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Whangamata duo claim New Zealand grom event

Dune Kennings © Jereme Aubertin



Billabong Grom Series
Presented by Oceanbridge

Surfing New Zealand
Tay Street, Mount Maunganui New Zealand
1 - 2 February 2014

Dune Kennings and Ella Williams Win Premier Billabong Grom Series Divisions

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 2 February, 2014 - Whangamata duo Dune Kennings and Ella Williams claimed the coveted Under 20 Divisions at the first event of the Billabong Grom Series completed at Tay Street, Mount Maunganui.

After the cyclone swell built all Saturday, the final day of the event dawned to perfect 1.0m waves that decreased throughout the day as the sea breeze hacked into the early pristine conditions.

Dune Kennings by his own admission never completely found his feet at the event but did post 12.37 points out of a possible 20 in the final to claim the victory. “My game plan in the final was to go out and get a quick start because it was pretty small, barely 2ft, and as it turned out my best wave was my first wave” said Kennings still dripping wet after the final.  

“Everyone has been ripping all weekend and there were some tough heats, I managed to scrape through a few and it is good to come away with a win especially given I was out of the water for nine weeks at the end of last year” added Kennings.  

Kennings backed up his title he won in the Under 18 Boys Division at the National Championships two weeks ago getting his year off to a perfect start.

Placing second in the final was Tane Wallis (Piha) who had one final dig at the win on his last wave but fell a couple of points short with a 4.87 requiring a 7.38 point ride.  Wallis had been the form surfer all event and excelled late on day one when the surf got to 2.0m.  Placing third in the final was Mackenzie Christie (Mnt) ahead of Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata) in fourth.

Going into the Under 20 Girls Division as heavy favourite, Ella Williams lived up to expectations with a strong win in the final.  Williams left her opponents requiring excellent scores to catch her, a hard task given the challenging conditions.

“Nothing is easy, competition was pretty hard this weekend and in the final the waves were pretty hard so it was a case of making the most of what was there, it worked out well in the end” said Williams who is off to Australia on Tuesday to compete at several international events.  

“It was good to get some practice in this weekend and it somewhat makes up for the Nationals when I lost in the semis” added Williams.  

Ella Williams © Jereme Aubertin


Placing second in the final was Bianca Sansom (Auck) ahead of Claudia Fraser (Piha) in third and first time finalist Celeste Calway (Waihi Beach) in fourth. 

The Under 17 Boys Division final was thrown into disarray in the first five minutes when Daniel Farr (Tara) was deemed to have interfered with his opponents and incurred an interference.  In what turned out to be the closest final of the day it was Farr that fought back to beat his opponents with a 9.42 point heat total, comprising a 6.5 and 5.83 point rides, his second being cut in half due to the interference. Fellow Taranaki surfer Isaac Kettle went close to securing the win with some sharp surfing midway through the heat before Farr came back on his last wave.  

Kettle finished second ahead of Manu Scott – Arrieta (Sandy Bay) in third and Harry Macintosh (Waiheke Island) in fourth.

Kea Smith (Mnt) went one better than her result in the Under 14 Girls Division with a win in the Under 17 Girls final scoring 10.37 out of a possible 20 points for victory.  Smith latched on to one left hander that she completed two clean backhand turns on for a 6.83 point ride, easily the best of the final.  Smith defeated Claudia Fraser (Piha) who laced second ahead of Under 18 Girls National Champion Jasmine Smith (Gis) in third and Abby Falwasser – Logan (Gis) in fourth.

Kehu Butler continued his winning streak in the Under 14 Boys Division making it two from two wins this year.  Butler easily won the final with an 11.77 point heat total, his top two waves besting the scores of all other surfers in the final.  Taranaki surfer Joel Clegg produced his best national result placing second in the final ahead of Shane Kraus (Piha) in third and Lee Ririnui (Mnt) in fourth.

Elin Tawharu backed up her National Championships win with another victory in the Under 14 Girls Division defeating Kea Smith (Mnt), Tiana Breeze de Mooj (Mnt) and Zhana Hutchieson (Waitara) in the final.

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.  

Please see below for final results from the Billabong Grom Series event one completed at Tay Street Mount Maunganui today (Sunday 2nd February).

Under 20 Men’s Final
Dune Kennings (Whmata), 12.37, 1,
Tane Wallis (Piha), 9.87, 2,
Mackenzie Christie (Tau), 7.87, 3,
Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata), 4.77, 4

Under 17 Boys Finals
Daniel Farr (Tara), 9.42, 1,
Isaac Kettle (Tara), 8.43, 2,
Manu Scott-Arrieta (Sandy Bay), 8.3, 3,
Harry Macintosh (Auck), 7.53, 4

Under 14 Boys Final
Kehu Butler (Arataki), 11.77, 1,
Joel Clegg (Tara), 7.3, 2,
Shane Kraus (Piha), 7.33, 3,
Lee Ririnui (Mnt), 8.47, 4

Under 20 Women’s Final
Ella Williams (WGM), 11.5, 1,
Bianca Sansom (Auck), 7.07, 2,
Claudia Fraser (Piha), 6.33, 3,
Celeste Calway (Waihi Bch), 4.10, 4

Under 17 Girls Final
Kea Smith (Arataki), 10.37, 1,
Claudia Fraser (Auck), 8.73, 2,
Jasmine Smith (Gis), 8.43, 3,
Abby Falwasser - Logan (Gis), 4.77, 4

Under 14 Girls Final
Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 11.83, 1,
Kea Smith (Mnt), 7.83, 2,
Tiana Breeze - de Mooij (Mnt), 5.77, 3,
Zhana Hutchieson (Waitara), 5.1, 4

Ben Kennings

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