Three days of wind, rain, sunshine and a world class left hand point break brought together New Zealand’s best Female under 20 surfers and showcased by far the most dynamic surfing I have witnessed all year…
After watching the girls at the Health 2000 New Zealand National surfing champs in Auckland at the start of the year and now 5 months later at the Backdoor Grom Bash, I was excited to see the level of Junior female surfing in New Zealand at an all time high. The girls are all ripping!
Leading the charge was Saffi Vette who narrowly grabbed the lead in the dying seconds of her under 20 final off Raiha Ensor.
It was nail biting to watch as Raiha lead the 25min heat until the countdown of the final 10 seconds where Saffi picked up a runner on the inside and smashed her way back to the boat ramp.
Raiha regularly travels to Australia to fine tune her competition skills and is off to France later in the year to compete in the ISA World Surfing Games. Her smooth powerful surfing is beautiful to watch.
Saffi known in the line up to “ put her board before her body” surfs hard, fast and aggressive and has been one to watch after clinching two National Titles at Piha earlier in the year.
Another standout surfer over the weekend was Mt Maunganui's Elin Tawharu who easily took out the under 17 final, maximising the long punchy left hander’s that came her way. Elin also made the under 20 final however had to bail before it started to board a plane to Brazil missing her chance to potentially take out 2 divisions...
My Favourite division to watch with by far the highest learning curve was the Under 14 girls…
These under 14s girls have lifted the bar to the next level, with Brie Bennet of Raglan narrowly snatching the lead off Ariana Shewry of Taranaki after Ariana dropped in on Brie in the final. These two young women have set skyscraper standards for the other girls to follow. Brie was comfortably surfing her home break and is not scared to go vert in the pocket.
Ariana is from Taranaki spending her off season in Hawaii. She is a powerful surfer and will be one to watch in the future...
Levin’s Natasha Gouldsbury nicknamed the “ midget charger” posted a great heat score total coming in at third place.
First time finalist Liv Haysom of Piha didn’t let bad luck get in the way of making her first ever final.
Earlier in the weekend Liv ripped out a fin destroying her fin box while paddling out, only to snap a leg rope in the final, Liv managed to quickly grabb her board before it shot into the rocks. New leg rope attached she got back into the lineup and posted a tidy score to secure her 4th place.
Results of the Backdoor Grom Bash
Under 20 Girls Division Final
Saffi Vette (Gis), 14.80, 1, Raiha Ensor (Mnt), 13.07, 2, Claudia Fraser (Auck), 9.60, 3, Elin Tawharu (Mnt), n/s
Under 17 Girls Division Final
Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 11.7, 1, Brie Bennett (Rag), 9.13, 2, Tiana - Breeze de Mooj (Mnt), 8.43, 3, Zhana Hutchison (Tara), 8.43
Under 14 Girls Division Final
Brie Bennett (Rag), 12.27, 1, Ariana Shewry (Tara), 7.77, 2, Natasha Gouldsbury (Levin), 7.57, 3, Liv Haysom (Piha), 3.93, 4