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Maiden Victories for Brock and Rowson at Billabong Grom Series Opener

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Sophia Brock (Mnt) and Spencer Rowson (Tara) claimed maiden wins at the first event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Billabong completed at Mount Maunganui today (Sunday 29th January).

The two surfers won their respective Under 18 Divisions and were joined by first time finalist Remy Sale (Mnt) who won the Under 14 Boys Division for his maiden victory.

Other victories went to Tao Mouldey (Mnt) and Leia Millar (Piha) in the Under 16 Divisions and Kyra Wallis (Piha) joined Sale on the Under 14s podium.

The final day of the event was held in 1.0m – 1.5m waves at the main beach of Mount Maunganui.  The wind remained onshore all day, but participants were spared the persistent rain they endured on day one.

Brock overcame newly crowned National Women’s Champion Pia Rogers in the final with a 10.25 point heat total before being greeted at the waters edge by a swarm of supporters.

“It was pretty sick, I have never been chaired up the beach before so that was a new experience” Said Brock.  “It was cool to see all the Bay crew getting behind each other” she added.

Despite the average conditions, Brock was happy with how she surfed and is already looking forward to the next event of the series being held at Whangamata in two week’s time.

Rogers finished the final in second place with Skylar McFetridge (Tara) in third and Sophia’s older sister, Anna, in fourth.

Rowson encountered a stacked final in the boys division.  He got off to a quick start surfing to a 7.75 point ride early in the heat and then found several good back up waves to take the lead and build on his scores until his opponents couldn’t catch him.  Rowson finished with a 13.85 point heat total ahead of his nearest rival Tyler Perry (Kaik) on 13.0.

“I am pretty happy with the win, it was a tough final with Tyler, Kalani and Navryn but it was good to get the waves I did” said Rowson.  “I got one good wave at the start of the final underneath all the others and went from there.  It wasn’t really my plan but it is how it worked out and it worked out well building on my scoreline in the final” he added.

Perry surfed his way back into form at the event with a runner up finish and some excellent surfing as he pipped National Champion Navryn Malone (Rag) who finished in third and Kalani Louis (Tara) in fourth.

Tao Mouldey left his best for last in the Under 16 Boys final with a buzzer-beating 8.15 point ride to clinch the final.  Sitting in third place needing a good finish for a chance of winning, Mouldey scratched into a righthander where he smashed the end section out the back.  As the wave walled up through the inside, he belted two critical turns to complete the wave and secure his first win of the season.  Alexis Owen (Dun) had held the lead the whole final battling it out with Rico Haybittle (Aus).  However, the two surfers had to settle for second and third respectively after Mouldey’s finish.  Sam Frazerhurst (Auck) finished the final in fourth place.

Piha’s Leia Millar was a dominant force in the Under 16 Girls Division all weekend and none more so than in the final where she stormed away with the win courtesy of a 14.50 point heat total.  Her fast, attacking surfing saw her go into the excellent range on an 8.0 point ride in the final as she pushed National Champion Alani Morse (Rag) into second on 9.45 points, Morse pipping fellow Raglan surfer Maya Mateja into third and Ariana Walker (Mnt) into fourth.

Remy Sale surfed to his first national win in the Under 14 Boys Division trumping his three fellow Mount Maunganui opponents on his way to victory.  Sale took an early lead and held strong with his plan to surf out the back.  It paid off midway through the heat when he got a final-high 8.0 point ride for a bomb from out the back.  He held on to the lead through to the final hooter with Lennox Holdaway getting his second consecutive runner up finish.  Sol Fritchley finished in third with Vitor Kokemper finishing in fourth.

Kyra Wallis (Piha) kept her winning streak going this weekend with another win in the Under 14 Girls Division to go with her national title two weeks ago.  Wallis finished with an 11.35 point heat total for the win.  Good friend Poppy Arkle (Piha) finished in second place with Indi-Lee Ruddell (Whngrei) finishing in third and Madeline Tod (Mnt) finishing in fourth.

The Volkswagen x Skinnies Highest Heat Score of the Day Awards both went to Tao Mouldey (Mnt) with a 17 point heat total on Day 1 and 14.65 point heat total on Day 2.

Full results and rankings 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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