Cody McCusker (Chch) convincingly won the Under 16 Boys Division of the first event on the New Zealand South Island Surfing Grom Series held at Te Oka Bay near Christchurch over the weekend (14-15 November). Luke O'Neill (Chch) won the Under 14 Boys and Max Marshall the Under 12 Boys. Alethea Lock won the U16 Girls Division.
The event attracted a record number of entries this year with over thirty young surfers competing in three age groups. The contest was scheduled to be held at Sumner Beach but competitors were greeted with tiny waves and onshore winds at Sumner Beach. The contest was relocated to the picturesque Te Oka Bay on the southern side of Banks Peninsular, where competitors enjoyed up to 1.0m waves with offshore wind conditions.
The Under 16 Boys Division final began as a close battle between Cody McCusker (Kaiapoi), Sam Courtney (Kaiapoi), Alethea Lock (Sumner) and Hugh Ritchie (New Brighton). But with ten minutes remaining McCusker found a long left hander and performed three huge backhand hooks to score an 8.80 point ride. McCusker quickly backed that up with another great wave, a 7.7 point ride to easily win the final. Courtney challenged McCusker throughout the event but ultimately placed second ahead of Lock in third and Ritchie in fourth.
Luke O'Neill (Sumner) used superior wave selection and his smooth style to take out the Under 14 Boys final. Max Cooke (New Brighton) performed consistently throughout the event to place second with Ashlee Sullivan (New Brighton) third and Harrison Whiteside (New Brighton) fourth.
The Under 12 Boys and Girls was delayed until the end of the day to allow a lower tide and better conditions for the young surfers. The grommets were jumping out of their skin to get out in the water, showing no signs of a long day in the sun. Max Marshall (Sumner) found plenty of speed and hunted out the long lefthanders to win. Harrison Whiteside was second, Nick Tuhikarama third and Sam Sands fourth.
The Girls age groups were combined this year. Alethea Lock (Under 16, Sumner) won the girls final, Alescia Whitfield (Under 14, New Brighton) second and Kate Nicolson (Under 12, Kaiapoi) third.
The South Island Grom Series now moves to Waikuku Beach with the second event of the series on the 12th of December.
Organisers would like to thank Sticky Bumps surf wax for their support and Roger Aitkinson of Te Oka Bay.
Under 16 Boys
1st Cody McCusker (Kaiapoi), 16.50 pts
2nd Sam Courtney (Kaiapoi), 10.27 pts
3rd Alethea Lock (Sumner), 6.43 pts
4th Hugh Ritchie (New Brighton), 5.93pts
Under 14 Boys
1st Luke O'Neill (Sumner), 11.67 pts
2nd Max Cooke (New Brighton), 6.20 pts
3rd Ashlee Sullivan (New Brighton), 4.60 pts
4th Harrison Whiteside (New Brighton), 0.17 pts
Under 12 Boys
1st Max Marshall (Sumner), 8.20 pts
2nd Harrision Whiteside (New Brighton), 6 pts
3rd Nick Tuhikarama (North Wai), 2.43 pts
4th Sam Sands (North Wai), 1.3 pts
Under 16 Girls
1st Alethea Lock (Sumner)
2nd Alescia Whitfield (New Brighton)
3rd Kate Nicolson (Waikuku)
Source: Surfing New Zealand