Cutmore Defends Title, is Joined by Saffi Vette to Represent NZ
Hamilton surfer Caleb Cutmore defended his Rip Curl GromSearch title today (Sunday 4th March) and will be joined by Saffi Vette (Gis) as the two New Zealand representatives at the International Final in May.
Today at Back Beach, New Plymouth, the surf remained below the 1.0m mark all day with morning offshores and light afternoon cross-shore winds, a marked improvement on day one which allowed the premier Under 17 Divisions to get underway.
Cutmore placed fifth at the International Final in 2017, held in Brazil. It is a result he wants to improve on now that he gets a second chance.
“I wanted to get the trip again so I can surf against all the surfers from around the world and I want to get that experience, it was awesome last year and I wanted to do it again, get more experience and get a better result” said Cutmore.
Above: Caleb Cutmore. Photo: COL / SURF2SURF
Cutmore had been the form surfer all event but not everything went his way in the low-scoring final where he posted 11.55 points out of a possible 20.
“I was hoping or a better final but it was close and everyone was surfing well. It was hard to get the good waves and I am lucky I got that one good six point ride” added Cutmore.
Cutmore defeated Christchurch surfer Myka Black who held the lead for half of the 20 minute final. Black beat Raglan’s Kora Cooper who finished third ahead of Finn Vette (Gis) in fourth.
After a runner up finish in 2017, Vette made it one of her 2018 goals to win this year’s event and get the chance to represent New Zealand at the Rip Curl GromSearch International Final.
“To be in the international event has been a goal of mine since last year, I put it up on my wall and everything” she said adding “now I want to win it”.
Vette also had a slow start to the final of the Under 17 Girls Division. As the tide dropped, the conditions changed and it required the surfers to adapt.
Vette found herself in fourth place at one point but thanks to a two-turn combo on a righthander she posted a 6.83 and jumped to the lead finishing with a 10.33 point heat total.
Above: Saffi Vette. Photo: COL / SURF2SURF
“I was pretty stoked with that right, I even did a little finger click at the end of the wave”.
“I left it pretty late so had to come back with a bit of fire. It is not at all how I thought it would unfold”.
Christchurch surfer Tegen Bishop finished the event in second place and had led for over half of the final finishing with a 9.47 point heat total.
Bishop bested top performing local surfer Ariana Shewry (Oakura) who finished in third with Estella Hungerford finishing in fourth.
Jayden Willoughby (Rag) surfed to his fourth win of the year in the Under 14 Boys Division with a 16.23 point heat total. The tight lefthand pockets suited him perfectly and Willoughby shone with his highest wave being a nine point ride. Navryn Malone (Rag) finished second in the final pushing his opponent early before falling off the pace. Piha mates Jai Wallis and Bill Byers contested their first final ever finishing in third and fourth respectively.
North Shore surfer Alice Westerkamp surfed to her first ever win in the Under 14 Girls Division. Westerkamp left it until the dying stages of the final until she bumped into the lead thanks to a 5.0 point ride. Ava Henderson (Chch) had led the final for much of the 20 minutes but had to settle for second ahead of Liv Haysom (Piha) in third and Anna Brock (Mnt) in fourth.
In the Under 12 Boys and Girls Division it was Australian Dane Henry and Sophia Brock (Mnt) that claimed their respective divisions. Henry carried on his performance from Saturday posting 15.33 points in the final to defeat Taj Millar Dal Bosco (WGM) in second, Mathias Thompson (Piha) in third and Tao Mouldey (Mnt) in fourth. Brock posted 8.60 in the final to defeat Leia Millar (Piha), Jess Haysom (Piha) and Sophia Louis (Tara).
The two-day event saw New Zealand’s top young surfing talent competing with over 100 entrants taking part in six age categories from Under 12 through to Under 17s.
The past winners list for the Under 17 Boys and Girls Division includes the country’s best surfers such as two-time winners from Mount Maunganui Kehu Butler and Raiha Ensor (2015/16), Taranaki’s Daniel Farr (2014), and Elin Tawharu (2017) who have all gone on to now compete on the World Surf League Qualifying Series.
Please see below for final results from the Rip Curl GromSearch completed at Back Beach today (Sunday 4th March).
Under 17 Boys Round of 28
Jack Luke (Tara), 12, 1, Kava Matthews (Waitara), 5.2, 2, Corban Grainger (Tara), 4.83, 3
Ethan Wray (Tara), 6.8, 1, Shay Wells (Tara), 6.7, 2, Clarky Amor (Tara), 3.32, 3, Liam McCardle (Wgtn), 2.95, 4
Under 17 Boys Round of 24
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 17.2, 1, Mitchell Dalley (Mnt), 7.16, 2, Mitchell Cameron (Chch), 6.4, 3, Kava Matthews (Waitara), 4.97, 4
Josef Jungwirth (Gis), 9.17, 1, Jack Rosewarne (Ham), 6.86, 2, Cassidy Mann (Auck), 6.1, 3, Sam Dingle (Tara), 4.63, 4
Finn Vette (Gis), 8.12, 1, Taylor O'Leary (Mur), 7.4, 2, Lucca Lind (Tara), 6.76, 3, Jack Luke (Tara), 4.76, 4
Myka Black (Chch), 11, 1, Tom Butland (Tara), 6.54, 2, Ethan Wray (Tara), 5.7, 3, Alex Laurensen (Tara), 4.1, 4
Jack Lee (Whaka), 11.8, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 11.8, 2, Hunter Peterson (Tara), 7.56, 3, Alex O'Dwyer (Whaka), 6, 4
Luke Griffin (Mnt), 11.9, 1, Jack Hinton (Mnt), 7.94, 2, Jacob Saunders (Mnt), 7.87, 3, Shay Wells (Tara), 5.9, 4
Under 17 Boys Quarterfinals
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 9.74, 1, Josef Jungwirth (Gis), 8.67, 2, Mitchell Dalley (Mnt), 5.5, 3, Jack Rosewarne (Ham), 3.73, 4
Finn Vette (Gis), 12.4, 1, Myka Black (Chch), 10, 2, Taylor O'Leary (Mur), 9.47, 3, Tom Butland (Tara), 9.23, 4
Kora Cooper (Rag), 14.7, 1, Luke Griffin (Mnt), 10.2, 2, Jack Hinton (Mnt), 8, 3, Jack Lee (Whaka), 5.17, 4
Under 17 Boys Semifinals
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 14.3, 1, Myka Black (Chch), 13, 2, Luke Griffin (Mnt), 12.1, 3
Kora Cooper (Rag), 10.6, 1, Finn Vette (Gis), 10.4, 2, Josef Jungwirth (Gis), 5.57, 3
Under 17 Boys Final
Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 11.44, 1, Myka Black (Chch), 10.07, 2, Kora Cooper (Rag), 9.9, 3, Finn Vette (Gis), 7.93, 4
Under 14 Boys Semifinals
Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 15.8, 1, Bill Byers (Piha), 5.83, 2, Tai Erceg-Gray (Whngrei), 5.7, 3
Navryn Malone (Rag), 11.3, 1, Jai Wallis (Auck), 5.4, 2, Kalani Louis (Tara), 3.26, 3
Under 14 Boys Final
Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 16.23, 1, Navryn Malone (Rag), 11.83, 2, Jai Wallis (Auck), 7.43, 3, Bill Byers (Piha), 7.36, 4
Under 12 Boys Final
Dane Henry (AUS), 15.33, 1, Taj Dal Bosco (WGM), 8.43, 2, Mathias Thompson (Piha), 5.6, 3, Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 3.83, 4
Under 17 Girls Semifinals
Estella Hungerford (Chch), 9.57, 1, Saffi Vette (Gis), 7.87, 2, Brie Bennett (Rag), 6.6, 3, Tia Ngarimu (Whiti), 2, 4
Tegen Bishop (Chch), 9.77, 1, Ariana Shewry (Tara), 8.56, 2, Georgia Wederell (Mnt), 6.1, 3, Summer Carkeek, 2.67, 4
Under 17 Girls Final
Saffi Vette (Gis), 10.33, 1, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 9.47, 2, Ariana Shewry (Tara), 8.44, 3, Estella Hungerford (Chch), 7.97, 4
Under 14 Girls Final
Alice Westerkamp (Auck), 8.83, 1, Ava Henderson (Chch), 8.7, 2, Liv Haysom (Piha), 6.97, 3, Anna Brock (Mnt), 3.37, 4
Under 12 Girls Final
Sophia Brock (Mnt), 8.6, 1, Leia Millar (Piha), 7.76, 2, Jess Haysom (Piha), 5.13, 3, Sophia Louis (Tara), 1.87