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Rip Curl GromSearch NZ set to start at Fitzroy Beach

Luke Griffin will search for his first final of the year
Luke Griffin @ Image Col /





Rip Curl GromSearch

New Plymouth, Fitzroy Beach, New Zealand
4 - 5 March, 2017

The two day event will see top young surfing talent from around the country battle for the title

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 1 March, 2017 - This weekend’s Rip Curl GromSearch, being staged at New Plymouth’s Fitzroy Beach, offers up more than national honours with two prestigious invites on the line for two top surfers that will get to represent New Zealand at the international GromSearch final.

The two day event will see top young surfing talent from around the country vie for the invites in the premier Under 17 divisions.  Surfers will also compete in the Under 14 and Under 12 age categories.

In 2016, Mount Maunganui surfers Kehu Butler and Raiha Ensor got the chance to compete in tropical Hawaiian waters at the international final.  The two surfers have had a stranglehold on the Rip Curl GromSearch, both winning the chance to compete at the international final a year earlier in Brazil.

It is an opportunity of a lifetime to compete at a Rip Curl GromSearch international final and the experience gained from the event is immeasurable.

This year, two new young surfers will win themselves the chance to compete at the international final at a yet-to-be-confirmed location.

The talented pack of Under 17 surfers will be chasing down Elliot Brown who has won two junior events in the past month. 

While Brown goes into the event as favourite, there is a swag of keen grommets looking for the slightest of chances to topple the Dunedin surfer.  Those surfers include Caleb Cutmore (Ham), William Van Der Beek (Mnt), Shane Kraus (Piha), Conor McLennan (Chch) and Dylan Preston (Mnt) to name a few finalists so far this year.  Or, it could be Brown’s best friend and fellow Dunedin surfer Jack McLeod who will head north for the first time this year and contest the event.

In the girls division, honours so far this year have been shared by Saffi Vette (Gis) and Elin Tawharu (Mnt) and they will go into the event as favourites.  Tawharu has several international events under her belt and most recently placed third at the World Junior Championships.  On the flipside, Saffi Vette is yet to represent New Zealand and a win this weekend would be the first step to competing internationally.

For those surfers in the Under 14 divisions, the chance to climb further up the rankings and cement themselves as title contenders is what they will be gunning for this weekend.  2017 has seen a large number of surfers contest this division and there are a good dozen surfers that all vie for top honours.  Current rankings leader Kora Cooper (Rag) will be searching for a win this weekend after he suffered a semifinal exit at the last event.  Winner of last weekend’s event, Tom Robinson (Whangarei) will hope that he can get a roll on in Taranaki and make it two in a row.

In the girls division, local surfer Ariana Shewry (Oakura) will enjoy competing at home.  She was a finalist in 2016 and won the most recent national event held at Piha.  Meanwhile, Brie Bennett (Rag) will no doubt rise to the challenge of Shewry and aim to keep her number one ranking away from Shewry’s grasp.

The Rip Curl GromSearch is the only national event that stages Under 12 Boys and Girls Divisions.  This age category gives numerous surfers the chance to compete at a national level for the first time and in a division against surfers their own age.  Raglan surfer Navryn Malone is a seasoned competitor at a national level competing in the Under 14 Boys category.  This weekend, he gets the chance to compete in his age category as does local Waitara surfer Ryder Pennington and Christchurch surfer Jack McKenzie.

In the girls division, it will be the Brock sisters of Mount Maunganui that will enjoy competing against younger competitors. Anna Brock surfed brilliantly last weekend making the final of the Under 14 Girls Division with her aggressive style of surfing.

Action will take place from 8:00am – 4:00pm daily on Saturday and Sunday at Fitzroy Beach.

See below for winners of the Rip Curl GromSearch over the past three years.

Under 17 Boys Division
2014 – Daniel Farr (Tara)
2015 – Kehu Butler (Mnt)
2016 – Kehu Butler (Mnt)

Under 14 Boys Division
2014 – Dylan Preston (Mnt)
2015 – Dylan Preston (Mnt)
2016 – Tom Butland (Oakura)

Under 12 Boys Division
2014 – Tom Butland (Tara)
2015 – Tom Butland (Oakura)
2016 – Jayden Willoughby (Rag)

Under 17 Girls Division
2014 – Jasmine Smith (Gis)
2015 – Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
2016 – Raiha Ensor (Mnt)

Under 14 Girls Division
2014 – Zhana Hutchieson (Tara)
2015 – Georgia Wederell (Mnt)
2016 – Georgia Wederell (Mnt)

Under 12 Girls Division
2014 – Georgia Wederell (Mnt)
2015 – Ariana Shewry (Oakura)
2016 – Natasha Gouldsbury (Levin)

Ben Kennings

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