Small swell set to kick off first event of the 2024 Billabong Grom Series

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For immediate release

23rd January 2024

From:  Surfing New Zealand
Sport: Surfing
Event: 2024 Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge
Location: Tay Street, Mount Maunganui
Event Info: Surfing New Zealand and Billabong

Small swell set to kick off first event of the 2024 Billabong Grom Series

Freshly crowned National Champions, eager groms and local hopefuls are among the many young surfers taking part in the sold-out first event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge being held at Mount Maunganui this weekend.

The first of the three most popular events in the country take place at Tay Street with the series carrying on to Whangamata (10-11 February) and Piha at the end of February (24-25 February).

With most of the top junior surfers available to compete, the action is expected to be as impressive as ever as kiwi groms battle it out to be the champion of the Billabong Grom Series.

To date newly crowned Boys Under 18 National Champion Taimana Marupo (Mnt) who was surfing up a division has not entered the event after stunning the field on his debut in Dunedin. Ohope surfer Tai Murphy, however, will be attending and is ready to settle the score after his second-place finish at the Nationals. Spencer Rowson (Tara) who placed fourth at the weeklong event will also be in attendance looking to repeat his Billabong Grom Series performances in 2023 of a 1st 2nd and 1st to make the New Zealand Junior team again in 2024.

In his way will be a group of talented young surfers including, Theo Morse (Rag), Tao Mouldey (Mnt), Søren Bucka-Christensen (Tara) and Tava Santorik (Pap). Will Hardie of Piha looks to return to competition after an injury break and Rico Haybittle who resides in Australia will travel from across the ditch to take on his kiwi counterparts.

In the hotly contested Under 16 boys it will be double finalist Alexis Owen of Dunedin who will be looking to improve on his 2nd place finish at the event in 2023. With both Tao Mouldey and Theo Morse moving up a division to the Under 18s the way is paved for a new wave of talented grommets.

The long-range weather forecast shows a change in weather patterns that will give the groms a weekend of small waves. Days of strong East/North East winds and swell along the Bay of Plenty coastline are expected to pave the way to this weekend which will see the swell get to around 1.0m with variables and light onshore seabreeze winds predicted.

At the time of writing the Under 18 Girls Division will be absent of new National Champion Leia Millar (Piha).  However, her counterparts will be looking to make up some ground on the rankings including Pia Rogers (WGM) who finished in second place at the Nationals, Sophia Brock (Mnt) who finished in third will also be attending the event looking for a win on her home turf.

In the stacked Under 14 divisions, it is freshly crowned Under 14 Champion Sol Fritchley looking for another title, coming off an outstanding performance in Dunedin. Bay Grom Vitor Bauermann, Kentaro Mitchell of Ahipara and Zac Becroft (Piha) will also be hot on his heels looking for redemption after an outstanding Nationals Campaign.

In the girls division we will see a young crop of surfers moving into the event with Millie Dyck (Mnt), Vivi Myer (WGM), Jade Phillips (ABC), Ella Withers (Piha) and Jayda Bramley (Mnt) just some of the young ladies amped to be heading to the friendly waves of Mount Maunganui.

The Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge 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 will also be teaming up for the boardrider clubs with the top five surfers results from each club going toward overall club rankings at the event.

The 2024 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).

It is the nineteenth year that Billabong has sponsored the series in partnership with Oceanbridge who have been a proud long-time supporter of junior surfing in New Zealand.

Action takes place at Tay Street, Mount Maunganui from 8am until late afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday.  Live scoring can be viewed at Liveheats.com/SurfingNewZealand.

Further Information
For further information on the 2024 Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

Imagery
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.

Partners
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.

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