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Groms to Get Their Mettle Tested at Whangamata

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The first of two major weather systems bear down on New Zealand this weekend inconveniently on cue with the second event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbrdige being held at Whangamata on Saturday and Sunday.

While many eyes are peeled north to the tropics for the second, more significant tropical cyclone set to arrive late next week, over 120 young Kiwi surfers are hoping the swell and conditions are better than forecast this weekend for the second of three events in the series.

After a perfect start at Mount Maunganui two weeks ago, the series has built momentum heading into this weekend but the usual idyllic conditions of Whangamata will be replaced by a large 1.5m – 2.0m swell and onshore winds accompanied with rain.

Northland surfers Manu Scott – Arrieta and Billie Scott swept the Under 20 Divisions at the first event and both will return for more this weekend.

Scott – Arrieta is not adverse to big waves and will seize the chance to take on the solid swell as will his opponents in the Under 20 Boys Division, the oldest of age brackets which stretch down to Under 14s.

Club champions from the first event, Point Boardriders of Raglan, will be without their star surfer in the Under 18 Boys Division at Event 1 – Caleb Cutmore. Cutmore heads to Australia this weekend to compete in the Pro Junior events alongside Saffi Vette (Gis) who will also be absent. However Point Boardriders will hope to retain their number one spot through the likes of Jayden Willoughby who won the Under 14s and Brie Bennett, Kora Cooper and Navryn Malone who all secured runner up placings at the first event.

The Bay of Plenty’s strength will again lie in their female competitors with Kea Smith and Anna Brock looking to make it two-from-two in the series in their respective divisions.

The local contingent of surfers will be represented well with a bunch of fresh young faces eager to try their hand at competing, many for the first time at national level. In contrast, several seasoned South Island juniors will travel north for the event from Christchurch with high hopes of podium finishes. They include National Champion in the Under 14 Girls Division, Ava Henderson as well as Estella Hungerford and Myka Black.

Action will take place from 8am – 4pm daily with two huge days of surfing required to finish the event. With the pending swell, organisers will keep a close eye on conditions and have options to set up at the usual location at Access 8 or head south of the Whangamata Surf Life Saving Club. If the surf continues to rise, Access 14 on the Estuary Beach will also be an option.

Please see below for the current New Zealand Grom Series ratings leaders after two events.

Under 20 Boys Division
1, Manu Scott Arrieta (Sandy Bay)
2, Sam Sands (Chch)
3, Jacob Warnes (Mnt)
4, Eli Voschezang (Auck)
5, Cody Lucas (Auck)
5, Thomas Harcourt (Chch)

Under 18 Boys Division
1, Conor McLennan (Chch)
2, Caleb Cutmore (Ham)
3, Jay Piper – Healion (Whiti)
4, Jared Gebert (Ohope)
5, Shane Kraus (Piha)

Under 16 Boys Division
1, Finn Vette (Gis)
1, Kora Cooper (Rag)
3, Tom Robinson (Whngrei)
4, Jack Lee (Whaka)
5, Finn Johnson (Gis)

Under 14 Boys Division
1, Jayden Willoughby (Rag)
2, Navryn Malone (Rag)
3, Reef Newdick (Mnt)
4, Jai Wallis (Auck)
5, Bill Byers (Piha)

Under 20 Girls Division
1, Billie Scott (Whangarei)
2, Indica Ratima (Rag)
3, Maaia Reid – Bennett (Mnt)
4, Lily McDonald (Te Aroha)

Under 18 Girls Division
1, Kea Smith (Arataki)
2, Tiana – Breeze de Mooj (Mnt)
3, Tegen Bishop (Chch)
4, Aimee Brown (Auck)
4, Saffi Vette (Gis)

Under 16 Girls Division
1, Brie Bennett (Rag)
2, Georgia Wederell (Mnt)
3, Hannah King (Gis)
4, Charlie Phillips (Aus)
5, Stella Smith (Gis)
Under 14 Girls Division
1, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara)
2, Anna Brock (Mnt)
3, Daizee Rawls (Gis)
4, Asia Braithwaite (Gis)
5, Liv Haysom (Piha)

The 2018 edition of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge is split into four divisions ranging from Under 14 through to Under 20 in two-year increments.

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.

Entry into the final Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge event can be completed here:

Event 3 – 24 – 25 February, Piha Beach, Auckland

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.

Or check out all the action on the Billabong New Zealand website.


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 Whangamata Boardriders for hosting the event.

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


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