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Groms Battle the Elements at Mount Maunganui

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A bit of weather has dampened the enthusiasm of New Zealand’s best junior surfers at Mount Maunganui this weekend with a full day of action across all boys divisions at the first event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge.

The biblical rain and gale force onshore winds that lashed the region on Friday, continued into today (Saturday) with rain fronts and strong winds forcing a delayed start to the day and a move to the main beach of Mount Maunganui to hide away from the large 2.0m swell pummelling the coastline.

The Under 18 Boys Division was sent out to test the waters first up with the top seeds producing some good surfing.  Recently crowned National Champion Navryn Malone (Rag) maintained his form through the first round surfing to a 13.33 point heat total to open up his campaign.  Making the most of ‘blowhole rights’, Malone advanced to the quarterfinals alongside Noah Camburn (Ohope) who also impressed, surfing to a 12.25 point heat total.

Dunedin’s Jake Owen put in another good performance, never one to shy away from good sized sections in the solid waves.  Owen surfed to a 12.15 point heat total in his heat and meets Malone in the quarterfinals.

Tyler Perry (Kaik) bounced back from an early exit at the National Championships to win his first match up as did New Zealand Junior Representatives Kalani Louis and Spencer Rowson of Taranaki.

Jake Owen’s younger brother Alexis followed suit in the Under 16 Boys Division with some big turns that caught the eye of the judges.  He topped out with an 8.25 on his highest scoring ride for two big forehand turns.

Australian surfer Rico Haybittle decided to take in the event while here visiting family and immediately took on New Zealand’s best young surfers.  In a hotly contested heat, Haybittle got the better of Taj Millar – Dal Bosco (WGM) and Tyler Stenzel (Mnt), Millar Dal Bosco getting the nod to advance to the next round.

Bookending the first round of the Under 16 Boys Division was a head-to-head match up with Mount Maunganui surfers Tao Mouldey and Tava Santorik going for it.  Mouldey took the win with an 11.10 point heat total with the two surfers meeting Manu Roberts (Tai) and Zade Pitkeathley (Mnt) in the quarterfinals to be held early evening.

The groms in the Under 14 Boys Division were courageous in their efforts as the tide went out in the afternoon and the wind increased in strength.  Those that took on the waves out the back were rewarded with some big scores.  The Mount Maunganui duo of Lennox Holdaway and Remy Sale attacked their heats with vengeance.  Holdaway top scored on 13.35 after a long running right that he rode the entire length of the bay.  Sale was his usual aggressive self, punching out some big backhand turns to score 12.30 points.

South Island surfers Sonny Lyons (Kaik) and Jack Higgins (Dun) also took good heat wins at either end of the round.

Day two of the event will see the three girls divisions enter the water as well as resuming the boys divisions.  Action takes place from 8am until late afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday.  Live scoring can be viewed at www.Liveheats.com/SurfingNewZealand.

Each of the three events in the series attracts upward of 130 surfers.  It is the eighteenth edition of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge.  The series offers up many surfers first taste of events, pitting themselves against their mates and taking in a fun two days of surfing and developing their skills in the ocean.  Participants also team up for their boardrider clubs with the top five surfer’s results from each club going toward overall club rankings.

The 2023 edition of the series draws on a long history of fun with all of New Zealand’s current crop of elite surfers having taken part including Richard Christie (Gis), Paige Hareb (Tara), Billy Stairmand (Rag), Mount Maunganui’s own Kehu Butler and Ella Williams (WGM).

Further Information
For further information on the 2023 Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.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. Please contact Ben Kennings for further details.

Generous support from Billabong and presenting sponsors Oceanbridge has made this series possible.

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

Surfing New Zealand is proudly partnered by:

Sport NZ
Skinnies Sun Gel



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