In a packed out Mount Maunganui, the top Kiwi groms from around the country kicked off the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge at Tay Street today (Saturday 26th January).

The action was quick to fire up in the clean waves of up to 1.0m that were groomed by offshore winds.  The Under 18 Boys Division was surfed through to the final four participants, three of which have carried their form on from the National Championships completed only two weeks ago.

Ohope surfer Jack Lee finished third in Taranaki two weeks ago but today found himself in fine form with the small conditions which he likened to his home break at West End.

“Similar conditions to those at home and it has been this size most of summer so all that practice has helped” said a confident Lee.

“I took a bit of a different approach compared to the Nationals because of the size of the swell today, just trying to get speed on the little waves and find the best waves in my heats.”

“I was nervous going up against my mate Luis (Southerwood) today because I surf with him all the time and also Thomas (Carter) because he is used to these kinds of waves living at Waihi Beach so I was happy to make that semifinal heat” he added.

Lee goes into the final tomorrow against Carter as well as local surfer Luke Griffin who looked sharp in the small waves and new national champion Caleb Cutmore (Ham) who also attacked the small waves with venom.

Taranaki surfer Tom Butland carried his form through to the first event of the series advancing into the semifinals of the Under 16 Boys Division.  Winning in big surf at his local break was a stark contrast to the conditions today and the short 15 minute heats, something that didn’t appear to have an effect on the powerful surfer.

“It is fun when they come through, it is just a little slow, I guess it is hard unless you get one at the start but I got a seven at the start so I had time on my hands” said Butland.

“The 15 minute heats are made easier with priority being used because there is less hassling.  The short heats don’t really bother me to be honest” he added.

Butland will face off against local surfer Jack Hinton in the semifinals early on Sunday, Hinton surfing to the highest heat score of the quarterfinals – 12.94 out of 20.  Together they are joined by Dunedin’s Luke Rogers and Josef Jungwirth (Rag).

The second semifinal sees Jacob Saunders (Mnt) take on Jayden Willoughby (Rag), Tom Robinson (Whangarei) and Finn Vette (Gis).

Raglan’s Brie Bennett asserted her dominance on the Under 16 Girls Division advancing to the final in a bid to make up for her runner up finish at the National Championships.

Bennett posted a 14.3 point heat total in her semifinal, the highest of the female surfers on day one.  Bennett will contest the final against Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) who defeated her at the National Championships along with Ava Henderson (Chch) and Hannah King (Gis).

The Under 14 Boys Division surfed late in the day with standouts including Navryn Malone (Rag), Jack McKenzie (Chch), Tigher West-Hill (Gis) and Tao Mouldey (Mnt).

Action takes place at Tay Street, Mount Maunganui from 8am on Sunday with finals expected to hit the water from 1:00pm. The surf is expected to fade on Sunday with offshore winds forecasted to remain all day.

Please see below for results from day one of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge Event 1 held at Tay Street, Mount Maunganui today (Saturday 26th January 2019).

Under 18 Boys Division Round 1
Heat 1

Jack Lee (Whaka), 16.16, 1, Luke Griffin (Mnt), 12.64, 2, Jack Rosewarne (Ham), 7.27, 3, Alex Laurenson (Wgtn), 2.8, 4
Heat 2
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 14.44, 1, Alex O’Dwyer (Whaka), 7.26, 2, William Van der Beek (Mnt), 4.43, 3
Heat 3
Thomas Carter (Waihi Bch), 13.43, 1, Luis Southwood (Whaka), 9.93, 2, Taylor O’Leary (Mur), 9.67, 3, Liam McCardle (Wgtn), 5.74, 4

Under 18 Boys Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Luke Griffin (Mnt), 12.83, 1, Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 12.33, 2, Alex O’Dwyer (Whaka), 9.33, 3
Heat 2
Jack Lee (Whaka), 12.77, 1, Thomas Carter (Waihi Bch), 10.27, 2, Luis Southwood (Whaka), 8.24, 3

Under 16 Boys Division Round 1
Heat 1
Jack Hinton (Mnt), 11.17, 1, Lennox McBride (Mnt), 5.37, 2, Ben Storey (Rag), 3.54, 3, Jye Reid (Mnt), 2.63, 4
Heat 2
Kora Cooper (Rag), 12, 1, Jack Luke (Tara), 9.1, 2, Jai Wallis (Piha), 5.77, 3, Robert Coutanche-Gould (Auck), 1.13, 4
Heat 3
Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 10.9, 1, Luke Rogers (Dun), 9.56, 2, Reef Newdick (Mnt), 8.1, 3, Jess Ford (WGM), 3.44, 4
Heat 4
Tom Butland (Tara), 10.66, 1, Harper McBride (Mnt), 6.27, 2, Sam Thompson (Auck), 4.76, 3, Josh Watson (Mor), 4.23, 4
Heat 5
Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 14.57, 1, Sonny Eades (Mnt), 6.47, 2, Connor Van Der Pol (Mnt), 6.34, 3, Jarvis Camenzind (Raglan), 5.5, 4
Heat 6
Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 14.43, 1, Jacob Buckle (Whngrei), 9.34, 2, Hue Cowie (Gis), 5.4, 3, Keelan Wood (Piha), 2, 4
Heat 7
Finn Vette (Gis), 9.4, 1, Ollie Holland (Rag), 8.23, 2, Mitchell Dalley (Mnt), 7.86, 3, Isaac Klein – Ovink (Auck), 7.03, 4
Heat 8
Jacob Saunders (TGA), 13.67, 1, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Sandy Bay), 8.93, 2, Kobey Gregory (Aus), 6.97, 3, Sam Baxter (WGM), 4.63, 4

Under 16 Boys Division Quargerfinals
Heat 1

Jack Hinton (Mnt), 12.94, 1, Luke Rogers (Dun), 10.26, 2, Kora Cooper (Rag), 9.3, 3, Harper McBride (Mnt), 4, 4
Heat 2
Tom Butland (Tara), 10.73, 1, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 9.5, 2, Lennox McBride (Mnt), 8.7, 3, Jack Luke (Tara), 7.7, 4
Heat 3
Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 12.77, 1, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 11.04, 2, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Sandy Bay), 8.13, 3, Ollie Holland (Rag), 5.34, 4
Heat 4
Finn Vette (Gis), 12.8, 1, Jacob Saunders (TGA), 12.67, 2, Jacob Buckle (Whngrei), 7.43, 3, Sonny Eades (Mnt), 5.3, 4

Under 14 Boys Division Round 1
Heat 1

William Blair (TGA), 7.12, 1, Ashton Rogers (WGM), 4.80, 2, Leo Hobson (Auck), 4.44, 3, Charlie Harris (Mnt), 3.40, 4
Heat 2
Eden Mainwaring (WGM), 8.17, 1, Milo Livingston (Gis), 7.70, 2, Rocco Gillies (WGM), 5.90, 3, Levi Waller (Pauanui), 3.50, 4
Heat 3
Tyler Stenzel (Mnt), 12.17, 1, Tava Santorik (Mnt), 11.00, 2, Kahu Ruru (Gis), 6.93, 3, Harley Waller (Pau), 4.80, 4
Heat 4
Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 12.16, 1, PJ Klein Ovink (Auck), 7.37, 2, Lachie Cruikshank (Auck), 4.57, 3, Taylor Mainwaring (WGM), 3.07, 4

Under 18 Girls Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 1, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 2
Heat 2
Gabrielle Paul (Auck), 11.90, 1, Baylin Klein Ovink (Auck), 6.90, 2, Tia Ngarimu (Whiti), 3.44, 3

Under 16 Girls Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Ava Henderson (Chch), 12.9, 1, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 9.97, 2, Alice Westerkamp (Auck), 9.1, 3, Daizee Rawles (Gis), 4.94, 4
Heat 2
Brie Bennett (Rag), 14.34, 1, Hannah King (Gis), 8.57, 2, Liv Haysom (Piha), 5.37, 3, Summer Carkeek (Auck), 5.13, 4

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 have been a proud long-time supporter of surfing in New Zealand.

Entry into the two remaining Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge events can be completed here:

Event 2 – 9 – 10 February, Whangamata
Event 3 – 23 – 24 February, Piha Beach, Auckland

Further Information
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 benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

Imagery
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.

Partners
Generous support from Billabong, presenting sponsors Oceanbridge, Kustom, Da Kine, Von Zipper and Amazon Surf has made this series possible.

Thanks to Bay 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:

Sport NZ
SunSmart
Water Safety NZ

Ends