Surfing: Mt Maunganui girls supreme

Mount Maunganui surfers had a great day at the Whangamata leg of the Billabong Grom Series held on Sunday in clean 1.0m waves and light onshore winds.

Kehu Butler, Raiha Ensor and Teina Smith won their respective divisions with Teina the only new champion, winning the under-12 girls division.

The stronghold Mount Maunganui has on the girls side of surfing was never more evident than in the under-14 girls division that was filled with four of their surfers. Ensor made it two wins from two events scoring 11.80 points in the under-14 girls final after another battle with Kea Smith, who finished with 10.43 points and a runner-up finish. Maaia Reid-Bennett placed third in the final ahead of Elin Tawharu in fourth.

Teina Smith dominated the under-12 girls final charging out the back and catching several long waves on her own. Grace Pevats (Whangarei) also took some big take-offs unassisted and despite a few hefty wipeouts, showed amazing courage to finish in second place. Third went to first-time competitor Georgia Humphreys from the Wairarapa ahead of Iritana Butler (Mount) in fourth.

Kehu Butler (14), who was surfing up an age group in the under-16 boys, led his final from start to finish, posting 13.2 out of a possible 20 points in the final.

The only time his lead was challenged was in the final 30 seconds when Harrison Whiteside (Christchurch) completed two big powerful manoeuvres to score a 7.1 point ride - the highest of the final but short of the 8.5 point ride required for the win.

"Yeah, I was kinda shaking a little bit and I was like 'oh no' when he got that last ride," said Butler in reference to Whiteside's last wave.

"I am just happy to win again, I had fun at Whanga, I always do, and I am looking forward to Piha 'cause there are always waves there too. I want to finish the series with another good result."

Whiteside finished the final in second place which was a vast improvement on his semifinal finish at the first event. Isaac Kettle (Taranaki) placed third in the final which was one better than the first event of the series while Callum Chuter (Mount) made his first final at this level of competition and finished fourth.

The under-16 girls final was the closest of the day with the lead swinging several times before Jasmine Smith (Gisborne) zeroed in on her second straight win in the series. Smith finished with a 10.50 point heat total, her last two waves scoring 4.9 and 5.63.

"This is my last Billabong Grom Series event ever so I wanted to win so bad. It was one of my goals to win two events this year because I can't make the final event," said Smith who will be absent from event three at Mount Maunganui - it clashes with the Surf Lifesaving Nationals.

The second of two wins for local surfer Tane Bowden came in the under-14 boys division. Butler finished the final in second place on 11.40 points.

Tane Bowden (Whangamata) claimed his first of two wins in the under-12 boys with a massive 15.90 points. Bowden had no mercy on his less-experienced opponents as he warmed up for his big under-14 boys final match up. Luke Griffin (Mount) came second in the final ahead of James Ririnui (Mount) in third.


Under-16 Boys Final: Kehu Butler (Arataki), 13.17, 1, Harrison Whiteside (Chch), 11.43, 2, Isaac Kettle (Tara), 8.07, 3, Callum Chuter (Tau), 6.27, 4.

Under-14 Boys Final: Tane Bowden (Whmata), 16.23, 1, Kehu Butler (Arataki), 11.40, 2, Daniel Farr (Tara), 9.83, 3, Lee Ririnui (Mnt), 7.13, 4.

Under-12 Boys Final: Tane Bowden (Whmata), 15.90, 1, Luke Griffin (Mt), 6.77, 2, James Ririnui (Mnt), 5.80, 3, Josef Jungwirth (Gis), 5.07, 4.

Under-16 Girls Final: Jasmine Smith (Gis), 10.53, 1, Abby Falwasser - Logan (Gis), 10.0, 2, Claudia Fraser (Auck), 9.17, 3, Kea Smith (Mnt), 8.17, 4.

Under-14 Girls Final: Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 11.8, 1, Kea Smith (Mnt), 10.43, 2, Maaia Reid-Bennett (Arataki), 7.9, 3, Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 6.58, 4.

Under-12 Girls Final: Teina Smith (Tau), 13.17, 1, Grace Pevats (Whrei), 11.57, 2, Georgia Humphreys (Wairarapa), 9.87, 3, Iritana Butler (Arataki), 4.30, 4.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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