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Cyclone Dovi Challenges Top Juniors At Whangamata Grom Comp

Cyclone Dovi may not have produced the big swell that everyone was looking for, but the wind from the storm lashed Whangamata during Day 2 of event two of the Billabong Grom Series.

Piha surfer Bill Byers won the Under 18 Boys Division with Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) winning the Under 18 Girls Division. Mount Maunganui surfer Tao Mouldey claimed the Under 16 Boys Division.

Natasha Gouldsbury on her way to a win in the Under 18s at the Billabong Grom Series comp in Whangamata. Photo: Derek Morrison

Competitors were welcomed by an unruly 1.5m swell at the start of the day, but as the wind clocked to the west and increased to gale strength, the swell dropped before everyone’s eyes, leaving a clean, but small 0.5m swell by the time the finals had concluded late in the afternoon. That was not before the gale winds whipped the ocean into a frenzy during the day making it impossible for some lightweight groms to surf.

Byers, flanked by a bunch of his mates, snatched the Under 18 Boys Division win with a minute remaining in the final when a decent wave popped up out of nowhere allowing the natural-footer to reel off a series of backhand reos until the wave had nothing left to give.

The ride netted him 5.63 points for an 11.63-point heat total.

Bill Byers managed to displace Navryn Malone in the Under 18 final. Photo: Derek Morrison

“Navryn (Malone) was out there in the lead and he went on one wave with about three minutes to go,” Byers explained after the final. There wasn’t long left and I thought there wasn’t much coming for me, but there was one sneaky wave that I caught and I got what I needed.”

“I was hoping to do good this weekend. Those aren’t really my conditions, but I gave it my best and did what I could. I’m frothing to win. I can’t wait for the final event of the series at home, hopefully it is big and staunch, I would love that,” laughed Byers.

Byers’ win came at the expense of Navryn Malone, of Raglan, who led for 19 minutes of the final. Malone finished with an 11.83-point heat total and a runner-up placing. Not far behind was Kaikoura surfer Tyler Perry (Kaik) on 11.57, himself making a good challenge for the win on his final wave, but coming up just short.

Whangarei surfer Te Kauwhata Kauwhata finished fourth, his first finals appearance in the age group.

Taranaki’s Natasha Gouldsbury had to fight for her win in the final, but a 7.0 point ride toward the end, pushed her well clear of her opponents.

“I was pretty stoked with my performance today,” said Gouldsbury. “I surfed early this morning like I always do. Then went home and when I came back to the beach, I was pretty surprised how small it was, but I tried to keep a positive mindset and smash it.”

“Home has been pretty much like this – small lefthanders, so it was good to get similar conditions here,” she added.

Gouldsbury fended off a talent-laden field of surfers including runner up Ava Henderson (Chch), third placed Liv Haysom (Piha) and Asia Braithwaite (Gis) who finished in fourth position.

Asia Braithwaite joined a talented lineup in the Under 18 final at the Billabong Grom Series held at Whangamata. Photo: Derek Morrison

Tao Mouldey surfed to the most comfortable win of all finalists today with a 14.26-point heat total in the Under 16s.

Being the only goofy-foot surfer in the final was fine by the young grom as he smashed the small lefthanders time and again.

“There was a good bank out front and it was pretty fun for the final on that lefthander,” said Mouldey who has been finding some good form over the past two events with back-to-back wins.

“I don’t know, I guess I have been trying to stay more busy in my heats and that seems like it is working for me.”

Mouldey now hopes to transition that form to the final event of the series at Piha, an event that he calls his favourite.

Tao Mouldey is chaired up the beach after his second grom series win at Whangamata. Photo: Derek Morrison

Taranaki’s Spencer Rowson finished second in the final, posting a 10.90-point heat total, edging out Jack Tyro (Chch) who finished in third place and Will Hardie (Piha) finishing in fourth, contesting his first final in a couple of years.

The Volkswagen x Skinnies Wave of the Day awards went to Sol Fritchley (Mnt) on the first day and Navryn Malone for an 8.5 point ride in his semifinal match up on Day 2.

The final event of the series takes place at Piha at the end of February (26-27 February). 

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.

Report: Ben Kennings/Surfing New Zealand
Photos: Derek Morrison

Full Results Day 2 Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge
February 13, 2022

Under 18 Boys Division Round 1
Heat 1

Kalani Louis (Tara), 13.34, 1, Jack McKenzie (Chch), 7.6, 2, Tawhia Wellby (Rag), 6.76, 3, Connor Van Der Pol (Mnt), 6.17, 4

Heat 2
Kalani Louis (Tara), 8.87, 1, Noah O’Malley (Auck), 6.4, 2, Campbell Heasley (Chch), 4.5, 3, Jack McKenzie (Chch), 4.37, 4

Heat 3
Noah O’Malley (Auck), 8, 1, Campbell Heasley (Chch), 7.24, Ben Fougere (Piha), 3.7, 3, Charlie Webb ( Auck), 3.4, 4

Heat 4
Izaak Hayes (Whngerei), 10.47, 1, Navryn Malone (Rag), 8.86, 2, Noah Camburn (Whaka), 8.77, 3, Jai Wallis (Piha), 8, 4

Heat 5
Luke Dymond (Mnt), 9.1, 1, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Whngrei), 7.13, 2, Finn Vette (Gis), 6.7, 3, Lennox McBride (Mnt), 4.5, 4

Heat 6
Bill Byers (Piha), 13.5, 1, Ari D’Anvers (Whngrei), 8.24, 2, Ben Moretti (Ahipara), 7.9, 3, Evan Broad (Hbay), 3.43, 4

Heat 7
George Roberts (ChCh), 10.24, 1, Tyler Perry (Kaik), 8.1, 2, Harper McBride (Mnt), 3.23, 3, Ollie Greetis (Rag), 2.43, 4

Under 18 Boys Division Quarterfinals
Heat 1

Kalani Louis (Tara), 8.87, 1, Noah O’Malley (Auck), 6.4, 2, Campbell Heasley (Chch), 4.5, 3, Jack McKenzie (Chch), 4.37, 4

Heat 2
Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Whngrei), 10.9, 1, Navryn Malone (Rag), 8.97, 2, Izaak Hayes (Whngerei), 5.8, 3, Luke Dymond (Mnt), 3.93, 4

Heat 3
Tyler Perry (Kaik), 8.77, 1, Bill Byers (Piha), 7.5, 2, George Roberts (ChCh), 4.44, 3, Ari D’Anvers (Whngrei), 4.13, 4

Under 18 Boys Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Navryn Malone (Rag), 15.2, 1, Bill Byers (Piha), 10.4, 2, Kalani Louis (Tara), 9.2, 3

Heat 2
Tyler Perry (Kaik), 11.6, 1, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Whngrei), 9.93, 2, Noah O’Malley (Auck), 7.63, 3

Under 18 Boys Division Final
Bill Byers (Piha), 11.96, 1, Navryn Malone (Rag), 11.83, 2, Tyler Perry (Kaik), 11.57, 3, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Whngrei), 9.8, 4

Under 18 Girls Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 9.57, 1, Ava Henderson (Chch), 7.93, 2, Ruby Lobb (Gis), 4.3, 3, Isla Prins (Hbay), 4.17, 4

Heat 2
Liv Haysom (Piha), 11.3, 1, Asia Braithwaite (Gis), 9.9, 2, Anna Brock (Mnt), 6.7, 3, Taya Morrison (Dun), 2.36, 4

Under 18 Girls Division Final
Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 11.64, 1, Ava Henderson (Chch), 9.5, 2, Liv Haysom (Piha), 8.7, 3Asia Braithwaite (Gis), 8.64, 4

Under 16 Boys Division Round of 36
Heat 1

Ben Milne (WGM), 6.07, 1, James Charlesworth (Auck), 5.13, 2, Leo Hobson (Mur), 3.17, 3

Heat 2
Joe Goodjohn (Mnt), 13.3, 1, Will Lockhart (Whiti), 8.26, 2, Rocco Gillies (WGM), 3.43, 3, Ben Rhodes (Hbay), 1.6, 4

Under 16 Boys Division Round of 32
Heat 1

Spencer Rowson (Tara), 12, 1, Soren Bucka – Christensen (Tara), 7.16, 2, Karne Gabbott (Dun), 5.94, 3, Asher O’Donnell (Whngrei), 2.8, 4

Heat 2
Tai Murphy (Whaka), 12.3, 1, Manu Roberts (Tai), 8, 2, Ben Milne (WGM), 3.8, 3, Kalani Watts (Tara), 2.67, 4

Heat 3
Ashton Rogers (WGM), 7.47, 1, George Laery (Mnt), 7.07, 2, Christian Fougere (Piha), 5.73, 3, Otis Baxter (WGM), 2.8, 4

Heat 4
Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 11.4, 1, Tava Santorik (Mnt), 9.97, 2, Will Lockhart (Whiti), 4.67, 3, Mathias Thompson (Piha), 3.33, 4

Heat 5
Jack Tyro (Chch), 8.54, 1, Joe Goodjohn (Mnt), 6.07, 2, Cooper Ashill (Whngrei), 4.5, 3, Hunter Lynch (Gis), 1.07, 4

Heat 6
Will Hardie (Piha), 8.1, 1, Taj Millar Dal Bosco (WGM), 7.1, 2, Max Phillips (Gis), 5.5, 3, Harry Prins (Hbay), 2.17, 4

Heat 7
James Charlesworth (Auck), 6.97, 1, Beau Woods (Mnt), 6, 2, Nate Florence (Tara), 5.57, 3, Taylor Mainwaring (WGM), 2.53, 4

Heat 8
Lewis Murphy (Dun), 8.47, 1, Dale Cromhout (Hbay), 7.77, 2, Rakiatea Tau (Chch), 5.4, 3, Hugo Sale (Mnt), 4.43, 4

Under 16 Boys Division Quarterfinals
Heat 1

Spencer Rowson (Tara), 8.03, 1, Tava Santorik (Mnt), 7.97, 2, Tai Murphy (Whaka), 7.54, 3, George Laery (Mnt), 3.03, 4

Heat 2
Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 8.67, 1, Soren Bucka – Christensen (Tara), 6.87, 2, Ashton Rogers (WGM), 6.6, 3, Manu Roberts (Tai), 5.77, 4

Heat 3
Will Hardie (Piha), 12.9, 1, Jack Tyro (Chch), 7.87, 2, Dale Cromhout (Hbay), 7.84, 3, Beau Woods (Mnt), 6.67, 4

Heat 4
Taj Millar Dal Bosco (WGM), 7.47, 1, Joe Goodjohn (Mnt), 7.1, 2, Lewis Murphy (Dun), 6.47, 3, James Charlesworth (Auck), 4.7, 4

Under 16 Boys Division Semifinals
Heat 1

Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 13, 1, Spencer Rowson (Tara), 12.8, 2, Tava Santorki (Mnt), 8, 3, Soren Bucka – Christensen (Tara), 6.87, 4

Heat 2
Jack Tyro (Chch), 12.3, 1, Will Hardie (Piha), 11.6, 2, Joe Goodjohn (Mnt), 11.3, 3, Taj Millar Dal Bosco (WGM), 10.2, 4

Under 16 Boys Division Final
Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 14.26, 1, Spencer Rowson (Tara), 10.90, 2, Jack Tyro (Chch), 10.10, 3,Will Hardie (Piha), 8.2, 4

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