Whangarei surfer Te Kauwhata Kauwhata and Christchurch’s Ava Henderson have taken out the Sequence Surf Shop Gisborne Junior Pro this weekend, the last of the national events for the summer season.
The two surfers dominated after it was decided to move the final day of the event to Red Bus at Makorori Beach.
Gisborne produced the goods for the final day of the event with clean 1.0m waves fanned by light offshore winds all day.
“It feels really good to win one of these events. I have been doing them since the Under 14 Boys Division and it just feels good to finally get the win,” says Kauwhata/
“I have made the finals before in the 14s and 16s but to put together a good heat in the final is so awesome”.
Kauwhata credits the win to his time at Raglan Surfing Academy this year.
“I have had the most support from coaches and surfing good waves every day has given me the chance to improve my surfing heaps.”
Kauwhata took the win in the tightest final of the day with first through third separated by just over half a point.
Fellow academy student Tyler Perry (Kaik) finished the final in second place having led for much of the 20 minutes.
Jai Wallis came back late in the final with a well surfed 6.73 to get himself into contention but his last wave of 4.43 came up just short of the 5.05 point requirement for the win.
Hawke's Bay surfer Luca Rendle finished the final in fourth place.
Ava Henderson made the most of her time at Gisborne in the lead up to the World Junior Championships, coming away with a win in the Under 18 Girls Division.
“I guess in a way, this comp was good to get my mind off the worlds,” says Henderson.
“I wanted to come here with the Academy and have some fun, go right for a change ‘cos I am always going left at Raglan and get a bit of heat prep in at the same time she added.
Henderson surfed to a 12.60 point heat total in the final.
“Its been so much fun this weekend and the win tops it off. The surf has been pumping, perfect for us groms – 2-3ft, clean, fun sections.”
Henderson departs for El Salvador on Saturday along with the rest of the New Zealand Junior Team and admits her second chance at the Worlds is starting to play on her mind.
“Yeah, I am starting to think about the Worlds a bit and the nerves are coming on but I just have to focus on what I know, the turns I have down pat and have a good time.”
Henderson defeated Asia Braithwaite in the final with Isla Prins placing third and Amelie Wink (Chch) finishing in fourth.
Tava Santorik (Mnt) won his first ever event of the New Zealand Grom Series taking out the Under 16 Boys Division.
Santorik kicked off his final with a 6.5 point ride and backed it up with a 5.17 late in the heat for the win.
All three of Santorik’s opponents were in contention for the win but went for broke trying to find the big scores and fell on a number of occasions.
Raglan’s Theo Morse surfed his way into second place, his best ever result.
Dale Cromhout (HBay) finished in third place ahead of first-time finalist Christian Fougere (Piha) in fourth.
Chloe Groube (Pau) smashed the final of the Under 16 Girls Division taking the win and the Sequence Surf Shop Biggest/Best Turn in the process.
A 13.70 point heat total was enough to require a combination of scores for her opponents to catch her.
Mahia Braithwaite (Gis) finished in second place in the final ahead of East Cape surfers Casey Dewes (East Cape) and TeWaiotu Farlie in third and fourth respectively.
Tyler Stenzel (Mnt) made his comeback to events a memorable one with a win in the Under 14 Boys Division.
In an epic little clash of the groms, Stenzel picked off the best two waves of the final to seal a comfortable win with a 13.90 point heat total.
Sol Fritchley (Mnt) battled Stenzel all event but came off second best in the final to leave the weekend tally at 2-1 to Stenzel.
Fritchley edged out Indica Corcoran (Mnt) who finished in third and first-time finalist Zac Becroft (Piha) finished in fourth.
Raglan’s Maya Mateja stormed to victory in the Under 14 Girls Division. Mateja surfed to a 12.27 point heat total in the final.
Her best wave came in at a 6.10 for a critical backhand snap in the pocket.
Whangarei’s Indi-Lee Ruddell finished the final in second place, just ahead of current series leader Poppy Entwisle (Chch) in third and Lani Frazerhurst (Rag) in fourth.
The groms took to the Sequence Surf Biggest/Best Turn Award with the final winners being the following.
Under 18 Boys – Tyler Perry
Under 18 Girls – Ava Henderson
Under 16 Boys – Dale Cromhout
Under 16 Girls – Chloe Groube
Under 14 Boys – Indica Corcoran
Under 14 Girls – Maya Mateja
The Volkswagen x Skinnies Wave of the Day for Sunday went to Chloe Groube for a 7.60 point ride in the final and Tyler Perry for an 8.77 point ride in the semifinals.
Full results from the event can be viewed on Live Heats.