Dylan Lightfoot Stomps Opponents Into Submission
South African surfer Dylan Lightfoot came and conquered at the first event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge today (Sunday 7th February). The lone South African contesting the event won the premier Under 16 Boys Division. Gisborne surfer Jayda Martin Fitzharris took out the girls equivalent to defend her title from 2009.
The surf at Tay Street Mount Maunganui remained small albeit clean for the final day of the event with 0.5m - 0.75m waves. The sea breeze held off for the finals with light winds having little effect on the waves.
Lightfoot, along with his family, has been in the country for four weeks surfing breaks around New Zealand and also competing at the World Junior Championships in January. He added this contest to his travels and from day one of the event became the favourite and one to beat.
In the final today Lightfoot struggled in the small conditions racking up low scores in the shore pound. However, late in the heat he finally latched on to a wave that ran down the beach. He proceeded to hit the lip several times until he finished on the beach. The score came out as an 8.5 point ride (out of a possible 10) and that was enough to catapult him from third in to first with a 13.0 point heat total.
"I struggled out there today. I am much bigger than Kiwi boys" commented Lightfoot in a thick South African accent. "They were flying across the waves doing all these turns. I was just lucky to get that one wave and get a good score to push me into the lead" added Lightfoot who will also take in the second leg of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge which takes place at Whangamata next weekend (12-14 February).
Placing second in the final was Adam Grimson (Gis) who opted to surf up the beach by himself. The tactical move paid off for 20 minutes of the final after catching some long lefthanders but he couldn't match the power of Lightfoot and had to settle for second. Dual finalist Dune Kennings (WGM) finished third after a close battle with Grimson but was also unable to surf with enough power to taker the victory. Sandy Bay surfer Patxi Scott - Arrieta finished the final in fourth place.
Jayda Martin - Fitzharris (Gis) took most of the 25 minute final to work her way to what was eventually a convincing win. Martin - Fitzharris posted a 10.75 point total heat score in the final but showed some nerves prior to pushing out to a healthy lead.
"I was so nervous when I came in from that final. I didn't know I had won because the waves were pretty average out there and I didn't get many" said Fitzharris of her performance. I am not sure if I am doing all of the Billabong Grom Series this year so it is good to at least win this event"
Gabriela Sansom (Auck) placed second in the final. It was a personal best result for Sansom who was a dual finalist having contested the Under 14 Girls final earlier in the morning. Whangamata's Ella Williams placed third in the final with Alethea Lock (Chch) in fourth.
Local surfer Jordan Griffin was unstoppable in the Under 14 Boys Division final. Griffin used his local knowledge to hunt down the best waves, surfing both lefts and rights up and down the beach. It was his big closeout turn on his final wave that netted him a 6.25 to win his first Under 14 Boys final.
Griffin was challenged by Dune Kennings (WGM) with the lead changing several times but Kennings lacked the quality waves and big turns of Griffin finishing second ahead of the Taranaki pairing of Mahorahora McLeod and Te Rapai Barbarich - Love.
The two Taranaki first-time-finalists made a big impression on the rest of the grommets from around the country and will be ones to watch as the accustom themselves to the competitive arena at a national level.
While Gabriela Sansom placed runner up in the Under 16 Girls Division, she was nothing short of brilliant in the Under 14 Girls Division running away with the win scoring 11.25 out of a possible 20. Sansom caught one excellent lefthander where she completed two big forehand re-entries to score 8.0 points out of a possible 10.0. Gisborne's Dayna Story placed second in the final ahead of Bianca Sansom (Auck) in third and Claudia Fraser in fourth.
Manu Scott - Arrieta (Sandy Bay) took his first ever win at a national level. After being the bridesmaid for the entire competitive season in 2009, Scott Arrieta has finally emerged from the shadows of good mate Korbin Hutchings (Gis).
Scott - Arrieta scored 12.4 points in the final to push past Taine Craig Te Ranga (Waihi Beach) scoring 11.1 points. Tane Bowden (WGM) surfed in his first final placing third ahead of the youngest finalist, local surfer Kehu Butler (Mnt) who was also in his first ever final at nine years old.
Milly Crewe (Mur) won the Under 12 Girls final ahead of Britt Kindred (Mur) in second, Paige Penny (Gis) in third and Lily Spiers (WGM) in fourth.
The five winners (excludes Under 12 Girls) of the Billabong Series after the three events each win a return flight to the Gold Coast to compete in the Occy Grom Comp. Winners at each event win a massive package of Billabong gear and a Sony MP3 player.
Final results from the first event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge.
Under 16 Boys Final
Dylan Lightfoot (Sth Africa), 1, Adam Grimson (Gis), 2, Dune Kennings (Whmata), 3, Patxi Scott-Arietta (Sandy Bay), 4
Under 14 Boys Semifinals
Dune Kennings (Whmata), 1, Jordan Griffin (Mnt), 2, Elliot Paerata - Reid (Piha), 3, Quinn Matenga (Mnt), 4
Mahorahora McLeod (Tara), 1, Te Rapai Barbarich Love (Tara), 2, Toa MacDonald (Tara), 3, Korbin Hutchings (Gis), 4
Under 14 Boys Final
Jordan Griffin (Mnt), 1, Dune Kennings (Whmata), 2, Mahorahora McLeod (Tara), 3, Te Rapai Barbarich Love (Tara), 4
Under 12 Boys Final
Manu Scott Arrieta (Sandy Bay), 1, Taine Craig Te Ranga (Waihi Beach), 2, Tane Bowden (WGM), 3, Kehu Butler (Mnt), 4
Under 16 Girls Final
Jayda Martin - Fitzharris (Gis), 1, Gabriela Sansom (Auck), 2, Ella Williams (WGM), 3, Alethea Lock (Chch), 4
Under 14 Girls Semifinals
Gabriela Sansom (Auck), 1, Claudia Fraser (Piha), 2, Milly Crewe (Muri), 3
Bianca Sansom (Auck), 1, Dayna Story (Gis), 2, Britt Kindred (Muri), 3
Under 14 Girls Final
Gabriela Sansom (Auck), 1, Dayna Story (Gis), 2, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 3, Claudia Fraser (Piha), 4
Under 12 Girls Final
Milly Crewe (Mur), 1, Britt Kindred (Mur), 2, Paige Penny (Gis), 3, Lily Spiers (WGM), 4
Source: Surfing New Zealand
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