It came down to two Bay of Plenty surfers for the title of the Under 18 Boys' Division at the weekend's Backdoor BayBash.
The competition, the final domestic event of the year, was held at Waimarama Beach in Hawke's Bay on Saturday with Ohope's Jared Gebert taking out the top spot in his division, followed by Mount Maunganui's Luke Griffin in the runner-up spot.
Griffin had looked sharp during the event but came up just short of a win in the final, which was won by Gebert and his strong performance that netted him a 14.26 point heat total.
This is the fifth year the Backdoor BayBash has taken place. The event included six divisions with the men's and women's premier divisions being supported by the New Zealand Grom Series Under 18 and 16 age groups.
With a fast-paced day in Hawke's Bay, there was plenty of action and plenty of local talent on display, with other Bay of Plenty surfers scoring placings in the event.
The day broke to clean 0.5m waves and light winds, and with no improvement forecasted throughout the weekend, it was decided that completing the event in one day was the best option.
Raglan's Billy Stairmand defended his title in the Open Men's Division, followed by Hamilton's Caleb Cutmore in second place. Levi Stewart, from Waihi Beach, and Whakatane's Jack Lee came in third and fourth respectively.
Stairmand lived up to his favourite tag with precision surfing all day including the final which he dominated from start to finish, enabling him to defend his event title and in doing so, leapfrog Zen Wallis (Piha) to reclaim the year end number one ranking.
Stewart also finished runner-up to Stairmand on the New Zealand Surf Series.
"It's good to finish the year on a high, it's a good Christmas present," proclaimed Stairmand.
"I knew the final was going to be hard, Levi surfs those conditions really well and Caleb has been in good form plus I have watched Jack Lee improve so much surfing at the Academy this year. But when I got that first good wave, that gave me a boost and the confidence to wait for the best waves for the rest of the final."
Giosborne's Saffi Vette (Gis) claimed her first win in the Open Women's Division, with Mount Maunganui's Laura Griffin securing third place.
Finn Vette kicked off the finals for their family with a win in the Under 16 Boys Division. It was a slickly surfed right-hander that included two vertical backhand re-entries that saw Vette march into the lead in the final.
He eventually finished with a 12.83 point heat total to eclipse overall series winner Kora Copper (Rag) who finished in second place ahead of Whakatane's Luis Soutehrwood in third and Taylor O'Leary in fourth.
Open Men's Division
Billy Stairmand (Rag), 14.1, 1, Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 10.93, 2, Levi Stewart (Waihi Bch), 9.53, 3, Jack Lee (Whaka), 4.9, 4
Open Women's Division
Saffi Vette (Gis), 13.1, 1, Aimee Brown (GB), 12.33, 2, Laura Griffin (Mnt), 10.44, 3, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 8.9, 4
Under 18 Girls Division
Jared Gebert (Ohope), 14.26, 1, Luke Griffin (Mnt), 12.23, 2, Caleb Cutmore (Ham), 12.03, 3, Tom Robinson (Whngrei), 11.86, 4
Under 18 Girls Division
Aimee Brown (Auck), 10.46, 1, Saffi Vette (Gis), 10.27, 2, Natasha Gouldsbury (Tara), 8.6, 3, Tegen Bishop (Chch), 3.97, 4
Under 16 Boys Division
Finn Vette (Gis), 12.83, 1, Kora Cooper (Rag), 11.57, 2, Luis Southerwood (Whaka), 10.6, 3, Taylor O'Leary (Mur), 8.47, 4