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Top Kiwi juniors fight for GromSearch Final spots

Kehu Butler © Cory / NZ Surfing Magazine



Team Updates

Indonesia beckons for top Rip Curl GromSearch surfers

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 24 April, 2014 - Two of New Zealand’s best junior surfers will be jetting their way to Indonesia after this weekend when the New Zealand version of the Rip Curl GromSearch makes a return to Taranaki waters.

The Rip Curl GromSearch is being held at Fitzroy Beach, New Plymouth on the 26th – 27th April and is part of the New Zealand Home Loans NZ Surf Festival.  The winners* of the Under 17 Boys and Girls Divisions win an entry to compete in the international GromSearch final to be held at Lakey Peak, Sumbawa in less than one months’ time.

The lure of a trip to the tropics has brought out over 100 of New Zealand’s elite young surfers who will contest the event comprising six divisions from Under 12 through to Under 17 for boys and girls.

Fresh back from the International Surfing Association World Junior Championships in Ecuador will be eight of the country’s top surfers including Kehu Butler (Mnt) who placed seventh at the event just over a week ago – New Zealand’s highest placing at the event.

Butler is surfing up an age group in order to qualify for the trip to Indonesia.  He was one of the stars of the recent World Champs and with two years left in the same division has high expectations for a medal in the next 24 months.

Butler will be joined by local surfer and current Under 17 Boys ratings leader Daniel Farr who was a team mate with Butler in Ecuador.  Also, current national champion Jonas Tawharu (Mnt) and Manu Scott – Arrieta (Sandy Bay) who both attend the event in Ecuador will be present this weekend.

While the four representatives will be the ones to watch, you cannot discount the likes of Isaac Kettle, a local New Plymouth surfer who regularly surfers at Fitzroy Beach and has made several national finals this year or a number of other groms who have been within reach of making finals placings all summer.

This weekend’s event also sees a big contingent of Christchurch surfers with a dozen young groms heading north.  They will be led by the likes of Jack Wilson and Sam Sands who have frequented events in the North Island on several occasions this season. 

But also watch out for the some of the youngest of surfers like Jai Oakley in the Under 12 Boys Division, a surfer who has been dominating his opponents at events in the South Island.

The Under 17 Girls Division is potentially the most-wide open of all divisions with several top young surfers looking to win the honour of competing in Indonesia.

Current runner up in the Under 17 Girls Division is Raiha Ensor (Mnt) who showed some outstanding courage at the most recent junior event held at Piha, the type of courage that would be needed in the waves at Indonesia. 

She is joined by several national representatives such as Jasmine Smith (Gis), Britt Kindred (Mur), Kea Smith (Mnt) and Elin Tawharu (Mnt) who will all be in search of a win this weekend at Fitzroy Beach.

With the looming Association of Surfing Professionals Australasian Pro Junior event which starts on Tuesday, the GromSearch has also attracted Australian entrants that will be contesting the girls divisions to keep the Kiwi girls on their toes.

The Rip Curl GromSearch sees the addition of boys and girls Under 12 Divisions which have attracted high entries.  Many of these surfers have been competing in the Under 14 Divisions all season but will now get their chance to compete in a younger age group.

Action will take place from 8:00am – 4:00pm daily on Saturday and Sunday at Fitzroy Beach.

*Entry into the international Rip Curl GromSearch final is for New Zealand citizens only.

See below for top five surfers on the ratings for the Boys and Girls Under 14 and Under 17 Divisions on the New Zealand Grom Series.

Under 17 Boys Division Top 5
1, Daniel Farr (Tara)
2, Kehu Butler (Arataki)
3, Isaac Kettle (Tara)
4, Manu Scott-Arrieta (Sandy Bay)
5, Harrison Whiteside (ChCh)

Under 14 Boys Division Top 5
1, Kehu Butler (Arataki)
2, Lee Ririnui (Mnt)
3, Jared Gebert (Ohope)
4, Shane Kraus (Piha)
5, James Ririnui (Mnt)

Under 17 Girls Division Top 5
1, Jasmine Smith (Gis)
2, Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
3, Kea Smith (Arataki)
4, Claudia Fraser (Auck)
5, Britt Kindred (Muri)

Under 14 Boys Division Top 5
1, Elin Tawharu (Mnt)
2, Kea Smith (Mnt)
3, Zhana Hutchieson (Waitara)
4, Tiana - Breeze de Mooij (Mnt)
5, Grace Pevats (Whngrei)

Ben Kennings

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