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Grom Showdown: Wallis & Sansom take Kiwi honors

Elin Tawharu took the Under 14 Girls win © PhotoCPL



Billabong Grom Series

Surfing New Zealand
Piha, New Zealand
1 - 2 March 2014

Kennings and Smith Clinch Event Wins But Series Goes To Wallis and Sansom

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 2 March, 2014 - The ultimate showdown of the final event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge went down in solid 1.5m – 2.0m waves at Auckland’s Piha Beach today.

It was Dune Kennings (WGM) that claimed the Under 20 Men’s Division late in the afternoon.  Despite the win today and winning the first event of the series, Kennings could not top Tane Wallis (Piha) who took out the overall series by finishing second in todays final.

“Yeah I am stoked to get another win today” said Kennings reflecting on the final.  “I was lucky to find the waves out there and it was a good way to finish the Billabong Grom Series despite not winning overall” he added.

Kennings finished with a 13.87 point heat total after surfing two waves in the first ten minutes of the final.  Kennings then got caught inside and almost washed around Lion Rock before making it to shore and running back around to try and get another wave.  “I didn’t even get another wave after the first ten minutes and I was pretty tired after that run, lucky I got my two waves quick which paid off in the end” he said.    

Kennings heads to Australia this week to train before heading to Ecuador with the New Zealand Junior Surfing Team at the end of the month.  “I am looking forward to the worlds and hopefully I get a good result overseas this year.”

Tane Wallis finished the final in second place to go along with his runner up at the first event and a win at the second event.  Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata) placed third in the final ahead of Sean Kettle (Tara) in fourth.

Jasmine Smith (Gis) surfed a total of four heats today competing in two finals and ultimately winning the Under 20 Girls Division.   

“All those heats and ‘run-arounds’ made me tired but I enjoy big waves and it makes it more interesting to watch for everyone so I am happy to come away with the win today” said Smith who battled away to score a 6.03 point heat total in the final.

Smith switches focus this week as she prepares for the National Surf Life Saving Championships at Ohope next weekend.  She will then train for three weeks before heading to Ecuador with the New Zealand Junior Surfing Team.

Placing second in the final today was another double finalist in Kea Smith (Mnt).  Third went to Indica Ratima (Rag) with Gabriella Sansom (Auck) in fourth. Despite getting eliminated in the first round of the event this weekend, Bianca Sansom (Auck) did enough to claim the series for the Under 20 Girls Division.

Daniel Farr (Tara) secured his second win of the series and in doing so won the overall series for the Under 17 Boys Division after going into the final event in third place.  

Farr looked impressive all weekend long, obviously comfortable in the big waves on offer at Piha Beach.  Farr easily won with a 10.20 point heat total defeating fellow Taranaki surfer Isaac Kettle who claimed his second runner up placing of the series.  Christchurch surfer Harrison Whiteside finished in third place ahead of Kehu Butler (Mnt) in fourth.

Raiha Ensor (Mnt) continued her rise up the ranks throughout this series to claim a well-deserved win in the Under 17 Girls Division.  After missing the final in the first event of the series, Ensor finished runner up at the second event at Whangamata before claiming the win at Piha with a 9.27 point heat total in the final today.  The win was enough to elevate Ensor to second on the ratings behind winner Jasmine Smith (Gis) who finished runner up.  Kea Smith finished the event in third place today ahead of Milly Crewe (Mur) in fourth.

Kehu Butler (Mnt) completed a sweep of wins in the Under 14 Boys Division this weekend after dominating his opponents over the full tide when the surfers opted to surf the infamous ‘ditch.’  Butler was unstoppable racking up a 12.77 point heat total in the final to beat the Ririnui brothers Lee and James of Mount Maunganui who finished second and third respectively with local surfer Shane Kraus finishing in fourth.

Elin Tawharu (Mnt) also made it a clean sweep in the Under 14 Girls Division winning all three events in the series.  The newly named national representative ousted Kea Smith (Mnt) from the win at the final event.  Smith opted to surf out the back in the large surf but could not find a wave that allowed any turns, her commitment still enough to secure second place ahead of Gabrielle Paul (Piha) and Zhana Hutchieson (Tara) who finished third and fourth respectively.

Billabong Grom Series pres by Oceanbridge Champions
Under 20 Boys – Tane Wallis (Piha)
Under 20 Girls – Bianca Sansom (Auck)
Under 17 Boys – Daniel Farr (Tara)
Under 17 Girls – Jasmine Smith (Gis)
Under 14 Boys – Kehu Butler (Mnt)
Under 14 Girls – Elin Tawharu (Mnt)

Under 20 Boys Final
Dune Kennings (Whmata), 13.87, 1, Tane Wallis (Piha), 10.83, 2, Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata), 8.9, 3, Sean Kettle (Tara), 8.0, 4

Under 20 Girls Final
Jasmine Smith (Gis), 6.03, 1, Kea Smith (Mnt), 4.17, 2, Indica Ratima (Rag), 3.6, 3,Gabriella Sansom (Auck), 2.97, 4

Under 17 Boys Final
Daniel Farr (Tara), 10.17, 1, Isaac Kettle (Tara), 7.93, 2, Harrison Whiteside (ChCh), 5.7, 3, Kehu Butler (Arataki), 5.57, 4

Under 17 Girls Final
Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 9.27, 1, Jasmine Smith (Gis), 6.67, 2, Kea Smith (Arataki), 5.9, 3, Milly Crewe (Muri), 0, 4

Under 14 Boys Final
Kehu Butler (Arataki), 12.77, 1, Lee Ririnui (Mnt), 8.13, 2, James Ririnui (Mnt), 7.5, 3, Shane Kraus (Piha), 6.33, 4

Under 14 Girls Final
Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 6.53, 1, Kea Smith (Mnt), 5.07, 2, Gabrielle Paul (Piha), 3.33, 3, Zhana Hutchieson (Waitara), 2.83, 4

Ben Kennings

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