Teenage surfer Leia Millar made a splash in the Coromandel last weekend.
The 17-year-old from Piha rode the waves to her third consecutive victory for the season, dominating the second round of the Billabong Grom Series in Whangamatā.
The two-day surfing competition kicked off with the Under 18 boys and Under 18 girls divisions taking full advantage of the 1.5-metre waves.
Millar fearlessly tackled the waves, taking out first place with an impressive 15.7 points in the final round of the day.
She said the Grom Series had been a great learning experience so far.
“It has been really good to surf with all these girls and we are all pushing each other, so it has been real fun.
“An aim of mine has been to do some bigger turns in competition, and going for it on the end sections. I felt like I did that [and] I am happy that it worked and I could surf to a win.”
Whangamatā surfer Pia Rogers was pushed into second place by Millar.
Rogers had a flying start in the final round but was unable to back up her 6.17 point ride, finishing with a 9.47 point heat total.
Another surfer from Piha, Poppy Arkle, finished in third place.
The Under 18 boys’ division was dominated by Taranaki surfer Spencer Rowson who claimed his first victory for the season.
Rowson surfed ahead of Tai Murphy from Ōhope, who was in first place and looking good with an 8.0-point ride.
As the final hooter sounded, Rowson made his way to the top spot, with a 6.87-point ride proving to be a winning score.
He was happy about the win but said he was focused on improving in surfing.
”[It] definitely feels good to get a win, I have been struggling a bit [and] haven’t been surfing as good as I usually do, so it is good to find that rhythm.
“I have been starting to go to the air as a point of difference with my surfing, everyone does it overseas so I want to be able to match that and level up by taking it to the sky.”
Murphy came in second place, while George Laery finished in third place.
The Under 16 divisions for boys and girls were also contested through to the semifinals, with some big match-ups confirmed for the upcoming finals.
The first semifinal will see some sibling rivalry in the girls’ division with Lola Groube of Pauanui - who came first in the Under 16 girls’ division last weekend - and Alani Morse, of Raglan, taking on Groube’s sister Chloe Groube and Iocal surfer India Kennings.
The second semifinal will see Piha standout Kyra Wallis, national champion Maya Mateja of Raglan, Indi-Lee Ruddell of Whangārei, and Poppy Entwisle of Christchurch, take the waves.
Wallis won the Highest Single Wave Core Award for her 9.1 point ride in the opening round of the Under-16 girls’ division.
The first round of the semifinal of the boys’ division will see Alexis Owen (Dunedin), take on Kai Shearer (Ōakura), Whangamatā local Harrison Biddle, and Zen Mouldey from Mount Maunganui.
In the second semifinal, Pauanui’s Jay Tingle takes on Tommy Lodge (Hawkes Bay), Sam Frazerhurst (Auckland), and Jaxon Willows (Mount Maunganui).
Round three of the Grom Series takes place on February 24 and 25, at Piha Beach, Auckland.
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