Billabong Grom Series: Mount Maunganui, Part One

Three winners emerged on a unique day at the Billabong Grom Series held at Tay Street, Mount Maunganui on Saturday. Event one in the three-event series, saw the contest fields split into two to accommodate the New Zealand Government’s red light settings.

Finn Vette (Gis), Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) and Tao Mouldey (Mnt) rode to victory in a massive day of surfing that saw their divisions contested through to an early completion.

Day two of the event will feature the Under 14 Boys and Girls and the Under 16 Girls Divisions.

Participants encountered challenging conditions with a small swell under the 1.0m mark and light morning winds that tended to sea breeze in the afternoon. Coupled with low tides for the majority of the day, surfers had to be selective to get good waves and advance through preliminary rounds.

Finn Vette on his way to a win in Round 1 of the Billabong Grom Series for 2022. Photo: Guy Rencher

Vette surfed in his first event of the 2022 season and looked sharp from heat one of the day. The 17-year-old Gisborne youth eventually surfed to a 15.67 heat total out of a possible 20 points in the final, extinguishing his opponents in the process. His fluid forehand surfing made the difficult conditions look easy on his way to victory.

“I haven’t been surfing too much this summer, I have been working heaps and surfing in between, cruising and hanging out between big days of work,” said Vette. “After not being able to go to the Nationals, I was keen to show the boys what’s up at this event.”

Vette admitted he felt comfortable despite the small conditions.

“I always feel comfortable in the finals, a bit of luck was involved, but you can control that luck by feeling comfortable in those types of waves,” he added.

“I haven’t been surfing too much this summer, I have been working heaps and surfing in between … After not being able to go to the Nationals, I was keen to show the boys what’s up at this event.”

Finn Vette

Northland surfer Ben Moretti came out of nowhere to finish runner up in the final. The Ahipara-native edged out his rivals for a second-place finish with a 9.57 point heat total ahead of Kaikoura’s Tyler Perry in third and Piha’s Bill Byers in fourth.

Natasha Gouldsbury making up for her nationals performance at the Mount. Photo: Guy Rencher

Taranaki surfer Natasha Gouldsbury brushed off the removal of her tonsils earlier this week to win the Under 18 Girls Division. Barely being able to speak pre-final, the young surfer edged past Piha’s Liv Haysom for the win.

In a turn of form from the National Championships held two weeks ago, Gouldsbury flipped the script to beat her opponents in the final with Haysom finishing in second and runner up at the National Championships, Anna Brock (Mnt) finishing in third. Hawke’s Bay surfer Isla Prins finished her first final in fourth overall.

“To be honest, I was bummed with my performance at the National Champs, so to come here and win … I am so stoked,” said Gouldsbury. “Heading out into those waves I knew I had to get the two best waves out there and do a good turn on each. Being sick, that strategy played into my hands because I couldn’t chase waves either, so it turned out well.”

“I was bummed with my performance at the National Champs, so to come here and win … I am so stoked.”

Natasha Gouldsbury

Local surfer Tao Mouldey stormed back to form in the Under 16 Boys Division with a comfortable win. A 12.9 point heat total in the final was enough to seal victory, but it was the earlier rounds that impressed everyone with Mouldey securing the Volkswagen x Skinnies Wave of the Day with a 9.6-point ride in his quarterfinal match up. 

In the final, Mouldey saw off an all Bay of Plenty match up with Papamoa surfer Beau Woods locking in second place with 10.77 points ahead of Tava Santorik (Pap) in third and Tai Murphy (Whaka) in fourth overall.

The Billabong Grom Series carries on to Whangamata, February, 12-13, and then Piha on February, 26-27.

 The 2022 edition of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge is split into three divisions ranging from Under 14, Under 16 and Under 18. 

It is the seventeenth year that Billabong has sponsored the series in partnership with Oceanbridge who has been a proud supporter of junior surfing in New Zealand.

 The series is also supported by Kustom, Von Zipper and Dakine. The Mount Maunganui round is proudly hosted by Bay Boardriders.

Report: Ben Kennings/Surfing New Zealand
Photos: Guy Rencher/Coastal Surf Images

Results from Day 1 of the first event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge
Tay Street, Mount Maunganui
January 29, 2022

Under 18 Boys Round 1
Heat 1

Bill Byers (Piha), 11.1, 1, Kaden Littlejohn (Kati), 9.57, 2, Noah O’Malley (Auck), 7.4, 3, Lennox McBride (Mnt), 6.8, 4
Heat 2
Tana Clapham (Rag), 12.2, 1, Noah Camburn (Whaka), 7.57, 2, Evan Broad (Hbay), 7.1, 3

Under 18 Boys Round 2
Heat 1

Bill Byers (Piha), 11, 1, Navryn Malone (Rag), 10.5, 2, Ben Fougere (Piha), 4.2, 3, Charlie Webb (Auck), 3.34, 4
Heat 2
Kalani Louis (Tara), 11.8, 1, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Whngrei), 11.7, 2, Connor Van Der Pol (Mnt), 6.54, 3, Kaden Littlejohn (Kati), 4.73, 4
Heat 3
Tyler Perry (Kaik), 10.5, 1, Ben Moretti (Ahipara), 7.96, 2, Luca Rendle (Hbay), 6.96, 3, Noah Camburn (Whaka), 6.03, 4
Heat 4
Finn Vette (Gis), 11.7, 1, Tana Clapham (Rag), 7.5, 2, Jai Wallis (Piha), 5.67, 3, Harper McBride (Mnt), 4.5, 4

Under 18 Boys Semifinals
Heat 1

Ben Moretti (Ahipara), 13.5, 1, Bill Byers (Piha), 11.8, 2, Kalani Louis (Tara), 8.13, 3, Tana Clapham (Rag), 3.33, 4
Heat 2
Finn Vette (Gis), 15.2, 1, Tyler Perry (Kaik), 13.1, 2, Navryn Malone (Rag), 8.27, 3, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Whngrei), 7.5, 4

Under 18 Boys Final
Finn Vette (Gis), 15.7, 1, Ben Moretti (Ahipara), 9.57, 2, Bill Byers (Piha), 8.73, 4, Tyler Perry (Kaik), 9.47, 3

Under 18 Girls Final
Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 11, 1, Liv Haysom (Piha), 10.3, 2, Anna Brock (Mnt), 7.23, 3, Isla Prins (Hbay), 3.83, 4

Under 16 Boys Round 1
Heat 1

Joe Goodjohn (Mnt), 11.7, 1, Vinnie Baggott (Mnt), 5.13, 2, Taine Roy (TGA), 4.4, 3, Ari O’Malley (Auck),  , 0

Under 16 Boys Round 2
Heat 1

Tai Murphy (Whaka), 11.1, 1, Soren Bucka – Christensen (Tara), 7.57, 2, Max Phillips (Gis), 4.5, 3, Luke Mitchell (Mnt), 2.07, 4
Heat 2
Spencer Rowson (Tara), 8.97, 1, Taj Millar Dal Bosco (WGM), 8.97, 2, Hugo Sale (Mnt), 6.1, 3, Lachie Cruikshank (Auck), 2.8, 4
Heat 3
Tava Santorik (Mnt), 8.44, 1, Will Hardie (Piha), 8.2, 2, Asher O’Donnell (Whngrei), 6.6, 3, Manu Roberts (Tai), 6.3, 4
Heat 4
Jack Tyro (Chch), 13.4, 1, Vinnie Baggott (Mnt), 6.56, 2, Otis Baxter (WGM), 3, 3, Leo Hobson (Mur), 1.17, 4
Heat 5
Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 15, 1, Cooper Ashill (Whngrei), 10.5, 2, George Laery (Mnt), 7.3, 3, Joe Goodjohn (Mnt), 3.94, 4
Heat 6
Taylor Mainwaring (WGM), 8.27, 1, Christian Fougere (Piha), 5.83, 2, Nate Florence (Tara), 4.86, 3, Ben Milne (WGM), 4.33, 4
Heat 7
Dale Cromhout (Hbay), 9.2, 1, Kalani Watts (Tara), 5.77, 2, Hunter Lynch (Gis), 4.46, 3
Heat 8
Ashton Rogers (WGM), 8.4, 1, Beau Woods (Mnt), 6.83, 2, Harry Prins (Hbay), 5.73, 3, Will Lockhart (Whiti), 4.87, 4

Under 16 Boys Quarterfinals
Heat 1

Spencer Rowson (Tara), 12.4, 1, Tai Murphy (Whaka), 8.67, 2, Will Hardie (Piha), 7.9, 3, Vinnie Baggott (Mnt), 7.3, 4
Heat 2
Taj Millar Dal Bosco (WGM), 11, 1, Tava Santorik (Mnt), 10.1, 2, Jack Tyro (Chch), 9.47, 3, Soren Bucka – Christensen (Tara), 7.1, 4
Heat 3
Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 13.4, 1, Beau Woods (Mnt), 9.67, 2, Taylor Mainwaring (WGM), 4.63, 3, Kalani Watts (Tara), 2.13, 4
Heat 4
Cooper Ashill (Whngrei), 11.3, 1, Ashton Rogers (WGM), 8.43, 2, Dale Cromhout (Hbay), 5.26, 3, Christian Fougere (Piha), 4.5, 4

Under 16 Boys Semifinals
Heat 1

Tava Santorik (Mnt), 9.5, 1, Tai Murphy (Whaka), 8.73, 2, Taj Millar Dal Bosco (WGM), 8, 3, Spencer Rowson (Tara), 8, 3
Heat 2
Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 13.3, 1, Beau Woods (Mnt), 9.6, 2, Cooper Ashill (Whngrei), 9.23, 3, Ashton Rogers (WGM), 7.26, 4

Under 16 Boys Final
Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 12.9, 1, Beau Woods (Mnt), 10.77, 2, Tava Santorik (Mnt), 8.37, 3, Tai Murphy (Whaka), 8.13, 4

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