A new, nationally sanctioned event for surfers under the age of 20 will take place at Mount Maunganui in early May.
The Aerial7 Backdoor Pro Junior surfing event will take place on either May 4 or 5 - whichever day produces the best surf.
The addition of the event, which is being hosted by local Bay Boardriders Club, sees the Under-20 Boys Division joined by an Under-20 Girls Division, an age category that is generally not contested by females in New Zealand. The event will have a $1,700 cash prize pool as well as prizes up for grabs.
The Bay of Plenty continues to reap the rewards of a stellar summer of surf and as we head into the depths of autumn, it is hoped that the run of swell continues for this event come the start of May.
Current Under-20 Boys ratings leader, Dune Kennings (WGM), is fresh back from a two-event stint in Tahiti where he has been competing on the ASP Australasian Pro Junior Series. Kennings placed 17th at both events and is looking forward to coming back to New Zealand and competing against guys his own ability level.
"It will be good to go into the Pro Junior event at the Mount as number one seed," said Kennings. "I have been in Tahiti and Aussie competing and the standard of surfing is so high, it has been good to go over there and lift my levels, but I look forward to surfing against guys my own ability when we go to the Mount."
Local Mount Maunganui surfer and New Zealand representative Mackenzie Christie will be another surfer to watch at the event.
Christie most recently won the Under-18 Boys Division at the Backdoor GromBash, his first national level win.
"It is so good to have an event like this at home," said Christie, who attends Tauranga Boys' College. "It gives local surfers a bit of an advantage and I feel I have been surfing good recently so I am looking forward to this event to complete my competitive build up for the World Junior Championships in Nicaragua in June."
With Ella Williams (WGM) absent from the event as she starts her campaign at the ISA World Surfing Games in Panama, the field widens for an inaugural winner of the Girls Division. The Sansom twins of Albany will be hard to beat with Gabriella winning the most recent Backdoor GromBash event at Raglan. NZ Junior Surfing team members from Gisborne, Jasmine Smith and Dayna Story, will also use this event as the last warm up before heading to the World Junior Champs.