Mount Maunganui's Tao Mouldey has a pretty simple daily routine; finish school, get to the beach, surf for as long as possible.
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To say the 12-year-old is at home in the water is an understatement, he loves it and that passion paid dividends at the weekend as he won the under-14 boys' division at the first round of the Billabong Grom Series in Mount Maunganui.
Tao was dominant on his way to the final. He won his first heat with a score of 10.87 and the second - in the round of 32 - with a 13.84 to progress to the quarterfinals.
He scored eight to win his quarterfinal and 14.33 to cruise through the semi. Tao held his nerve in the final, producing a score of 11.03 to take the win.
Having competed at the event for the first time last year, he returned this year with a great desire to win.
"I was pretty happy, it's my first time winning this event so I'm stoked. I reckon I was just surfing better and got better waves. I just try to get on the right wave and surf well. There were some really good surfers today but the waves were pretty small.
"I've been surfing since I was 4. It's just so much fun being in the water and hanging out with my mates."
He said he surfs every day after school and some days before school as well but he never gets sick of it.
"I always look forward to it. My goal is to make the WSL (World Surf League) one day. You've got to go on the QS (Qualifying Series) and get a certain amount of points to go on the Championship tour."
National champ Jack Lee hungry for more surfing success in 2020
On day one on Saturday, the action was non stop as the best Kiwi groms made the most of the small 0.5m swell. With two arenas taking over the beach to cater for the repechage rounds, anyone not on their game stood to miss out.
The Under-18 Boys' Division surfed their way through to the final and while conditions suited the Under-14s more than them, national champion Jack Lee, of Whakatāne looked ominous as usual. He was joined by his mate Luis Southerwood, Muriwai's Taylor O'Leary and Tom Butland, of Taranaki, to make up the final four.
In the under-18 final on Sunday it was Southerwood who produced the goods, scoring 9.4 to take the win. Butland was second with 8 points and Lee was third with 6.07.
In the Under-18 Girls' Division, the final was between two surfers. Mount Maunganui's Georgia Wedderell took the win at home with 7.44 and Estella Hungerford of Christchurch was second with 5.8.
Billabong Grom Series - Round One Results
1st Luis Southerwood (Whakatāne), 2nd Tom Butland (Taranaki), 3rd Jack Lee (Whakatāne).
1st Georgia Wedderell (Mount Maunganui), 2nd Estella Hungerford (Christchurch).
1st Kora Cooper (Raglan), 2nd Jayden Willoughby (Raglan), 3rd Te Kauwhata Kauwhata (Sandy Bay).
1st Amarnie Barber (Australia), 2nd Natasha Gouldsbury (Taranaki), 3rd Liv Haysom (Piha).
1st Tao Mouldey (Mount Maunganui), 2nd Indica Corcoran (mount Maunganui), 3rd Tyler Stenzel (Mount Maunganui).
1st Leia Miller (Piha), 2nd Chloe Groube (Pau), 3rd Amanda Gouldsbury (Taranaki).