Junior Surfers Excel in Cyclone Rene's Remnants
The Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge got off to a great start today (Saturday 20th February) with grommets from across the country converging at Whangamata on the Coromandel Peninsula.
The East Coast swell of the past week held strong throughout the day with contestable 1.0m waves on offer at Whangamata's main beach. Despite predictions the swell would fade throughout the day, the swell held its size.
Early round heats enjoyed light offshore conditions. Standouts from the morning were Sean Kettle (TAR) who surfed fast and loose to net a heat total of 16.0 out of a possible 20 to progress through his Under 16 Boys Division heat. Other winners from round one in the Under 16's were McKenzie Bowden (WGM), Tomas Spiers (MNT) and Wade Kindred (Auck).
In the first round of the Under 14 Boys, Matt Hansen (MNT) surfed with speed and power to dominate his heat with a total of 13.40. Heat two of the Under 14's saw Whangamata brothers McKenzie and Tane Bowden use local knowledge to find the right waves to progress over Caleb Braithwaite (Whtane). Manu Scott-Arrieta took out a low scoring heat to advance over Sergio Hansen (Ahipara) and Leo Copley (Auck).
In the Under 12 Boys, local lad Tane Bowden (WGM) showed electric form to post 7.75 and 6.50 for a division highest heat score of 14.25. Others to win their Under 12 Boys heats were Manu Scott-Arrieta (Sandy Bay) and Taine Craig Ranga (Waihi Bch).
The Under 14 Girls saw a bit of a lull in the swell but Gabriela Sansom (AUCK) still managed to link together some nice moves to win her round one heat with a 13.25 point heat total. Gabriela's twin sister Bianca Sansom was also in good form to win her heat and progress with Tayla Jakich.
The Under 16 Girls Semifinals saw local girl Ella Williams (WGM) and Alethea Lock (ChCh) progress to the final where they will meet Gabriela Sansom (Auck) and visiting American surfer Bree Kleintop (USA).
The Under 14 Boys Quarterfinals saw some exceptional surfing from the likes of Jordan Griffin (MNT), Dune Kennings (WGM), Elliot Paerata-Reid (Piha) and Manu Scott-Arrieta (Sandy Bay). Both Kennings and Paerata-Reid took to the air in their respective heats and were justly rewarded by the judges, with Kennings netting the days highest heat score with an impressive 16.75 out of a possible 20.
"I saw Elliot bust that backhand air-reverse in the heat before mine and it got me amped to go big in my heat. When that end section walled up it had the perfect ramp and yeah I was stoked I landed it clean" said an elated Kennings.
The Under 16 Boys Round of 32 standouts were Peri Matenga (Mnt), Ben Poulter (Rag), Josh Taylor (Mnt) and Adam Grimson (Gis).
In the Under 16 Quarterfinals Peri Matenga (MNT) showed superior wave selection to progress to the Semifinals along with Piha's Elliot Paerata-Reid. In the second quarterfinal Raglan's Ben Poulter muscled his way to a win in the testing conditions with Adam Grimson (Gis) also moving through. Others to progress to tomorrow's semifinal battles were Korbin Hutchings (Gis), Jordan Griffin (Mnt), Kahu Craig Te Ranga (Waihi Bch) and Paul Moretti (Mimitwhngata).
With conditions likely to be smaller tomorrow, organisers are looking at an 8am start and hope to have all finals completed by early afternoon.
Make sure you get to witness some of these events this summer. There will be some great surfing and plenty of fun activities to partake in. Keep your eyes peeled for the final Billabong Grom Series below:
Billabong Grom Series Event Three - 13th - 14th March Piha Beach, Auckland
Source: Surfing New Zealand
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