Saturday, January 22, 2011

Grommets Season Kicks Off At Mount Maunganui

Surfing New Zealand
Tay Street, Mount Maunganui
22 - 23 January 2011

Courtesy of Surfers Village

The grommets had a tough time on day one of the first event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge today (Saturday 22nd January) with conditions offering only limited opportunities for high performance surfing at Mount Maunganui's Tay Street.

Surf conditions remained small with 0.5m swell cut up by the onshore wind conditions. However the conditions will pale in comparison to the 3.0m swell and strong winds predicted for day two of the event when the older divisions will get their teeth stuck into some sizeable surf.

With the forecast worsening throughout the day, it was decided to run the Under 12 Boys and Girls Divisions through to the finals while the swell was suitable for the competitors, some as young as 10 years of age. Kehu Butler was too good for his opponents in the Under 12 Boys Division. The young surfer scored 10.75 points in the final after completing some big forehand turns in the marginal low tide afternoon conditions.

"It was pretty little out there" said Butler in reference to the small conditions at his home break.
Butler was sitting in second for much of the final but in his own words he simply "tried to relax" until the right wave came through. And sure enough the right wave came through and the 6.50 point ride was enough to put him into the lead and from that point on he sat on his closest opponent to make sure that he didn't get a good wave and take back the lead.

"I am stoked with the win, it is a good way to start the year and it was good that all my family were here to watch me today." Butler defeated Taine Craig - Ranga (Waihi Beach) who placed second ahead of Tane Bowden (WGM) and Luke Griffin (Mnt).

Butler is one of several surfers in the running for other prizes that include the latest Sony street-style head phones. Butler scored an 8.25 point ride with two massive turns to lead the single highest scoring wave award after day one. The modest young surfer had this to say about his feats on day one, "I guess it was pretty good, it was just a hit and a good end section move."

In the Under 12 Girls Division, Gabrielle Paul (Auck) took her time before getting out the back and catching two rides to take the title over Maiya Barbuzza (Italy), Sky Hutchings (Gis) and India McCulloch (Gis).

Earlier in the day the Under 14 Boys Division was surfed through to the final eight surfers with young Korbin Hutchings (Gis) standing out. Hutchings made the most of the small shore-break conditions scoring 14.15 out of a possible 20 points. Along with Butler who also won his heat, they have set up an enthralling semifinal match up alongside Under 14 National Champion Manu Scott - Arrieta (Sandy Bay) and 2010 National Scholastic Champ Te Rapai Barbarich - Love (Tara).

The second semifinal comprises Harrison Mossop (Mnt), Harrison Whiteside (Chch), Taine Craig - Ranga and Taylor Hutchison (Rag) who all pushed through to make the semifinals.
The Under 16 Boys Division got the day under way with the top seeds making light work of the average conditions. Sean Kettle (Tara), Adam Grimson (Gis), Manu Scott - Arrieta (Sandy Bay) and Elliot Paerata - Reid (Piha) were the top scorers moving through to the quarterfinals to be contested on Sunday morning.

Sean Kettle (Tara) took a firm grip on the Sony Playstation being awarded for the best move of the event. Early in the day, Kettle landed a solid forehand air in his first heat. However, Kettle's single move was not enough to top the overall performance of Gisborne surfer Korbin Hutchings who is leading the highest heat score award with a 14.15 point heat total.

Ella Willams (WGM) leads the way for the girls after scoring a 10.25 point total heat score and the highest scoring wave for the girls of 5.25.

The Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge is now into it's sixth year and is entrenched in the development pathways of young New Zealand surfers as they try their hand at competing, many of whom start careers at these very events.

The final day of the event will get underway at 8.00am with big waves, strong onshore winds and torrential rain forecast.

No comments:

Post a Comment