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Gabriella Sansom & Andrew Fraser top Kiwi groms today

Andrew Fraser © InTheDrink




Billabong Grom Series

Surfing New Zealand
Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
30 - 31 January 2016

Tauranga Surfer Andrew Fraser – McKenzie Claims First Ever Final

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 31 January, 2016 - Tauranga surfer Andrew Fraser - McKenzie claimed his first Billabong Grom Series win at Mount Maunganui today alongside Albany surfer Gabriella Sansom as the two winners of the premier Under 20 Divisions.

The first of three events in the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge was completed in small waves of less than 1.0m and onshore winds at Tay Street, Mount Maunganui today (Sunday 31st January).

Fraser McKenzie battled the final with all four surfers locking in one good ride each but it was Fraser McKenzie that went to the sky with a clean frontside air reverse for a 5.93 point ride and a late lead change that he held until the final hooter.

“That was my first final ever and my first win” said an almost speechless Fraser - McKenzie.  “I didn’t even know I was in the lead but that air I did felt pretty good so I was stoked about that then when I got to the beach I was told I won, I was pretty happy, ecstatic about it actually” he added. 

Fraser - McKenzie finished with a 12.27 point heat total.

Placing runner up in the final was the 2015 series champion Taylor Hutchison (Rag).  Hutchison had the highest single wave score of the final, a 6.67 point ride but he could not back it up with another good ride.  Callum Chuter (Mnt) placed third in the final with Jordan Griffin (Mnt) placing fourth.

Gabriella Sansom stole the win in the Under 20 Girls Division after surfing to a 7.17 on her final wave of the final courtesy of three consecutive backhand turns on a clean right-hander.  Sansom finished with a total heat score of 12.33 out of a possible 20 points to take an early lead in the three event series.

Piha surfer Claudia Fraser led for three quarters of the final before being eclipsed by Sansom ending with a 10.47 point heat total and finishing runner up.  Muriwai surfer Britt Kindred finished in third place ahead of Bianca Sansom (Albany) in fourth.

Mount Maunganui surfers proved too good in the Under 17 Divisions as well with Jonas Tawharu and Raiha Ensor taking out their respective divisions.

Tawharu was locked in a tight boys final where he edged out Ohope surfer Jared Gebert.  Gebert tried valiantly to find the right waves working hard to find connections but came up short against Tawharu.  Elliot Brown (Dun) who, two weeks ago won the Under 18 Boys national title, had to this week, settle for third place ahead of Caleb Cutmore (Ham) in fourth.

Ensor ran away with the win in the girls final using her smooth style and speed in the small conditions to post a 14.0 point heat total.  Like Jonas Tawharu in the boys, Ensor managed to relegate double national champion Elin Tawharu (Mnt) to second in the final with Elin edging out Kai Woolfe (Gis) who finished third and Kea Smith (Mnt) in fourth.

Gisborne’s Finn Johnson dominated the Under 14 Boys Division final from start to finish finishing with a 14.0 point heat total.  It was Johnson’s first win at a national level and his surfing all weekend looked sharp with powerful forehand surfing.  Johnson beat Muriwai surfer Taylor O’Leary who started the final well but fell short of the pace that Johnson set ending with a 12.6 point heat total.  Christchurch surfer Myka Black finished in third place ahead of Josef Jungwirth (Rag) in fourth.

Gisborne took their second title of the day with Stella Smith winning the Under 14 Girls Division.  It was also Smith’s first title and indeed her first final ever as she looks to follow in her sister Jasmine’s footsteps, Jasmine having already represented New Zealand on several occasions as well as winning numerous Billabong Grom Series events.  Placing second in the final was Georgia Wederell (Mnt) with Hannah King (Gis) in third and Daizee Rawls (Rag) in fourth.

Please see below for final results from the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge Event 1 completed at Mount Maunganui today (Sunday 31st January).

Under 20 Boys Division Final
Andrew Fraser - MacKenzie (Tau), 12.27, 1, Taylor Hutchison (Rag), 10.83, 2, Callum Chuter (Tau), 9.13, 3, Jordan Griffin (Mnt), 8.97, 4

Under 17 Boys Division Final
Jonas Tawharu (Mnt), 11.83, 1, Jared Gebert (Ohope), 10.4, 2, Elliot Brown (Dun), 8.27, 3, Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 7.03, 4

Under 14 Boys Division Final
Finn Johnson (Gis), 14.0, 1, Taylor O'Leary (Mur), 12.6, 2, Myka Black (Chch), 7.83, 3, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 6.63, 4

Under 20 Girls Division Final
Gabriella Sansom (Auck), 12.33, 1, Claudia Fraser (Auck), 10.47, 2, Britt Kindred (Mur), 9.23, 3, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 8.53, 4

Under 17 Girls Final
Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 14.33, 1, Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 8.5, 2, Kai Woolf (Gis), 6.87, 3, Kea Smith (Arataki), 5.83, 4

Under 14 Girls Division Final
Stella Smith (Gis), 9.07, 1, Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 7.27, 2, Hannah King (Gis), 3.6, 3, Daizee Rawls (Gis), 3.5, 4

Ben Kennings

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