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Kennings and Ensor take top honors at Kiwi grom comp

Billabong Grom Series, Oceanbridge, Omanu Beach
Raiha Ensor © Rambo Estrada



Billabong Grom Series
presented by Oceanbridge

Surfing New Zealand
Tay Street, Mount Maunganui New Zealand
24 - 25 January 2015

Kennings & Ensor, a Successful Start To Billabong Grom Series

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 25 January, 2015 - First event honours for the 2015 Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge went to Dune Kennings (WGM) and Raiha Ensor (Mnt) today with both surfers dominating their respective Under 20 Division finals. Today (Sunday 25th January) event one of the three event sereis relocated to Omanu Beach where the day started out with clean 1.0m waves and light offshores with an afternoon sea breeze filling in throughout the day.

Kennings looked comfortable in his two earlier heats today and his finals performance followed suit with a 15.83 point heat total. “I was sitting out there for like five minutes before that 9 point ride I got.  It gave me heaps of confidence, almost too much because I went into cruise mode after that” explained Kennings.  “Then Mac [Christie] came back with those 7s so I had to get busy again” added Kennings.

It has been almost a year since Kennings last won an event and he was happy to be back in the rashie and surfing heats.  “I didn’t compete much over winter but it is good to be out there again, I have been enjoying the last two weeks, I have good boards from Anderson and I am looking forward to the next event at Whanga which is my home break” he said.

Local surfer Mackenzie Christie placed second in the final and as Kennings mentioned he was the only surfer with a chance of catching him.  Placing third in the final was Jared Gebert (Ohope) followed by Harrison Whiteside (Chch) in fourth.Raiha Ensor claimed a big win in the Under 20 Girls Division, a win she described as up there with her best ever results and certainly her best result in the division.

Dune Kennings © Rambo Estrada


It was yet another heat that was dominated by one surfer from the outset.  Ensor rode the first wave of the final completing two big turns to post a 6.83 point ride and ended up finishing with an 11.5 point heat total.

“That good wave I got was right at the start.  Andy [Jordan] said to go further out the back and wait for the big ones and that’s what I did to get that first wave” said Ensor of her strategy. Ensor has looked strong all weekend and attributed her performance to her new boards and surfing at home without the stresses of travelling.

Ensor defeated double finalist Zhana Hutchison (Tara) who placed runner up for a highly successful weekend.  Hutchison finished on 8.93 points, narrowly ahead of Kea Smith (Mnt) in third on 8.80 and Gabriella Sansom (Auck) in third on 6.43.

It only took Taranaki surfer Daniel Farr one big turn to assert his dominance on the Under 17 Boys Final.  A big forehand fin waft was enough to secure an 8.0 and a healthy lead early in the final.  

Farr finished with a 15.43 point total for an easy win and takes an early lead on the Billabong Grom Series ratings.  Mount Maugnanui surfer Jonas Tawharu sat in fourth the entire final until he surfed his way to a 6.10 point ride on his last wave and jumped to second place.  Manu Scott – Arrieta (Sandy Bay) also had a last ditch effort to jump into third place ahead of the oldest of the Farr brothers Josh who finished in fourth place.

Gisborne surfer Kai Woolfe claimed a double today winning the Under 17 and Under 14 Girls Divisions.  In the 17’s Woolfe led the entire final but not by much with her three opponents desperately trying to catch her.  It came down to the final 10 seconds with Abby Falwasser – Logan (Gis) standing up as the hooter sounded.  

She banged two big turns to score 6.33 points out of a possible 10, just short of the 6.63 required for the win.  She ultimately finished runner up ahead of Zhana Hutchison (Tara) in third and Britt Kindred (Mur) in fourth.

In the Under 14 Girls Division, Kaya Horne (Mnt) remained undefeated for the year taking out his second event this weekend after winning a national title last weekend.  Horne posted a 17.83 point heat total comprising a 9.0 and an 8.83 point ride.  Hamilton surfer Caleb Cutmore won what became a battle for runner up scoring 11.23 ahead of Luke Griffin (Mnt) in third and Dylan Preston (WGM) in fourth. 

Kai Woolfe (Gis) continued her day one form blitzing the Under 14 Girls Division.  Woolfe looked impressive in her early morning semifinal and then again in the final where she posted 14.17 points.  Woolfe defeated her Gisborne counterpart Saffi Vette who placed runner up ahead of Gabriella Paul (Piha) in third and Georgia Wederell (Mnt) in fourth.

Under 20 Boys Final
Dune Kennings (Whmata), 15.83, 1, Mackenzie Christie (Tau), 13.0, 2, Jared Gebert (Ohope), 6.97, 3, Harrison Whiteside (ChCh), 6.57, 4

Under 20 Girls Final
Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 11.50, 1, Zhana Hutchison (Tara), 8.93, 2, Kea Smith (Mnt), 8.80, 3, Gabriella Sansom (Auck), 6.43, 4

Under 17 Boys Final
Daniel Farr (Tara), 15.43, 1, Jonas Tawharu (Mnt), 10.37, 2, Manu Scott-Arrieta (Sandy Bay), 9.27, 3, Joshua Farr (Tara), 8.77, 4

Under 17 Girls Final
Kai Woolf (Gis), 9.20, 1, Abby Falwasser - Logan (Gis), 8.9, 2, Zhana Hutchison (Tara), 7.03, 3, Britt Kindred (Muri), 6.87, 4

Under 14 Boys Final
Kaya Horne (Mnt), 17.83, 1, Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 11.23, 2, Dylan Preston (Whmata), 9.63, 3, Luke Griffin (Mnt), 7.73, 4

Under 14 Girls Final
Kai Woolf (Gis), 14.17, 1, Saffi Vette (Gis), 8.70, 2, Gabrielle Paul (Piha), 7.07, 3, Georgia Wederell (ChCh), 5.3, 4

Ben Kennings

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