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Billabong Grom Series Set For Mount Maunganui

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For immediate release

22nd January 2018

From:  Surfing New Zealand
Sport: Surfing
Event: 2018 Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge
Location: Mount Maunganui
Event Info: Surfing New Zealand and Billabong New Zealand

Billabong Grom Series Set For Mount Maunganui

Grommets from around the country will flock to Mount Maunganui this coming weekend as the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge swings into action with the first of three events.

Held hot on the heels of the National Championships completed at the start of January, the Grom Series will see the best surfers under the age of 20 get to display their early-season form in the waves of Bay of Plenty.

The 2018 edition of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge will be split into four divisions ranging from Under 14 through to Under 20 in two-year increments aligning with the National Championships and representative age groups.

After an impressive run at the National Championships, Kora Cooper (Rag) will go into the event this weekend as a surfer to watch.  The 13-year-old won the Under 16 Boys Division at Gisborne as well as finishing runner-up in the Under 14 Boys and spectacularly finishing runner-up in the Under 18 Boys Division.

He is one of a number of national title holders that will be competing at the Tay Street location including Under 18 Boys Champion Conor McLennan (Chch), Under 14 Boys Champion Jayden Willoughby (Rag), and Under 14 Girls Champion Brie Bennett (Rag).

2017 saw unprecedented numbers across the three event series and many of those were made up of the local Mount Maunganui surfers, the region continues to produce a wide-ranging group of highly talented youth.

The likes of Kehu Butler, Elin Tawharu, and new Open Women’s Champion Raiha Ensor have all progressed on to the world stage and the three surfers, despite being eligible for the event this weekend will be away competing internationally. However, the locals will be represented by Kea Smith, Tiana Breeze de Mooij, the Ririnui brothers, Georgia Wederell, William Van Der Beek and Luke Griffin who will all be in action across the weekend.

Such is the strength of the local region, in 2017 they have claimed the overall club points at the Primary School Champs, the Scholastic Champs and finished runner-up at the National Championships completed just over a week ago.

Starting this weekend, entrants will also surf for points toward their boardrider club ranking.  This will take place throughout the Billabong Grom Series and the remainder of the junior events held around New Zealand.  The points system will determine an overall club champion by the end of 2018.

The surf is expected to build late this week and hold into the weekend with light winds forecast.

Participants will all receive a Billabong Grom Series t-shirt upon entering as well as being in with a chance to receive piles of giveaways and prizes for podium-finishing surfers.

It is the thirteenth year that Billabong has sponsored the series in partnership with Oceanbridge who has been a proud supporter of surfing in New Zealand.  This year’s series is also supported by BMW Motorrad.

The action takes place at Tay Street, Mount Maunganui from 8am until late afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday.

Entry into the three Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge events can be completed here:

Event 1 – 27 – 28 January, Mount Maunganui
Event 2 – 10 – 11 February, Whangamata
Event 3 – 24 – 25 February, Piha Beach, Auckland

Please see below for the winners of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge over the past four years.

Under 20 Boys Division
2014 – Tane Wallis (Piha)
2015 – Taylor Hutchison (Rag)
2016 – Taylor Hutchison (Rag)
2017 – Taylor Hutchison (Rag)

Under 20 Girls Division
2014 – Bianca Sansom (Albany)
2015 – Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
2016 – Britt Kindred (Mur)
2017 – Billie Scott (Whngrei)

Under 17 Boys Division
2014 – Kehu Butler (Mnt)
2015 – Daniel Farr (Tara)
2016 – Jonas Tawharu (Mnt)
2017 – Caleb Cutmore (Ham)

Under 17 Girls Division
2014 – Jasmine Smith (Gis)
2015 – Britt Kindred (Mur)
2016 – Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
2017 – Elin Tawharu (Mnt)

Under 14 Boys Division
2014 – Kehu Butler (Mnt)
2015 – Dylan Preston (WGM)
2016 – Tom Robinson (Whngrei)
2017 – Kora Cooper (Rag)

Under 14 Girls Division
2014 – Elin Tawharu (Mnt)
2015 – Gabrielle Paul (Piha)
2016 – Georgia Wederell (Mnt)
2017 – Brie Bennett (Rag)

Further Information
For further information on the 2018 Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.  Alternatively contact Billabong Event Manager Keone Campbell on 0274921138 or email keone.campbell@billabong.co.nz.

High resolution action images of the surfing at all events on the Billabong Grom Series will be available to media free of charge.

Event Hotline
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, Von Zipper, Amazon Surf and BMW Motorrad has made this series possible.

Thanks to Bay Boardriders for hosting the event.

Follow the event
Follow the action via social media @billabong_newzealand on Instagram and @surfingnz across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.  Follow the series hashtag – #BillabongGromSeries.

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