Cutmore and Tawharu Claim Trips To International GromSearch

They don’t know where in the world they are going but the thought of competing against an elite group of the young surfers at the International Rip Curl GromSearch Final somewhere on the globe has two young Kiwi surfers fizzing.

Caleb Cutmore (Ham) and Elin Tawharu (Mnt) won their respective Under 17 Divisions at the Rip Curl GromSearch held at Fitzroy Beach, New Plymouth today (Sunday 5th March 2017).

The surf built for the final day of the event as expected and a 1.0m – 1.5m swell gave the competitors more than enough to play with despite the persistent westerly winds.

Hamilton’s Caleb Cutmore won the boys final on his last wave in the dying seconds of the final.  Cutmore posted a 7.23 point ride on his last wave for a 14.83 point heat total to leapfrog Jared Gebert (Ohope) who had led the final from the outset.

Above: Caleb Cutmore - Photo: COL/

“It was real close the whole way through, I was a bit slow at the start but managed to fight back at the end” said a subdued Cutmore. 

“I really wanted to get past the semis and make the final and then see, but I wasn’t expecting this” explained Cutmore of his strategy this weekend after winning a national title in January but coming up short of the finals at the last two events. 

The young surfer didn’t really know what to say in regards to the trip overseas apart from that he knows it will be “an awesome time” and how “stoked” he was.

Runner up today was Gebert posting a 14.0 point heat total but he was left requiring a 7.57 to get the lead back from Cutmore.  Shane Kraus (Piha) posted the highest single wave score of the final, a 7.83 early on but never managed to find the 6.18 score he needed to win the event while Waipu surfer Tom Norton placed fourth on 11.90 points.

Mount Maunganui’s Elin Tawharu evened up the ledger with Saffi Vette (Gis) today, taking her second win of the summer.  The two surfers have gone back and forward at each event this year with Tawharu winning the last two including today when she surfed to a 12.20 point heat total defeating Vette on 10.67.

“I am so stoked to win this event, I have been wanting to win it for the last few years so now I have finally done that and I am lucky because it is my last year in the division” commented Tawharu. 

“It was good to get that first wave, it just gives you confidence for the rest of the final so yeah, that seven point ride was vital for me in getting the win” added Tawharu.

Above: Mount Maunganui’s Elin Tawharu - Photo: COL/

Tiana - Breeze de Mooij (Mnt) placed third in the final for the second consecutive event while local surfer Zhana Hutchieson (Waitara) placed fourth with her first finals finish of the year.

Kora Cooper (Rag) resumed normal transmission in the Under 14 Boys Division after a comprehensive win.  After missing the final last weekend, the young natural foot surfer made no mistake today.  He posted a perfect ten point ride on Saturday and then in the final today he surfed to a 15.0 point heat total. 

Cooper’s closest rival, Jack Hinton (Mnt) needed a near perfect 9.68 point ride to take the win but was more than happy to secure his best ever result.  James Ririnui (Mnt) placed third in the final ahead of Myka Black (Chch), both surfers only finding one good wave in the final.

Above: Raglan surfer Kora Cooper - Photo: COL/

A last-minute interference by Ariana Shewry (Oakura) gifted the Under 14 Girls Division title to Brie Bennett (Rag).  The local surfer dropped in on Natasha Gouldsbury (Levin) in the last 30 seconds of the final and as a result, was relegated to second.  Bennett was only just behind Shewry and took away the win, her third of the year.  Finishing in third and fourth were Natasha Gouldsbury and Alice Westerkamp (Piha).  

The Under 12 Boys final saw form surfers from day one, Navryn Malone (Rag) and Ryder Pennington (Tara) dominate the final with Malone eventually running away with his first national win.  Malone posted a 16.70 point heat total for the win compared with Pennington’s 12.86 points.  Local surfer Kalani Louis impressed a lot of the crowd with his first national performance placing third in the final with Jack McKenzie (Waikuku) placing fourth.

Above: Brie Bennett - Photo: COL/

Anna Brock (Mnt) got the edge over her sister Sophia in the final of the Under 12 Girls Division posting a 12.17 point heat total.  The result backs up her finals finish last weekend and Piha in the Under 14 Girls Division.  Sophia tried to push for the win but could not match the power of sister.  Amanda Gouldsbury (Levin) placed third in the final.

Please see below results from each of the finals completed at the Rip Curl GromSearch held at Fitzroy Beach, New Plymouth today (Sunday 5th March 2017)

Under 17 Boys Division Final
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 14.83, 1, Jared Gebert (Ohope), 14.0, 2, Shane Kraus (Piha), 12.86, 3, Tom Norton (Waipu), 11.90, 4

Under 17 Girls Division Final
Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 12.20, 1, Saffi Vette (Gis), 10.67, 2, Tiana – Breeze de Mooij (Mnt), 8.30, 3, Zhana Hutchieson (Tara), 6.00, 4

Under 14 Boys Division Final
Kora Cooper (Rag), 15.0, 1, Jack Hinton (Mnt), 10.06, 2, James Ririnui (Mnt), 9.53, 3, Myka Black (Chch), 7.40, 4

Under 14 Girls Division Final
Brie Bennett (Rag), 14.16, 1, Ariana Shewry (Tara), 11.84, 2, Natasha Gouldsbury (5.63), 3, Alice Westerkamp (Piha), 4.44

Under 12 Boys Division
Navryn Malone (Rag), 16.70, 1, Ryder Pennington (Tara), 12.86, 2, Kalani Louis (Tara), 9.27, 3, Jack McKenzie (Chch), 6.77, 4

Under 12 Girls Division

Anna Brock (Mnt), 12.17, 1, Sophia Brock (Mnt), 6.06, 2, Amanda Gouldsbury (Levin), 4.90, 3

Follow the link here to view full results from the Rip Curl GromSearch held at Fitzroy Beach, New Plymouth from the 4-5 March 2017.