Billabong Grom Series Event 1
Presented by Oceanbridge
Surfing New Zealand
Tay Street, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
1 - 2 February, 2014
Big Day of Surfing In Building Cyclone Swell
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 1 February, 2014 - Big Day of Surfing Rings In 2014 Billabong Grom Series In Building Cyclone Swell Much of day one of the first event in the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge was played out in manageable surf with the younger divisions capitalising on the conditions before the Under 20 Boys Division were sent out at the end of the day as the swell built significantly. What started out as clean 0.5m – 1.0m waves early this morning soon built to 1.5m – 2.0m swells which were accompanied by strong cross shore winds.
Local surfer Maaia Reid – Bennett dominated the Under 17 Girls Division in Round 1 with a comprehensive heat win scoring 13.20 out of a possible 20 points. Reid – Bennett, who comes from a strong surfing family, posted the highest heat score of the round and was happy to start the event well after what she described as a bad start to the year at the National Champs. “It is good to surf at home, I didn’t do well at the Nationals in Gisborne so I want to make sure I do well here at home” said Reid - Bennett.
“It was real fun today. I was just trying to stay in that right spot and get the right handers but there was a bit of a current so it was hard to get the good ones” she added. Reid – Bennett surfs with a well-documented swag of young Mount Maunganui girls at the forefront of junior surfing in New Zealand. And today was no different than any other with her counterparts all progressing through to the semifinals of their respective divisions.
“We are all real competitive with each other, we surf together all the time but we are still competitive in the water and always mates on land” added Reid – Bennett who was joined by Kea Smith, Tiana Breeze de Mooj and Raiha Ensor as the Mount Maunganui based girls progressing through to the semifinals. In the Under 17 Boys Division it was another Mount Maunganui surfer that impressed top scoring for the round with 14.0 point heat total.
Butler is contesting two divisions this weekend being the Under 14 and Under 17 Boys, winning both heats today. Also surfing well in the Under 17 Boys Division was Waiheke Island’s resident surfer Harry Macintosh. Macintosh posted a 10.23 point heat total to win his heat over Daniel Farr (Tara) who progressed in second eliminating Gabriel Pitanoe (Tara) and Jack McLaren (Mnt).
“It was good, there were a few rights around, the wind has come up a bit but it looks like has gone more offshore again and the surf has built all day, there are some decent ones now” said Macintosh post heat and less than half an hour before he entered the water again for his heat in the Under 20 Men’s Division. Macintosh will return to Raglan next week where he will start his second year attending the Raglan Surfing Academy before heading back to Waiheke Island to attend his final year of school in Auckland.
Although not renown for good waves Macintosh reckons there are still some good waves on the Island that are well worth keeping under wraps. Also advancing to the quarterfinals of the Under 17 Boys Division were Jared Gebert (Ohope), Taylor Hutchison (Raglan) and Riccardo Lucibella (Tara). Late in the day as the swell built toward 2.0m the Under 20 Boys Division was contested in solid waves. Late entrant Elliot Paerata – Reid (Piha), smashed his opponents in the round of 32 scoring 15.87 out of a possible 20 points.
Paerata – Reid is fresh back from a trip to Hawaii and a career best runner-up finish in the first Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Australasia Pro Junior event held at Bells Beach, Australia. Also winning the early heats in the first round were Waretini Wano (Piha), Harrison Whiteside (Chch) and Josh Taylor (Mnt). It is the ten year anniversary of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge which comprises Under 20’s, Under 17’s and Under 14’s.
The series of events acts as a platform for New Zealand’s best surfers to ready themselves for international competition. However, the series is also an entry point for many young surfers who make the step up from surfing at their home break and perhaps competing at a club level. The swell is expected to peak overnight before dropping throughout Sunday, the final day of the event. Competition is expected to start as early as 7:30am on Sunday with another massive day of surfing required to complete the event.