The Kaikoura Grom Comp kicked off today (Saturday 3rd October) with the junior event attracting a huge field of surfers and bringing together families from all over New Zealand.
The solid swell that ran up the coast all week finally dissipated overnight leaving only a small swell of under 1.0m to start the event. However, under sunny skies and barely a breath of wind, conditions were great over the low tide during the middle of the day. Two arenas were contested to progress through the preliminary rounds and set up the final day of action on Sunday.
Early standouts that advanced to the quarterfinals of the Under 18 Boys Division included number one seed and current Grom Series rankings leader, Luis Southerwood (Whaka). Southerwood posted the highest heat score of the day on the main podium – 16.17 points out of a total of 20.
“I haven’t surfed a heat in quite a few months. I had jitters all last night and even the week leading into this event but as soon as I got my first wave, it all went away” said a happy Southerwood.
“I am pretty focussed on this event and trying to finish the Grom Series on a high then go straight into the Scholastics and do my best. I just want to surf as many heats as I can while I am down here”.
Southerwood was joined by his Bay of Plenty Scholastics team mates Jack Hinton and Jacob Saunders who also advanced through their heats while Dunedin’s Luke Rogers and James Millar (Chch) took wins for the South Island.
Late in the day with the tide pushing in, it was decided to hold off the quarterfinals of the Under 18 Boys Division.
The South Island grommets dominated the Under 16 Boys Division with James Millar (Chch), Jai Oakley (Chch), Tyler Perry (Kaik), Jack McKenzie (Chch) and Tom Robertson (Chch) all winning their heats to advance through to the quarterfinals. McKenzie top scored in the round with an 11.7 point heat total. Quarterfinal match ups were taking place late this afternoon.
Ava Henderson carried out double duty in the Under 18s and 16s with the highest heat totals of the girls as she advanced through to the semifinals.
“The surf isn’t too bad, it has a bit of power and being from Christchurch, you are used to this stuff. I have enjoyed watching the girls heats today too. Leia Millar has been surfing really well and Liv Haysom smashed her heat too, plus heaps of others did really well” said Henderson.
Henderson was followed closely by Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) who also had two wins. Both surfers will be eyeing this event as a build up to the Scholastic Championships taking place next week.
On the second podium, the Under 14 and Under 12 Divisions progressed through a number of heats with the conditions much more suited to the light weights.
Christchurch surfer Benji Lowen continued his good form with a 16.67 point heat total in the Under 12 Boys Division. Lowen is fresh off a win in the Primary School Championships last weekend and his small wave flare stood out in today’s conditions. Lowen was joined Sonny Lyons (Kaik), Indica Corcoran (Mnt) and Sev Tolhurst as winners in the first round.
Auckland’s Leia Millar advanced through the early rounds of the Under 14 Girls Division with some impressive surfing. One of her top rivals, and current rankings leader, Chloe Groube also advanced with the Pauanui surfer and her sister, Lola, impressing in the Under 12 Division also.
The event continued to roll through rounds late this afternoon in a bid to get through to the semifinals of every division for the final day.
Conditions will be assessed at first light on Sunday before making a call on the day’s location and order of events.
The Kaikoura Grom Comp is the fifth and final event of the New Zealand Grom Series for all but the Under 16 Boys Division and also doubles as the final event of the South Island Grom Series.
For further information on the 2020 Kaikoura Grom Comp please contact Mark O’Malley on 021 2075177.
High resolution action images of the surfing will be available to media free of charge.
The 2020 edition of the Kaikoura Grom Comp would not be possible without the support of You Travel Ferrymead, South Island Surfing Association and Kaikoura Boardriders.
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Author: Ben Kennings