New Zealand teammates Taylor Hutchison (Raglan) and Mount Maunganui's Raiha Ensor have returned to the winners circle in the second event of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge at Piha on Sunday with both claiming their respective under-20 divisions.
The surf never built as quickly as expected but the surf increased from 1m early in the morning as the tide went out in the afternoon and the sea breeze increased.
Hutchison opened up a quick lead in his final with his precision backhand scoring 17.0 points out of 20 in the first 10 minutes to combo his opponents. Daniel Farr (Tara) fought back after a slow start but he never found the right waves to challenge Hutchison and ended up with back-to-back runnerup finishes for the series.
Callum Chuter (Mount Maunganui) finished in third place narrowly edged out by Farr with the winner of the first event, Harrison Whiteside (Christchurch), backing up with another finals result and fourth place overall.
Ensor returned to domestic competition after a long stint in Australia competing in the Pro Junior and World Qualifying Series events. She looked super strong in her performance posting a 13.40 heat total.
"I haven't had the best luck in Australia and have hardly made it out of the first round so it is good coming home to familiar events you know and getting through heats and then winning the final is real good too," Ensor said.
She heads back to Australia this week to compete in two more Pro Junior events.
Placing second in the final was Raglan surfer Indica Ratima who put in her best competitive performance ever at the event. Milly Crewe (Taranaki) returned to competition to place third in the final with Claudia Fraser (Piha) in fourth.
Elliot Brown (Dunedin) was the only surfer to win back-to-back events after taking out a close final in the under-17 Boys Division with a 15.63 point heat total. Brown went wave-for-wave with Dylan Preston (Mount Maunganui) but snuck the win. Preston posted an 8.67 point ride on his first wave but was unable to find the required 6.98 to claim the win after he fell on his final turn of the final to score 6.03.
William Van Der Beek (Mount Maunganui) went one better than the first round of the series to finish third ahead of local surfer Shane Kraus in fourth.
After a runnerup finish at the first event of the series, Elin Tawharu (Mount Maunganui) looked like she was surfing with purpose in the under-17 girls final and scored 13.33 points out of a possible 20 to take the victory. As a result of the win, she also jumps into the lead on the rankings.
Fellow Mount Maunganui surfer Tiana Breeze de Mooij placed second in the final after strong performances all weekend. Winner of the first event, Saffi Vette (Gisborne) placed third in the final ahead of first time finalist Aimee Brown (Great Barrier) in fourth.