Auckland’s Piha Beach will play host to the conclusion of the three-event Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge this weekend (23-24 February) with New Zealand’s top junior surfers ready to take on the West Coast.
After stops at Mount Maunganui and Whangamata, several juicy series championship battles will unfold over the two days and Piha Beach looks like it will deliver an array of conditions to test the best.
While Cyclone Oma has hugged Australia and looks set to reverse back into the tropics, a potent storm system is set to cross central New Zealand at some stage during the weekend producing big waves and challenging winds.
The conditions may suit a number of surfers in the Under 18 Divisions and it is the boys that have a three-way tussle for the title. Jack Lee (Whaka) currently leads the rankings but a final-event win by either him, Caleb Cutmore (Rag) or Luke Griffin (Mnt) will see them claim the title.
Christchurch surfer Tegen Bishop currently leads the Under 18 Girls Division but will have her hands full with local talent Gabrielle Paul who will be searching for a hometown win after second and third place finishes this year. The highest placed of the two surfers will claim the series unless upsets occur early opening the door for Baylin Klein Ovink (Auck) and Georgia Wederell (Mnt).
Raglan’s Jayden Willoughby snatched a victory in the Under 16 Boys Division at the second event, catapulting him into first place for the series. Three surfers are eyeing up the title and a win will do it for them with Jayden, Tom Butland (Tara) and Tom Robinson (Whangarei) all in line. However, the depth of talent in the division means that it is conceivable for five or six surfers to win this weekend’s event and take the title should other results fall their way.
Ava Henderson (Chch) has a stranglehold on the Under 16 Girls Division and only a result short of the final and a win by Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) will see her dethroned from the number one position.
Five surfers are in with a shot at claiming the series in the Under 14 Boys Division. Contenders stretch from the number one ranked Tai Erceg – Gray (Whangarei) to the fifth-placed Kalani Louis (Tara). With the surf set to be the biggest of the series for the youngest of competitors at the event, the competition could be tipped on its head.
In the Under 14 Girls Division, it will be a case of Anna Brock (Mnt) holding off Asia Braithwaite (Gis) to see her finish at the top of the standings.
The competition will commence at the south end of Piha Beach at 8am on Saturday morning with finals expected to take place on Sunday. Conditions will continue to be monitored throughout the weekend to determine the order of events.
Live scoring at the event can be viewed at Billabong Grom Series.
Please see below for current Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge standings after two of three events.
Under 18 Boys Top 5
1, Jack Lee (Whaka)
2, Caleb Cutmore (Ham)
2, Luke Griffin (Mnt)
4, Luis Southwood (Whaka)
5, Taylor O’Leary (Mur)
Under 16 Boys Top 5
1, Jayden Willoughby (Rag)
2, Tom Butland (Tara)
3, Tom Robinson (Whngrei)
4, Josef Jungwirth (Rag)
5, Kora Cooper (Rag)
Under 14 Boys Top 5
1, Tai Erceg-Gray (Whngrei)
2, Ryder Pennington (Tara)
3, Navryn Malone (Rag)
4, Bill Byers (Piha)
5, Kalani Louis (Tara)
Under 18 Girls Top 5
1, Tegen Bishop (Chch)
2, Gabrielle Paul (Auck)
3, Baylin Klein Ovink (Auck)
4, Georgia Wederell (Mnt)
5, Kai Woolf (Rag)
Under 16 Girls Top 5
1, Ava Henderson (Chch)
2, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara)
3, Alice Westerkamp (Auck)
4, Brie Bennett (Rag)
5, Hannah King (Gis)
Under 14 Girls Top 5
1, Anna Brock (Mnt)
2, Asia Braithwaite (Gis)
3, Sophia Brock (Mnt)
4, Jess Haysom (Piha)
5, Amelie Brady (Mnt)
The 2019 edition of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge is split into three divisions for boys and girls ranging from Under 14 through to Under 18 in two-year increments.
It is the fourteenth year that Billabong has sponsored the series in partnership with Oceanbridge who has been a proud long-time supporter of surfing in New Zealand.
For further information on the 2019 Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email email@example.com.
High-resolution action images of the surfing at all events on the Billabong Grom Series will be available to media free of charge.
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, Kustom, Da Kine, Von Zipper and Amazon Surf has made this series possible.
Thanks to Piha Boardriders for hosting the event.
Follow the event
Follow the action via social media @billabong on Instagram and @surfingnz across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Follow the series hashtag – #BillabongGromSeries.
Surfing New Zealand is proudly partnered by:
Water Safety NZ