Billabong Grom Series #2
Surfing New Zealand
Whangamata Beach, New Zealand
8 - 9 February 2014
Piha’s Tane Wallis & Auckland’s Gabriella Sansom Claim Wins
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 9 February, 2014 - The second of three events in the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge was wrapped up at Whangamata today (Sunday 9th) with Piha’s Tane Wallis and Auckland’s Gabriella Sansom (Albany) walking away with well received wins in the Under 20 Divisions.
Wallis and Sansom were joined by Kehu Butler (Mnt) and Jasmine Smith (Gis) in the Under 17 Divisions and in the Under 14s, Kehu Butler claiming his second win of the weekend alongside Elin Tawharu (Mnt).
The final day of the event was contested in very small 0.5m swell conditions with light winds making opportunities very limited for all competitors, particularly over the low tide.
Wallis capped off a strong weekend of surfing which started out with a fourth in the Open Men’s Division of the Billabong Pro on Friday. Today he dominated his final in the Under 20 Boys Division scoring 14.0 points out of 20 in the final.
“I felt great throughout the weekend and it was good to start with a fourth in the Open on Friday and then going into the weekend to get this result in small waves is great” said Wallis.
Easily the biggest of the finalists standing at well over 6ft tall, Wallis used his lengthy frame to weave across the small waves. “I have been eating clean and healthy all weekend and thanks to Lifestream I felt really light on my feet out there which was important given the waves were so small.”
Out in the lead with seconds remaining, Wallis along with his opponents were grouped together out the back with a set of waves approaching. Wallis split the peak with runner up Kehu Butler (Mnt), Wallis getting the better of the exchange to post a 7.5 point ride for a well ridden long right hander to extend his lead and secure the win.
Butler who had contested seven heats throughout the day including three finals finished in second place for a highly successful weekend where he competed against guys six years his senior. Mount Maunganui surfer Jordan Griffin placed third in the final after going close to landing some big air reverses in the small conditions while Warertini Wano finished in fourth.
In the Under 20 Girls Division, Auckland surfer Gabriella Sansom burst back into form to claim the title. Looking focussed in the opening stages of the final, Sansom started clocking up good scores before finishing the final with an 5.5 point ride that extended her lead.
“It was good to win today, I don’t know what’s been happening but recently I have been having a bad run of performances so it is good to get a win and boost my confidence” said Sansom who finished equal seventh at the first event of the series held at Mount Maunganui.
Her winning performance was challenged on several occasions by Muriwai surfer Britt Kindred and her own twin sister Bianca who ultimate finished runner up.
“I am not going to sit on my sister to get the win, that would be mean” said Sansom of the chance to block her sister Bianca from getting a last wave and potentially win the final. Kindred finished the final in third place ahead of Raiha Ensor (Mnt) in fourth.
Kehu Butler’s second win of the day came in the Under 17 Division when he fended off a strong challenge from the sole Australian surfer in the event, Nathan Cook. Cook was a stand out all event but it was Butler who made the most of the waves finding small shoulders to get rack up more than the single turn that was the norm of the day. Butler finished with a 12.47 point heat total. Cook finished runner up on 11.8 points ahead of Manu Scott – Arrieta (Sandy Bay) in third and first time finalist Ben McCulloch (Gis) in fourth.
In a hotly contested Under 17 Girls Final it was Jasmine Smith (Gis) that found some excellent form to post her first victory of the Billabong Grom Series scoring 13.50 points out of a possible 20. Smith used her aggressive forehand attack to post wave scores of 7.0 and 6.5.
The win pushed Smith into the lead for the series after sitting in third going into the event. Placing second was Mount Maunganui’s Raiha Ensor scoring 8.90 points. It was Ensor’s best result of the year after placing third in the Under 16 Girls Division at the National Championships at Gisborne. Placing third in the final was double finalist Britt Kindred (Muri) ahead of Abby Falwasser – Logan (Gis) in fourth.
Kehu Butler (Mnt) won his first of two titles in the Under 14 Boys when he posted a 12.17 point heat total to easily make it his second win of the series. Jared Gebert (Ohope) placed second in the final using his smooth flowing style to float across the small flat sections of Whangamata Beach and clock up an 8.9 point heat total. Gebert held off Lee Ririnui who placed third in the final ahead of Shane Kraus (Piha) in fourth.
Elin Tawharu (Mnt) kept her slate clean winning the Under 14 Girl Division backing up her win from the first event of the series. Tawharu, the Under 16 Girls National Champion posted a 12.17 point heat total to defeat Kea Smith (Mnt) who locked in her second consecutive runner up placing. Zhana Hutchieson (Tara) placed third in the final ahead of Grace Pevats (Whangarei) in fourth.
Under 20 Boys Final
Tane Wallis (Piha), 14.0, 1, Kehu Butler (Mnt), 11.63, 2, Jordan Griffin (Mnt), 8.43, 3, Waretini Wano (Piha), 6.3, 4
Under 20 Girls Final
Gabriella Sansom (Auck), 11.5, 1, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 7.63, 2, Britt Kindred (Muri), 7.47, 3, Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 4.2, 4
Under 17 Boys Final
Kehu Butler (Arataki), 12.47, 1, Nathan Cook (Aust), 11.8, 2, Manu Scott-Arrieta (Sandy Bay), 9.0, 3, Ben McCulloch (Gis), 7.9, 4
Under 17 Girls Final
Jasmine Smith (Gis), 13.5, 1, Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 8.9, 2, Britt Kindred (Muri), 7.77, 3, Abby Falwasser - Logan (Gis), 7.30, 4
Under 14 Boys Final
Kehu Butler (Arataki), 12.17, 1, Jared Gebert (Ohope), 8.9, 2, Lee Ririnui (Mnt), 4.23, 3, Shane Kraus (Piha), 3.93, 4
Under 14 Girls Final
Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 12.17, 1, Kea Smith (Mnt), 8.9, 2, Zhana Hutchieson (Waitara), 4.23, 3, Grace Pevats (Whngrei), 3.93, 4