The surf was small but the show went on for the first day of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge held at Mount Maunganui on Saturday.
There is a saying that goes along the lines of “A sign of it being contestable is how many surfers head out for free surfs”. Day one of the event had groms all over the line up at Tay Street, picking up little corners on the changing of the tides, some hunting bigger sets from out the back, some tackling the shore pound.
In the event arena, the action was also nonstop as the best Kiwi groms made the most of the small 0.5m swell. With two arenas taking over the beach to cater for the repechage rounds, if you weren’t on your game, you stood to miss out.
The Under 18 Boys Division surfed their way through to the final and while conditions suited the Under 14s more than them, National Champion Jack Lee (Whaka) looked ominous as usual. He was joined by his mate Luis Southerwood (Whaka), Muriwai’s Taylor O’Leary and Tom Butland (Tara) who will make up the final four.
The top four in the Under 16 Girls Division were also determined with another National Champion in Liv Haysom (Piha) showing the way alongside local hope Anna Brock, Amarnie Barber (Aus) and Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara).
In anticipation of the smaller conditions on Sunday, only the first rounds of the Under 14 Division were contested. With 70 surfers to get through, the afternoon was stacked with amp and despair as many of the groms surfed their first event of the season.
Sunday has dawned slightly smaller with strong offshore winds. The surf is expected to fade further but we are pressing on with the heats leading into the finals from about midday.