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Kaikoura Grom Comp Concludes 2020 South Island Grom Series

The Kaikoura Grom Comp concluded the South Island Grom Series this weekend with the junior event attracting a huge field of surfers and bringing together families from throughout New Zealand.

Braydon Gregory in action during the Kaikoura Grom Comp. Photo: Derek Morrison

The solid swell that ran up the coast all week finally dissipated overnight leaving only a small swell of under 1m to start the event. However, under sunny skies and barely a breath of wind, conditions were great over the low tide during the middle of the day. Two arenas were contested to progress through the preliminary rounds and set up the final day of action on Sunday.

Unfortunately the swell dropped completely overnight to less than 30cm, wiping out any chance of competition concluding. In a rarity for South Island surfing contests, and after assessing the conditions at several nearby back-up options, the call was made to cancel the remainder of the event.

Placings were worked out on heat scores based off Saturday’s results.

Finals day is called off due to a lack of swell. Photo: Derek Morrison
Not often you get to see Meatworks this flat. Photo: Derek Morrison

Early standouts that advanced to the quarterfinals of the Under 18 Boys Division included number one seed and current South Island Grom Series rankings leader, Luis Southerwood (Whaka).

Southerwood posted the highest heat score of the day on the main podium – 16.17 points out of a total of 20.

“I haven’t surfed a heat in quite a few months,” Southerwood admitted. “I had jitters all last night and even the week leading into this event, but as soon as I got my first wave, it all went away.”

“I am pretty focused on this event and trying to finish the grom series on a high then go straight into the Scholastics and do my best. I just want to surf as many heats as I can while I am down here”.

Southerwood was joined by his Bay of Plenty Scholastics team mates Jack Hinton and Jacob Saunders who also advanced through their heats while Dunedin’s Luke Rogers and James Millar (Chch) took wins for the South Island.

PJ Klein Ovink, of Auckland, attacks the lip during the Kaikoura Grom Comp. Photo: Derek Morrison

Late in the day with the tide pushing in, it was decided to hold off the quarterfinals of the Under 18 Boys Division.

The South Island grommets dominated the Under 16 Boys Division with James Millar (Chch), Jai Oakley (Chch), Tyler Perry (Kaik), Jack McKenzie (Chch) and Tom Robertson (Chch) all winning their heats to advance through to the quarterfinals. McKenzie top scored in the round with an 11.7 point heat total.

Ava Henderson, of Christchurch, dominant again at the Kaikoura Grom Comp held at Meatworks. Photo: Derek Morrison

Ava Henderson carried out double duty in the Under 18s and 16s with the highest heat totals of the girls as she advanced through to the semi-finals.

“The surf isn’t too bad, it has a bit of power and being from Christchurch, you are used to this stuff,” said Henderson. “I have enjoyed watching the girls heats today, too. Leia Millar has been surfing really well and Liv Haysom smashed her heat too, plus heaps of others did really well.”

Leia Millar, of Piha, relishing the conditons at Meatworks. Photo: Derek Morrison

Henderson was followed closely by Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara) who also had two wins. Both surfers will be eyeing this event as a build up to the Scholastic Championships taking place the following week.

On the second podium, the Under 14 and Under 12 Divisions progressed through a number of heats with the conditions much more suited to the lightweights.

Christchurch surfer Benji Lowen continued his good form with a 16.67 point heat total in the Under 12 Boys Division. Lowen is fresh off a win in the Primary School Championships last weekend and his small wave flare stood out in today’s conditions. Lowen was joined Sonny Lyons (Kaik), Indica Corcoran (Mnt) and Sev Tolhurst as winners in the first round.

Sonny Lyons, of Kaikoura, makes his way through an Under 12 heat. Photo: Derek Morrison

Auckland’s Leia Millar advanced through the early rounds of the Under 14 Girls Division with some impressive surfing. One of her top rivals, and current rankings leader, Chloe Groube also advanced with the Pauanui surfer and her sister, Lola, impressing in the Under 12 Division also.

Leia Millar, of Piha, spots her landing as the high tide destroyed the lineup at Meatworks. Photo: Derek Morrison

The event continued to roll through rounds late into the afternoon in a bid to get through to the semi-finals of every division for the final day.

 The final heats ran frighteningly close to the rocky shoreline.

The Kaikoura Grom Comp is the fifth and final event of the New Zealand Grom Series for all, but the Under 16 Boys Division and also doubles as the final event of the South Island Grom Series.

The 2020 edition of the Kaikoura Grom Comp would not be possible without the support of You Travel Ferrymead, South Island Surfing Association and Kaikoura Boardriders.

Spectators and competitors enjoy the warm weather during the Kaikoura Grom Comp held at Meatworks, October 3-4, 2020. Photo: Derek Morrison


Report: Ben Kennings/Surfing New Zealand


Under 18 Boys

1st Myka Black
2nd Luke Rogers
3rd Jack Mckenzie
4th Tyler Perry

Under 18 Girls

1st Leah Wilson
2nd Ameile Wink
3rd Ava Henderson
4th Anika Ayson

Under 16 Boys

1st James Miller
2nd Luke rogers
3rd Reuben Lyons
4th = Tyler Perry and Jack Mckenzie

Under 16 Girls

1st Leah Wilson
2nd Amelie Wink
3rd Eloise Addison
4th Ava Henderson

Under 14 Boys

1st Jack Tyro
2nd Alexis Owen
3rd Benji Lowen
4th Rakiatea Tau

Under 14 Girls

1st Poppy Entwhistle
2nd Tessa Gabbot
3rd Amelie Clark
4th Rewa Morrison

Under 12 Boys

1st Alexis Owen
2nd Benji Lowen
3rd Sonny Lyons
4th Ryder Townsend

Under 12 Girls

1st Tessa Gabbot
2nd Amelie Clark
3rd Poppy Entwhistle
4th Tessa Langman


1st North Wai                               87 points
2nd South Coast Boardriders    74 points
3rd Point Surf Team                    73 points
4th Kaikoura Surf Groms            31 points

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