East Coast Wakes Up For Billabong Grom Series


The north east coast has finally woken up from its summer slumber to deliver waves for the first event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge being held at Whangamata this weekend (11 – 12 February).

A good swell is expected to greet surfers on Saturday morning and hold for much of the day.  The swell is expected to ease on Sunday.

A rite of passage for every grom in New Zealand, the Billabong Grom Series visits Mount Maunganui, Whangamata and Piha.  Each year surfers from the length of the country and of all ability levels enjoy a fun weekend at the beach and a chance to test their mettle against other surfers from around the country.

This year sees record levels of entries in the events which cater for surfers, male and female, in the under 20, 17 and 14 divisions.

Five recently crowned national champions will take to the water this weekend after asserting their dominance at Piha just under a month ago.

Mount Maunganui surfer Jonas Tawharu will lead the Way in the Under 20 Boys Division after claiming the Under 18 Boys Division national title.  Tawharu will be joined by surfers up to two years his senior like runner up in the Open Men’s Division Taylor Hutchison (Rag).  Hutchison went close to claiming his own title at the National Champs before Billy Stairmand broke the 30 year record of five titles with his sixth.

Saffi Vette (Gis) will lead the way in the Under 17 Girls Division after a dominant performance in the girls divisions saw her claim two national titles at Piha.  Vette will compete in the Under 17 Girls Division leaving the Under 20 Girls Division open for the likes of Muriwai’s Britt Kindred to dominate.

Hamilton surfer Caleb Cutmore fronts the biggest field of surfers in the Under 17 Boys Division.  Over 50 surfers will contest the division making for some big rounds of action over the two days.  Cutmore will be joined by Dunedin’s Elliot Brown, Jared Gebert (Ohope), Lee Ririnui (Mnt), Dylan Preston (Mnt) and Luke Griffin (Mnt) among others who will vie for top honours at the first event of the series.

In the Under 14 Divisions it will be the Raglan pairing of Kora Cooper and Brie Bennett who go in to the event as number one seeds.  Both divisions see a hotbed of new talent emerging as well as a number of young first time competitors.

For all entrants, the fun will be loaded into the two days with each competitor walking away with a goody bag filled with sponsors gear and good summer memories.

Action takes place at Whangamata from 8am until late afternoon on both Saturday and Sunday at the northern end of The Esplanade.

Entry into the final two Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge events can be completed here - Piha (25 - 26 February) and Mount Maunganui (11 - 12 March).