The persistent rain pelting Piha Beach was a gift from the skies for most in the community today (Saturday 22nd February) but not so much for the groms participating in the final event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge.
While water tanks received some welcome relief, young surfers and their supporters from around the country had to seek shelter all day as they advanced through the preliminary rounds of the event.
The surf remained highly contestable in the 1.0m plus range with light onshore winds, the changing tides having a big impact on conditions. The Under 14 Boys Division was contested in the Cove while the main podium made the most of the middle of the beach at the south end of Piha.
The Under 16 Girls Division was contested through to the final with National Champion Ava Henderson (Chch) and Under 16 National Champion Liv Haysom (Piha) taking wins to advance through to the final. They will be joined by current Billabong Grom Series leader Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) and Anna Brock (Mnt) with results in the final set to confirm the series champion.
Their male counterparts were whittled down to the final eight surfers with the top seeds all making a big impression on the field. Finn Vette, Kora Cooper, Navryn Malone and Jayden Willoughby all pushed with big heat progressions. Local surfer Jai Wallis and Raglan’s Jarvis Camenzind joined them with good performances to reach the semifinals as well.
The Under 18 Boys Division only contested one round with Muriwai surfer Taylor O’Leary topping the round with a 14.8 point heat total. He was joined by all of the heat favourites in Josef Jungwirth (Rag), Tom Butland (Tara), Jackson Peak (Auck), Jack Lee and current series leader Luis Southerwood (Whaka) who is searching for a threepeat.
The youngest of participants in the Under 14 Boys Division enjoyed the full tide conditions over the peak of the tide before a third round of action was held late in the day. Back-to-back division winner Tao Mouldey (Mnt) and the explosive Ryder Pennington (Tara) shone through in the deteriorating conditions and both surfers will be tough to beat on finals day.
In the Under 14 Girls Division, frontrunners Chloe Groube (Pau), Jess Haysom (Piha) and Leia Millar (Piha) all excelled with Millar posting 14.8 points out of a possible 20, equalling O’Leary for the highest heat score of the day.
Action will take place from 8:00am on Sunday with finals kicking off from 12:30pm. Prize giving will take place immediately after the finals. 1999 World Champion Mark Occhilupo and World Tour surfer Ryan Callinan, both of Australia, will join the event for the final day to complete their Billabong promotional tour after catching some nice waves at Whangamata today. The two surfers will be on hand to witness the finals and dish out the prizes for all finalists.
Please see below for results from day one of the final event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge held at Piha beach today (Saturday 22nd February).
Under 18 Boys Division Round 1
Luis Southwood (Whaka), 9, 1, Sam Charlesworth (Auck), 6.53, 2, Aiden Hayes (Mnt), 2.4, 3
Jackson Peak (Auck), 6.93, 1, Billy Gilbert (Whangarei), 5.6, 2, Trae Cooney (WGM), 2, 3
Taylor O’Leary (Mur), 14.84, 1, Jack Hinton (Mnt), 9.63, 2, Max de Groot (HBay), 7.57, 3, Dughall Eadie Raglan (Auck), 1.84, 4
Tom Butland (Tara), 12.5, 1, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 8.9, 2, Jean Viljoen (Mnt), 8.33, 3, Hunter Schnuriger (Auck), 3, 4
Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 10.96, 1, Cassidy Mann (Auck), 8.17, 2, Jacob Buckle (Whangrei), 7.93, 3, Liam Wilson (HAW), 6.73, 4
Jack Lee (Whaka), 11.2, 1, Thomas Charlesworth (Auck), 7.96, 2, Mitchell Dalley (Mnt), 6.33, 3
Under 16 Boys Division Quarterfinals
Ari D’Anvers (Whngrei), 9.9, 1, Bill Byers (Piha), 9.7, 2, Harper McBride (Mnt), 3.93, 3, Kobey Gregory (HBay), 2.5, 4
Finn Vette (Gis), 8.6, 1, Navryn Malone (Rag), 7.83, 2, Izak Hayes (Whngrei), 6.23, 3, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Sandy Bay), 6, 4
Kora Cooper (Rag), 9.76, 1, Jarvis Camenzind (Raglan), 6.4, 2, Kalani Louis (Tara), 6.13, 3, Lucian Martin (Auck), 3.77, 4
Jai Wallis (Piha), 7.33, 1, Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 6.6, 2, Noah Camburn (Whaka), 2.3, 3, Tai Erceg – Gray (Whngrei), 2, 4
Under 14 Boys Division Round 2
Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 11.4, 1, Tai Murphy (Whaka), 7.93, 2, Ben Milne (WGM), 6.83, 3, Sev Tolhurst (Piha), 2.9, 4
Ryder Pennington (Tara), 11.1, 1, Soren Bucka – Christensen (Mnt), 2.24, 2, Nate Florence (Tara), 1.63, 3, Kauai Rahui (Whgrei), 0.97, 4
Cooper Ashill (Whngrei), 9.23, 1, Indica Corcoran (Mnt), 7.43, 2, Kalani Watts (Tara), 1.5, 3, Harrison Biddle (WGM), 1.17, 4
Tava Santorik (Mnt), 7.7, 1, Dale Cromhout (Hbay), 5.04, 2, Spencer Rawson (Tara), 4.83, 3, Beau Woods (Mnt), 4.6, 4
Mathias Thompson (Piha), 6.8, 1, Taj Dal Bosco (WGM), 6, 2, Gabriel Lobb (Gis), 3.6, 3, Daniel Cox (WGM), 3, 4
Will Hardie (Piha), 6.4, 1, Riku Gordon (Mah), 5.33, 2, Zak Becroft (Auck), 2.57, 3, Taylor Mainwaring (WGM), 1.86, 4
Under 16 Girls Division Semifinals
Ava Henderson (Chch), 8.17, 1, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 6.4, 2, Asia Braithwaite (Gis), 5.3, 3
Liv Haysom (Piha), 5.64, 1, Anna Brock (Mnt), 5.03, 2, Ruby Lobb (Tara), 3.07, 3
Under 14 Girls Division Round 1
Chloe Groube (Pau), 11, 1, Alani Morse (Orewa), 4.8, 2, Lola Groube (Pau), 4.06, 3
Skylar McFetridge (Tara), 7.17, 1, Isabella Milne (WGM), 6.23, 2, Lily Honeycombe (WGM), 4.1, 3, Kyra Wallis (Piha), 3.4, 4
Jess Haysom (Piha), 11.83, 1, Maya Mateja (Rag), 9.5, 2, Sophia Brock (Mnt), 7.73, 3, Indi-Lee Ruddell (Whngrei), 3.9, 4
Pia Rogers (WGM), 8.46, 1, Mahia Braithwaite (Gis), 4, 2, Poppy Pennington (Tara), 2.03, 3
Leia Millar (Piha), 14.8, 1, Naobi Nishida (Auck), 7.67, 2, Ruby Milne (WGM), 3.27, 3, Jess Sinton (Mur), 1.56, 4
Amanda Gouldsbury (Tara), 4.87, 1, India Kennings (WGM), 3.6, 2, Ariana Walker (Mnt), 0.33, 3
For further information on the 2020 Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Web clips will be distributed free of charge from each event. Please contact Ben Kennings for further details.
High resolution action images of the surfing at all events on the Billabong Grom Series 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.
Generous support from Billabong, presenting sponsors Oceanbridge, Kustom and Dakine has made this series possible.
Thanks to Bay Boardriders for hosting the event.
Follow the event
Follow the action via social media @billabong on Instagram and @surfingnz across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Follow the series hashtag – #BillabongGromSeries.
Surfing New Zealand is proudly partnered by:
Water Safety NZ