Mount Maunganui surfer Luke Griffin has had his first taste of winning a national surfing event - an experience that has left him "feeling pumped" and hungry for more.
The Tauranga Boys' College student competed in the Billabong Grom Series in Whangamata, taking the win in a tight contest over Whakatane's Jack Lee. It was his "first ever win" since he started competing five years ago.
Competition had to move to the estuary beach due to 2m-plus waves on the main beach which would have proven difficult for most competitors. The southern end of Whangamata offered up small waves around the 1m mark, with onshore winds and sunny skies.
Griffin won his final posting a 15.7 point heat total in a tight contest over Lee. He was "feeling pumped" to have secured the win, putting it down to being particular in the waves he was selecting in the heats and riding the right equipment - thanks to his surfing, board-shaping brother Jordan Griffin.
"It's definitely showed me what I need to do to win finals, I kind of realised now. It's definitely made me hungry to win more," Griffin said.
"I ride my brother's boards and he has finally hit the mark and this board is working for me and I think that was the difference.
"It was also about getting consistent in my heats instead of making a semi or a final and missing out. I was just trying to get the good waves and get the good scores and it worked."
He's been testing out boards, thumb tails and round tails, and feels confident in heading into the next round of the series.
The Whangamata competition on February 9 and 10 was event two of the series. The Billabong Grom Series is split into three divisions for boys and girls, ranging from under-14 through to under-18.
Fellow Mount Maunganui surfers, the Brock sisters dominated the under-14 Girls Division of the Billabong Grom Series in Whangamata finishing in the top two in the final, with older sister Anna getting the nod over Sophia.
The first round of the series was held at Mount Maunganui on January 26 and 27 and the third will take place in Piha on February 23 and 24.
Griffin is looking forward to Piha in just over a week and has a plan in place that includes continuing to test out equipment, focusing on heats and heat strategies and getting out for a surf as much as possible in the lead-up to the next round.
"My goal is definitely to take out the whole series."
His next goal is to make the New Zealand team this year, following in the footsteps of his father Phil Griffin.
"My dad was in the New Zealand team and my brother has been a big influencer for me."
Billabong Grom Series, Whangamata, results:
Under-18 Boys Division final:
1st Luke Griffin (Mount Maunganui), 15.7; 2nd Jack Lee (Whakatane), 14.9; 3rd Luis Southwood (Whakatane), 11.2; 4th Caleb Cutmore (Hamilton), 9.07.
Under-16 Boys Division final:
1st Jayden Willoughby (Rag), 15.13; 2nd Tom Butland (Taranaki), 11.77; 3rd Kora Cooper (Raglan), 11.2; 4th Tom Robinson (Whangarei), 10.03.
Under-14 Boys Division final:
1st Ryder Pennington (Tara), 15.1; 2nd Bill Byers (Piha), 11.5; 3rd Navryn Malone (Raglan), 10.6; 4th Tai Erceg-Gray (Whangarei), 8.3.
Under-18 Girls Division final:
1st Kai Woolf (Raglan), 13.0; 2nd Estella Hungerford (Christchurch), 10.0; 3rd Gabrielle Paul (Auckland), 3.9; 4th Baylin Klein Ovink (Auckland), 3.16.
Under-16 Girls Division final:
1st Ava Henderson (Christchurch), 13.5; 2nd Alice Westerkamp (Auckland), 8.87; 3rd Brie Bennett (Raglan), 8.44; 4th Liv Haysom (Piha), 4.56.
Under-14 Girls Division final:
1st Anna Brock (Mount Maunganui), 9.17; 2nd Sophia Brock (Mount Maunganui), 6.64; 3rd Asia Braithwaite (Gisborne), 5.4; 4th Amanda Gouldsbury (Taranaki), 4.04.