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New Zealand grom series enjoys bump in swell at Whangamata

Jonas Tawharu © InTheDrink



Billabong Grom Series Event 2

Surfing New Zealand
Whangamata, New Zealand
13 - 14 February 2016

Swell fills to stoke the groms at Whangamata

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 13 February, 2016 - Whangamata turned on a stunning first day for the second event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge today with another full field of surfers from throughout the country enjoying themselves in the surf.

A massive 34 heats were contested today in the clean swell that built up toward the 1.0m mark at Coromandel’s premier holiday destination.  Light sea breeze winds prevailed throughout the day making for favourable surface conditions.

Mount Maunganui surfer Jonas Tawharu set the standard in the afternoon heats of the Under 17 Boys Division.  Tawharu won the first event of the series and often frequents Whangamata when the swells are right.  His affiliation with Whangamata showed as he dominated the beach break surfing to the division-high 13.73 points out of a possible 20 points trouncing his younger opponents.

Tawharu moved through to the semifinals of the Under 17 Boys Division.

Local surfer Dylan Preston also found his best form of the season winning his quarterfinal match up to advance to the semifinals where he will face standout Tawharu.  Preston posted a 12.93 point heat total to advance alongside Luke Griffin (Mnt).  He will press hard to better his season best seventh placing on the final day of the event.

Other heat winners in the Under 17 Boys Quarterfinals included Caleb Cutmore (Ham) and Lee Ririnui (Mnt).

Late in the afternoon the Under 14 Boys Division enjoyed a lift in the swell with consistent waves hitting the outside banks on the lower tide and it was Lee’s younger brother James Ririnui that came to the fore.  The long running right-handers were the perfect platform for Ririnui who surfed to a 14.10 point heat total to advance through to the semifinals.  Ririnui completed some big turns on his forehand connecting multiple sections for the highest heat total of the round.

Ririnui was closely followed by the winner of the first event in the Billabong Grom Series, Finn Johnson (Gis).  Johnson posted a 10.83 point heat total to advance as did Whakatane up-and-comer Jack Lee who posted a 13.0 point heat total in the final heat of the day.

Winner of the Under 17 Girls Division at the first event, Raiha Ensor (Mnt) completed a big forehand layback hack in her heat in the first round of the Under 17 Girls Division that caught the attention of everyone on the beach, including the judges who awarded her a 7.33 point ride.  She finished with a 13.97 point heat total, the highest of the round.  Ensor advanced through to the semifinals alongside Billie Scott (Whangarei) who placed second. 

Zhana Hutchieson (Tara), Elin Tawharu (Mnt) and Kai Woolfe (Gis) also won their quarterfinal match ups to advance to the second day of the event.

The Under 20 Boys and Girls Divisions as well as the Under 14 Girls Division were held over until Sunday when the surf is expected to increase up to 1.5m with onshore easterly winds also increasing.  Action on day two of the event will commence at 8:00am with the finals being contested from 2:00pm.

Ben Kennings

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