Raglan Surfers Dominate Grom Series Opener At The Mount

Raglan surfers have swept four of the six divisions at the first event of the 2021 Billabong Grom Series held at Mount Maunganui this weekend including both the premier Under 18 Divisions.

In a stunning display of surfing, titles went to Kora Cooper, Brie Bennett, Navryn Malone and Maya Mateja.  Additional titles went to Asia Braithwaite (Gis) in the Under 16 Girls Division and Tyler Stenzel (Mnt) in the Under 14 Boys Division.

Navryn Malone makes the most of the small conditions to win the Under 16 boys. Photo: Cory Scott/Surfing NZ

The forecasted bump in the swell never eventuated with surfers battling small waves of around 0.5m and sea breeze winds all day at Tay Street.

Raglan’s four titles saw the Point Boardriders Club take the honours for the first junior event of the season.

Jayden Willoughby (above) was unable to pip Kora Cooper in the Under 18s. Photo: Cory Scott/Surfing NZ

Kora Cooper played the patience game in the Under 18 Boys Division final taking an early lead then waiting for a good last wave to cement the win. His approach was not without drama however, as his lead was eclipsed by Jayden Willoughby (Rag) late in the final. Cooper’s patience eventually paid off with a nice left and a two-turn combo putting him in the lead with a 6.67-point ride and 12.5-point heat total to take the win.

Willoughby finished runner-up ahead of National Champion Finn Vette (Gis) in third and local surfer Jacob Saunders in fourth.

National Champ Finn Vette had to settle for third at the Mount. Photo: Cory Scott/Surfing NZ

Brie Bennett surfed to a win in the Under 18 Girls Division on a borrowed board from good friend and runner-up Ariana Shewry (Tara). Bennett surfed to an 8.93-point heat total with the top three all within a point of one another, Shewry on 8.27 points and Liv Haysom (Piha) on 8.0. Taranaki surfer Natasha Gouldsbury finished close behind in fourth place.

Natasha Gouldsbury was unable to put Taranaki atop the podium in the small waves. Photo: Cory Scott/Surfing NZ

Raglan’s Navryn Malone surfed to an 11.84-point heat total in the tough low-tide conditions to win the Under 16 Boys Division. A couple of fast-paced backhand reos on his best scoring ride were enough to separate him from his opponents. Bill Byers (Piha) and National Champion Tao Mouldey (Mnt) chased valiantly, but ultimately finished in second and third respectively with Jack Tyro (Chch) finishing in fourth.

Gisborne surfer Asia Braithwaite snatched a win in the Under 16 Girls Division after Anna Brock (Mnt) led during the early stages. It was Braithewaite’s second win at national level and was secured with a 5.5-point ride toward the end of the final, which was enough to push out to a decent lead that she could defend. Brock finished in second ahead of younger sister Sophia with Leia Millar (Piha) finishing in fourth.

Asia Braithwaite on her way to a win in the Under 16s. Photo: Cory Scott/Surfing NZ

Local groms dominated the Under 14 Boys Division with three finalists. Tyler Stenzel and Cooper Roberts exchanged the lead multiple times before Stenzel came out on top. Roberts finished in second ahead of first-time finalist Christian Fougere (Piha) in third and Tava Santorik (Mnt) in fourth.

Local surfer Jacob Saunders finished fourth in the Under 18 final. Photo: Cory Scott/Surfing NZ

The Under 14 Girls Division saw a two-way battle for the win with Maya Mateja eventually getting the nod over Chloe Groube (Pau) after the lead switched several times during the final. Lola Groube finished in third with Talia Da Silva (Whngrei) in fourth.

The Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge offers three of nine events nationwide where grommets can take part before the final in May, which caters for the top 16 boys and eight girls in the Under 18 and 16 Divisions.

The opening event is made possible thanks to the generous support of Billabong, presenting sponsors Oceanbridge, Kustom, Von Zipper and Dakine. Thanks also to Bay Boardriders for hosting the event.

The sixteenth edition of the series draws on a long history of fun with all of New Zealand’s current crop of elite surfers having taken part including Richard Christie (Gis), Paige Hareb (Tara), Billy Stairmand (Rag), Mount Maunganui’s own Kehu Butler and Ella Williams (WGM).

Story: Ben Kennings/Surfing NZ
Photos: Cory Scott/Surfing NZ

Full results from Round 1 of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge.
Tay Street, Mount Maunganui, January 31, 2021.

Under 18 Boys Division Quarterfinals
Heat 1
Isaac Klein – Ovink (Mnt), 10.4, 1, Finn Vette (Gis), 9.5, 2, Sam Charlesworth (Auck), 8.13, 3, Harper McBride (Mnt), 5.97, 4
Heat 2
Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 12, 1, Jacob Saunders (Mnt), 8.97, 2, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 8.2, 3, Kobey Gregory (Hbay), 6.86, 4
Heat 3
Jack Hinton (Mnt), 9, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 8.84, 2, Josef Jungwirth (Rag), 8.7, 3, Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Whngtrei), 5.7, 4

Under 18 Boys Division Semifinals
Heat 1
Jacob Saunders (Mnt), 11.3, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 7.7, 2, Isaac Klein – Ovink (Mnt), 5.6, 3
Heat 2
Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 9.94, 1, Finn Vette (Gis), 9.9, 2, Jack Hinton (Mnt), 8.17, 3

Under 18 Boys Division Final
Kora Cooper (Rag), 12.5, 1, Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 10.3, 2, Finn Vette (Gis), 9.97, 3, Jacob Saunders (Mnt), 7.5, 4

Under 16 Boys Quarterfinals
Heat 1
Kalani Louis (Tara), 11.3, 1, Beau Woods (mnt), 7.76, 2, Tai Erceg – Gray (Whngrei), 6.83, 3, Tai Murphy (Whaka), 5.93, 4
Heat 2
Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 9.84, 1, Jack Tyro (Chch), 9.53, 2, George Laery (Mnt), 3.94, 3, James Charlesworth (Auck), 1, 4
Heat 3
Navryn Malone (Rag), 7.77, 1, Mathias Thompson (Piha), 6.3, 2, Izaak Hayes (Whngrei), 6, 3, Noah Camburn (Whaka), 3.03, 4
Heat 4
Bill Byers (Piha), 8.2, 1, Tana Clapham (Rag), 7.2, 2, Will Hardie (Piha), 5.96, 3, Braedon Webster (Ohope), 3.97, 4

Under 16 Boys Division Semifinals
Heat 1
Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 9.5, 1, Jack Tyro (Chch), 8.83, 2, Kalani Louis (Tara), 8.6, 3, Beau Woods (mnt), 6.86, 4
Heat 2
Navryn Malone (Rag), 7.54, 1, Bill Byers (Piha), 7.4, 2, Mathias Thompson (Piha), 5.2, 3, Tana Clapham (Rag), 4.33, 4

Under 16 Boys Division Final
Navryn Malone (Rag), 11.84, 1, Bill Byers (Piha), 9.87, 2, Tao Mouldey (Mnt), 9.37, 3, Jack Tyro (Chch), 7.16, 4

Under 14 Boys Division Quarterfinals
Heat 1
Tyler Stenzel (Mnt), 11.2, 1, Zeke Pregert (Piha), 9.13, 2, Kauai Rahui (Whgrei), 8.04, 3, Vitor Kokemper (Mnt), 7.23, 4
Heat 2
Cooper Roberts (Mnt), 9.84, 1, Ezekiel Wyper (Tai), 6.9, 2, Ashton Rogers (WGM), 6.53, 3, Gabriel Lobb (Gis), 4.53, 4
Heat 3
Tava Santorik (Mnt), 9, 1, Christian Fougere (Piha), 6.96, 2, PJ Klein Ovink (Mnt), 6.02, 3, Jesse Frazerhurst (Auck), 5.67, 4
Heat 4
Indica Corcoran (Mnt), 8.1, 1, Theo Morse (Orewa), 7.54, 2, Taj Dal Bosco (WGM), 7.53, 3, Dale Cromhout (Hbay), 4.07, 4

Under 14 Boys Division Semifinals
Heat 1
Tyler Stenzel (Mnt), 9.57, 1, Cooper Roberts (Mnt), 8.13, 2, Zeke Pregert (Piha), 6.1, 3, Ezekiel Wyper (Tai), 5.47, 4
Heat 2
Tava Santorik (Mnt), 8.43, 1, Christian Fougere (Piha), 6.07, 2, Indica Corcoran (Mnt), 5.26, 3, Theo Morse (Orewa), 4.64, 4

Under 14 Boys Division Final
Tyler Stenzel (Mnt), 10.74, 1, Cooper Roberts (Mnt), 10.07, 2, Christian Fougere (Piha), 7.96, 3, Tava Santorik (Mnt), 6.23, 4

Under 18 Girls Division Semifinals
Heat 1
Brie Bennett (Rag), 10.1, 1, Ariana Shewry (Tara), 6.9, 2, Alice Westerkamp, 6.67, 3
Heat 2
Natasha Gouldsbury (Levin), 9.5, 1, Liv Haysom (Piha), 4.22, 2, Sky Gundry (Whngrei), 1.3, 3

Under 18 Girls Division Final
Brie Bennett (Rag), 8.93, 1, Ariana Shewry (Tara), 8.27, 2, Liv Haysom (Piha), 8, 3, Natasha Gouldsbury (Levin), 6.7, 4

Under 16 Girls Division Semifinals
Heat 1
Anna Brock (Mnt), 10.5, 1, Leia Millar (Piha), 8.23, 2, Pia Rogers (WGM), 3.9, 3, Mikayla Graham (Mnt), 2.5, 4
Heat 2
Asia Braithwaite (Gis), 9, 1, Sophia Brock (Mnt), 6.3, 2, Amanda Gouldsbury (Tara), 5.4, 3, Skylar McFetridge (Tara), 4.13, 4

Under 16 Girls Division Final
Asia Braithwaite (Gis), 9.6, 1, Anna Brock (Mnt), 9, 2, Sophia Brock (Mnt), 5.33, 3, Leia Millar (Piha), 5.13, 4

Under 14 Girls Division Semifinals
Heat 1
Chloe Groube (Pau), 8.34, 1, Lola Groube (Pau), 6.27, 2, Indi-Lee Ruddell (Whngrei), 3.56, 3, Alani Morse (Orewa), 1.1, 4
Heat 2
Maya Mateja (Rag), 9.23, 1, Talia Da Silva (Whngrei), 5.43, 2, Kyra Wallis (Piha), 3.2, 3, Ruby Milne (WGM), 2.84, 4

Under 14 Girls Division Final
Maya Mateja (Rag), 12.3, 1, Chloe Groube (Pau), 9.17, 2, Lola Groube (Pau), 3.73, 3, Talia Da Silva (Whngrei), 2.24, 4

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