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Pristine Conditions as the Billabong Grom Series Heads towards a Climax

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Piha Beach, Auckland turned it on for New Zealand’s top young groms as they head toward the final day of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge tomorrow and close out summer on a high.

The Piha event is the third of the series with six champions to be crowned on Sunday.

Today (Saturday 27th February) saw perfect 1.0m waves and offshore winds all day which were the catalyst for some exceptional performances.

Surfers in the Under 18 Boys Division continued to press for the series title with all six top seeds advancing through their heats to the final twelve surfers.

Raglan’s Jayden Willoughby was the early standout with his 16.5 point heat performance.  He will need to bring the same performance levels on the final day with his opponents ready to push their own cause and snatch an event win to challenge for the series win.

Raglan counterparts Josef Jungwirth and Kora Cooper looked impressive on their backhands while Northland surfers Ari D’Anvers and Tom Robinson also advanced through to the final day. Gisborne’s Finn Vette is only one of two goofy foot surfers left in the mix which could be to his advantage on the finals day after he put in a good performance in the first heat of the day.

It was Brie Bennett (Rag) in the Under 18 Girls Division that suffered the biggest upset of the day being ousted by Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) and Alice Westerkamp (Auck) in the first round.

Bennett’s loss, in a wave starved performance, reduces the title race to two surfers with front runner Ariana Shewry (Tara) squeaking through her heat to keep hopes alive and Gouldsbury, confident in her performance today, looking for a big win to leapfrog Shewry.

Ava Henderson (Chch), Anna Brock (Mnt) and Leia Millar (Piha) all put in solid performances in the Under 16 Girls Division with Millar topping the round with a 13.43 point heat total.  Millar and Henderson will match up in the semifinals alongside event one winner Asia Braithwaite (Gis) while Brock will face off against her sister and Pia Rogers (WGM).

In the Under 14 Girls Division Maya Mateja (Rag) and Chloe Groube (Pau) looked sharp in their opening heats making the most of the full tide conditions.  Mateja surfed to an 11.83 point heat total including a two-turn-comb that fetched her a high scoring 7.0 point ride.

Late in the day, participants in the Under 16 Boys Division pushed through three rounds to find the final eight surfers.  Whangarei surfers Cooper Ashill and Izaak Hayes advanced through the first quarterfinal with impressive performances as did Bill Byers (Piha) and Tao Mouldey (Mnt).

The three-event Billabong Grom Series is part of a wider New Zealand Grom Series which turns its focus to Christchurch in the coming weeks with the Seventhwave Women’s Canterbury Championships and Ray White Duke Festival of Surfing then on to Dunedin, Pauanui, Kaikoura, Christchurch and back to Piha for the final.

The full draw and results for the event can be viewed here.  The schedule of events for Sunday will be posted first thing in the morning once conditions are assessed.

Please see below for results from day one of the final event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge held at Piha Beach today (Saturday 27th February).

Under 18 Boys Division Round 1
Heat 1

Finn Vette (Gis), 11.27, 1, Connor Van Der Pol (Mnt), 9.04, 2, Max de Groot (HBay), 8.43, 3
Heat 2
Ari D’Anvers (whngrei), 12.93, 1, Isaac Klein – Ovink (Mnt), 9.56, 2, Jai Wallis (Piha), 7.23, 3, Ben Moretti (Ahipara), 6.63, 4
Heat 3

Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 16.5, 1, Jack Hinton (Mnt), 10.7, 2, Cameron Broad (HBay), 8.3, 3, Charlie Webb ( Auck), 3.96, 4
Heat 4
Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 11.17, 1, Jacob Buckle (Whangrei), 10.7, 2, Thomas Charlesworth (Whngrei), 8, 3, Jackson Peak (Auck), 7.5, 4
Heat 5
Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 10.17, 1, Harper McBride (Mnt), 7.0, 2, Joshua Wynne-Lewis (HB), 5.97, 3, Valentin Gadras (Rag), 3.0, 4
Heat 6
Kora Cooper (Rag), 12.7, 1, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Whngrei), 10.53, 2, Luca Rendle (Hbay), 8.43, 3, Jean Viljoen (Mnt), 5.94, 4

Under 18 Girls Division Round 1
Heat 1

Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 13, 1, Alice Westerkamp (Auck), 9.77, 2, Brie Bennett (Rag), 7.44, 3
Heat 2
Liv Haysom (Piha), 9.84, 1, Ariana Shewry (Tara), 6, 2, Lydia Hawes (W.C), 5.5, 3

Under 14 Boys Division Round of 40
Heat 1

Benji Lowen (Chch), 11.73, 1, Alex Burnett, 5.63, 2, Akira Reid (Auck), 3.13, 3, Solomon Ryan (Auck), 2.73, 4
Heat 2
Manu Roberts (Tai), 8.83, 1, Ollie Tong (Gis), 6.13, 2, Hunter Lynch (Gis), 5.94, 3, Taylor Mainwaring (WGM), 5.64, 4
Heat 3
Soren Bucka – Christensen (Tara), 1, Beau Fitzgibbon (Waihi Bch), 2, Vitor Kokemper (Mnt), N/S, Milo Livingston (Gis), N/S
Heat 4
Lennox Jennings (Whiti), 7.13, 1, Milo O’Brien (Piha), 6.26, 2, Jacob Walker (Mnt), 3.06, 3, Noah Officer (Auck), 1.90, 4

Under 14 Girls Division Round
Heat 1

Lola Groube (Pau), 9, 1, Stella Arkle (Piha), 6.67, 2, Indi-Lee Ruddell (Whngrei), 5.4, 3, Poppy Arkle (Piha), 3.7, 4
Heat 2
Maya Mateja (Rag), 11.8, 1, India Kennings (WGM), 6.74, 2, Poppy Entwisle (Chch), 6.37, 3, Jess Sinton (Mur), 2.93, 4
Heat 3
Alani Morse (Orewa), 7.4, 1, Ariana Walker (Mnt), 5.13, 2, Luka D’Anvers (Whngrei), 4.6, 3
Heat 4
Chloe Groube (Pau), 10.2, 1, Kyra Wallis (Piha), 6.1, 2, Sacha Sanders (Piha), 3.9, 3, Bonnie Lynch (Gis), 3.37, 4

Under 16 Boys Division Round of 40
Heat 1

James Charlesworth (Auck), 7.70, 1, Eden Mainwaring (WGM), 7.00, 2, Will Lockhart (Whiti), 6.60, 3, Asher O’Donnell (Whngrei), 6.17, 4
Heat 2
Tawhia Wellby (Rag), 8.57, 1, Nate Florence (Tara), 7.40, 2, Eli Livingston (Gis), 7.40, 3, Luke Mitchell (Mnt), 3.53, 4
Heat 3
Rakiatea Tau (Chch), 8.00, 1, Kalani Watts (Tara), 5.47, 2, Tyce Schumacher (Mnt), 4.40, 3, Hugo Sale (Auck), 3.54, 4
Heat 4
Flynn McGregor, 8.43, 1, Evan Broad (HBay), 8.07, 2, Otis Baxter (WGM), 6.16, 3, Jack Sullivan, 2.97, 4

The Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge offers three of nine events nationwide where grommets can take part before the final in May which caters for the top 16 boys and eight girls in the Under 18 and 16 Divisions.

The sixteenth 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 Ricardo Christie (Gis), Paige Hareb (Tara), Billy Stairmand (Rag), Kehu Butler (Mnt) and Ella Williams (WGM).

Further Information
For further information on the 2021 Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

Web clips will be distributed free of charge from each event.  Please contact Ben Kennings for further details.

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, Kustom, Von Zipper and Dakine 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 TikTok.  Follow the series hashtag – #BillabongGromSeries.

Surfing New Zealand is proudly partnered by:

Sport NZ
Skinnies Sun Gel
Water Safety NZ


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