A young Whangārei surfer has ended the summer season on a high after winning the Sequence Surf Shop Gisborne Junior Pro title over the weekend.
Te Kauwhata Kauwhata claimed the top podium spot in the under-18 boys division of the last national event for the summer season.
The surfer dominated after it was decided to move the final day of the event to Red Bus at Makorori Beach. Fortunately, Gisborne produced the goods for the finale with clean 1m waves fanned by light offshore winds all day.
"It feels really good to win one of these events. I have been doing them since the under-14 boys division and it just feels good to finally get the win," Kauwhata said.
"I have made the finals before in the 14s and 16s, but to put together a good heat in the final is so awesome".
Kauwhata credited his victory to the time he spent at the Raglan Surfing Academy this year.
"I have had the most support from coaches and surfing good waves every day has given me the chance to improve my surfing heaps."
Kauwhata took the win in the tightest final of the day with first to third separated by just over half a point.
Fellow academy student Tyler Perry, of Kaikoura, finished the final in second place having led for much of the 20 minutes.
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Ava Henderson made the most of her time at Gisborne in the leadup to the World Junior Championships, coming away with a win in the under-18 girls division.
Henderson surfed to a 12.60-point heat total in the final.
"It's been so much fun this weekend and the win tops it off. The surf has been pumping, perfect for us groms – 2-3ft, clean, fun sections," she said.
Henderson leaves for El Salvador on Saturday along with the rest of the New Zealand junior team.
It's been 10 years since a New Zealand Grom Series event has been held in Gisborne.
The Sequence Surf Shop Gisborne Junior Pro is part of the New Zealand Grom Series, which includes the Billabong Grom Series, the South Island Connect Group Grom Series, and several other individual junior events.
Surfers from Ahipara down to Christchurch took part in the under-14, Under-16 and under-18 divisions over the weekend.
The event was made possible with the support of Sequence Surf Shop Gisborne, Gisborne Boardriders, Creatures of Leisure, Sex Wax and Eastern & Central Community Trust (ECCT).