Sandy Bay) and Ririnui.

In the girls divisions, Britt Kindred (Mur) and Raiha Ensor (Mnt) will compete in the Under 18 Girls Division while Elin Tawharu (Mnt) will be joined by Kea Smith (Mnt) who makes a return to the team after having competed at the World Junior Championships in 2014. The girls have six caps between them and will be looking for good results now that they are familiar with the international event.

The Azores Islands are located off the coast of Portugal. The event location picks up a lot of swell and when the surf gets over 1.5m, it becomes a powerful beach break with challenging waves.

The New Zealand Team finished 15th at the 2015 ISA World Championship which was won by the home team USA over France in second and Hawaii in third. The team is expected to climb back up the rankings this year given the experience of the selected surfers and a surf break that will suit the surfers. For the first time, the ISA will also utilize a four-man priority system eliminating the need to hassle for waves, a strategy that often disadvantages the New Zealand surfers.

The 2016 New Zealand Junior Surfing Team is as follows:

Under 18 Boys
Daniel Farr (Tara)
Jonas Tawharu (Mnt)
Lee Ririnui (Mnt)
Manu Scott – Arrieta (Sandy Bay)

Non travelling reserve – Jack Wilson (Chch)

Under 18 Girls
Britt Kindred (Muriwai)
Raiha Ensor (Mnt)

Non travelling reserve – Zhana Hutchison (Tara)

Under 16 Boys
Elliot Brown (Dun)
Jared Gebert (Ohope)
Kaya Horne (Mnt/Queensland)
Kehu Butler (Mnt)

Non travelling reserve – Caleb Cutmore (Ham)

Under 16 Girls
Elin Tawharu (Mnt)
Kea Smith (Mnt)

Non travelling reserve – Zhana Hutchison (Tara)

Team Manager: Damien Galvan (Mnt)
Team Coach: Khan Butler (Mnt)

The World Junior Surfing Championships is an annual event having been held since 2003. New Zealand has competed at the event since its inception as well as competing at the World Grommet Titles as it was formerly known since 1989.

Prior to the main event the team will meet South Africa to contest the annually run ‘SANZ’ Trophy held between the two teams. South Africa regained the trophy from New Zealand in 2014. The two teams will fine tune their competitive strategies only days out from the main event. The unique trophy that is up for grabs is made out of a solid pounamu base with paua inlay and a surfboard made out of South African hardwood.

Further Information
For further information on the New Zealand Junior Surfing Team please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.