Billabong Grom Series
Surfing New Zealand
Whangamata, New Zealand
11 - 12 February, 2017
Harrison Whiteside and Britt Kindred take wins at the Billabong Grom Series at Whangamata
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 12 February, 2017 - Harrison Whiteside and Britt Kindred have claimed the premier Under 20 Division titles at the first event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge completed at Whangamata today.
The two surfers take an early lead in the overall New Zealand Grom Series after hard fought wins in the dying 0.5m – 1.0m swell that was on offer.
Whiteside trailed for much of his final before he split the peak with Taranaki surfer Daniel Farr who was leading the final. Farr got caught behind on the left while Whiteside came around the section on the right hander and completed an air reverse on the closeout to claim a 9.17 point ride and the lead for his first win in five years.
“It feels pretty good, fun waves out there. I was just trying to find an air section toward the end of the heat because I knew I needed a big score to win” said Whiteside of his strategy.
“I just tried to stick the air and stay over it, I was stoked with the score” he added in regards to the nine point ride. Whiteside finished the final with a 14.47 point heat total compared with Farr’s 12.43 which secured him second place. Callum Chuter (Mnt) finished in third place ahead of Jonas Tawharu (Mnt) in fourth.
Britt Kindred toughed out a tight final in the Under 20 Girls Division held in the dying swell. A total heat score of 8.07 points was enough for Kindred to secure the win today as she held off Claudia Fraser (Piha) who finished runner up, Billie Scott (Whangarei) in third and Janee Armstrong (Chch) in fourth.
“It is a good start to the series for me but we had pretty challenging conditions in the final today. I was lucky to get a couple of quick waves and my plan was always to try and catch whatever I could out there” said Kindred.
“It is good to get this win before I head down to Dunedin and study at Otago University” added Kindred who aims to get a bunch of surfing done along the Otago coastline as well as study sports nutrition.
Kindred will spend a lot of time with another winner from today, Dunedin’s Elliot Brown.
Brown lived up to his Overall Performance of the Event award from the National Championships by winning the Under 17 Boys Division today. The Dunedin surfer found the biggest of the waves on offer in the final shredding his way through to the inside section with ease. His 13.13 point heat total was enough to beat fellow South Island surfer Conor McLennan (Chch) into second with Mount Maunganui surfers Dylan Preston and William Van Der Beek finishing in third and fourth respectively.
Saffi Vette (Gis) posted the highest heat score of the event in the Under 17 Girls Division final to convincingly beat her opponents and keep an undefeated record for summer. Vette posted 17.6 out of a possible 20 points in the final, her highest wave scoring 9.60 points.
Vette defeated Elin Tawharu (Mnt) in the final, Tawharu finishing runner up ahead of Gabrielle Paul (Piha) in third and Tegen Bishop (Chch) in fourth.
Oakura surfer Tom Butland looked to have his first national event sewn up after a quick start in the Under 14 Boys Division when posted a 12.33 point heat total in the first five minutes. However, it was national champion Kora Cooper (Rag) that kept his composure in the final to claw his way back in to contention and then in to the lead to take his second win of summer with a 13.13 point heat total.
Butland finished the final in second narrowly ahead of Finn Vette (Gis) in third and Jayden Willoughby (Rag) in fourth.
In the Under 14 Girls Division, it was Brie Bennett (Rag) that surfed to her second win of the year following in Cooper’s footsteps. The young goofy foot surfer made the most of the challenging low tide conditions to post a 10.57 point total in the final. Oakura secured their second runner up finish in the Under 14s Division via Ariana Shewry with Natasha Gouldsbury (Levin) finishing in third and first time finalists Ava Smith (Gis) finishing in fourth.
Under 20 Boys Division Final
Harrison Whiteside (ChCh), 14.47, 1, Daniel Farr (Tara), 12.43, 2, Callum Chuter (Tau), 10.53, 3, Jonas Tawharu (Mnt), 10.07, 4
Under 17 Boys Division Final
Elliott Brown (Dun), 13.1, 1, Conor McLennan (Chch), 11.1, 2, Dylan Preston (Whmata), 10.5, 3, William Van der Beek (Mnt), 9.33, 4
Under 14 Boys Division Final
Kora Cooper (Rag), 13.13, 1, Tom Butland (Tara), 12.33, 2, Finn Vette (Gis), 12.20, 3, Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 9.90, 4
Under 20 Girls Division Final
Britt Kindred (Muri), 8.07, 1, Claudia Fraser (Auck), 6.37, 2, Billie Scott (Whangarei), 4.17, 3, Janee Armstrong (Chch), 2.17, 4
Under 17 Girls Division Final
Saffi Vette (Gis), 17.6, 1, Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 9.7, 2, Gabrielle Paul (Auck), 4.42, 3, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 3.63, 4
Under 14 Girls Division Final
Brie Bennett (Rag), 10.6, 1, Ariana Shewry (Tara), 8.07, 2, Natasha Gouldsbury (Levin), 6.93, 3, Ava Smith (Gis), 3.73, 4