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Double Bowden Brilliance At The Piha Billabong Grom Series Event The Bowden brothers, McKenzie and Tane of Whangamata have broken through the grommet ranks to claim their maiden national level events at the final competition of the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge completed at Piha today.
The oldest of the brothers McKenzie won the Under 16 Boys while his younger brother Tane won the Under 12 Boys.
The surf continued to drop for the final day of the event with marginal 0.5m waves which changed dramatically throughout the day due to the huge tides.
McKenzie got a good start to the final but it was a 6.67 point ride with two minutes remaining that elevated from third to first before the ocean went flat for the final two minutes.
"I am pretty excited, it is my first ever win, I am real happy" said a dripping wet Bowden.
"I only needed a five point ride on that last wave, I tried to get two turns out of it and on that last one I pushed it more than usual to get the score, I was lucky to get the wave really."
While being surrounded by cheers of congratulations, McKenzie was still quick to commend his younger brother who also won his division. "It is sick that we both won for the first time at the same event, it is going to be a cool ride home."
The two brothers combined to win the Sony Breakthrough Performance of the Event Award for their double victory.
Runner up in the Under 16 Boys Division today was Elliot Paerata - Reid (Piha) who looked like he had the heat under control. However as the clock wound down the victory was snatched away by Bowden who finished with 11.60 to Paerata - Reid's 10.17.
Paerata - Reid did however clinch the series with his runner up placing after winning the first two events of the series. He will now travel to Australia along with the four other winners of the series and compete in the Billabong Occy Grom Comp to be held in July on the Gold Coast.
"I was coming fourth for a lot of the final so I am pretty stoked that I won the series in the end, really stoked to win actually" said a relieved Paerata - Reid.
Placing third in the final was Dune Kennings (WGM) who held the early lead but fell on several big air reverses. Fourth in the final was Whakatane surfer Caleb Braithwaite surfing in his first final of the series.
Dayna Story (Gis) claimed her first win of the year in the Under 16 Girls Division. Story has placed in every final this year and today she finally made it to the top of the podium. "It feels real good to win a comp, I have had an average year so to win this one, I am real happy."
Story opted to sit wide of her competitors at the start of the heat and the strategy paid off as she rode the best wave of the final, a 5.33 point ride for a series of backhand turns.
"I was a bit worried about how small it was, but when the waves came through there were good ones to be caught" added Story who admitted to seeing someone in the final prior going out down in the corner and changing her strategy before going out."
Bianca Sansom (Albany) fought hard in the final but did not find the right waves to notch up the big scores. Sansom finished in second while local girl Claudia Fraser caught the best wave of the final but came unstuck on her second turn and had to settle for third place ahead of series winner Jasmine Smith (Gis) who placed fourth.
Smith had the series wrapped up before the final and sat out the back waiting for the best waves but they continued to avoid her throughout the final until she was left hunting down scraps and playing catch up.
Double finalist Kehu Butler (Mnt) surfed to a win in the Under 14 Boys Division after early being unable to make it three from three in the Under 12 Boys. Butler had to surf from behind scoring consecutive rides of 6.10 and 6.43 points on his last two waves. Butler won series as a result of his performance today after a close three way race all weekend. Taine Craig - Ranga (Waihi Beach) secured his best result of the season placing second in the final scoring a 5.67 on a late wave to move ahead of Manu Scott - Arrieta (Sandy Bay) in third place and Isaac Kettle (Tara) in fourth.
Abby Falwasser - Logan (Gis) claimed back to back wins in the Under 14 Girls Division. Falwaser - Logan used her aggressive forehand attack to get the lead in the final then got a good lefthander to finish with a 9.77 point total. Double finalist Elin Tawahru (Mnt) came out of nowhere to place second in the final thanks to her final 4.97 point ride jumping ahead of series winner Milly Crewe (Mur) who finished third in the final.
Crewe had already secured the series win prior to the final but incurred an interference call early in the piece which hampered her chances of a higher placing. Muriwai surfer Britt Kindred placed fourth in the final.
Tane Bowden (WGM) claimed his maiden victory at a national level winning the Under 12 Boys Division. Bowden led the final from start to finish after a 5.0 point ride early in the final. Bowden placed runner up at the first two events of the series but today he finally got his win over Kehu Butler (Mnt) who had to accept runner up.
Butler did however win the series overall and claim the trip to Australia to compete in the Occy Grom Comp. Lee Ririnui (Mnt) placed third for the second consecutive event finishing one place ahead of fellow Mount Maunganui surfer William Barnes (Mnt) in fourth.
Elin Tawharu (Mnt) left nothing to chance in the Under 12 Girls winning the final event of the series and in doing so winning the overall series. Tawharu won the final two events of the series and today it was a cleanly surfed 7.33 point ride midway through the final that set her apart from her opponents. Local surfer Gabriella Paul placed second in the final to repeat her result from the Whangamata leg. Kea Smith (Mnt) placed third in the final while first time finalist Zhana Hutchieson (Waitara) placed fourth in the final.
Set out below are the final series winners and results from the final Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge completed at Piha Beach today (Sunday 11th March).
Under 16 Boys - Elliot Paerata - Reid (Piha) Under 14 Boys - Kehu Butler (Mnt) Under 12 Boys - Kehu Butler (Mnt) Under 16 Girls - Jasmine Smith (Gis) Under 14 Girls - Milly Crewe (Mur) Under 12 Girls - Elin Tawharu (Mnt)
Under 16 Boys Semifinals Heat 1 Elliot Paerata - Reid (Piha), 11.17, 1, Caleb Braithwaite (Whtane), 4.17, 2, Daniel Farr (Tara), 4.07, 3, Joe Palmer (Kerikeri), 3.37, 4 Heat 2 Dune Kennings (Whmata), 9.17, 1, McKenzie Bowden (Whmata), 6.27, 2, Matt Hansen (Mnt), 5.03, 3, Max Marshall (Chch) , 4.83, 4
Under 16 Boys Final McKenzie Bowden (Whmata), 11.60, 1, Elliot Paerata - Reid (Piha), 10.17, 2, Dune Kennings (Whmata), 9.83, 3, Caleb Braithwaite (Whtane), 3.03, 4
Under 14 Boys Semifinals Heat 1 Kehu Butler (Mnt), 10.33, 1, Taine Craig Ranga (Waihi Bch), 7.7, 2, Jack Wilson (ChCh), 5.7, 3, Daniel Farr (Tara), 5.43, 4 Heat 2 Manu Scott-Arrieta (Sandy Bay), 10, 1, Isaac Kettle (Tara), 8.53, 2, Xavier Campbell (Dun), 6.77, 3, Harry Macintosh (Waiheke Is), 5.77, 4
Under 14 Boys Final Kehu Butler (Mnt), 12.53, 1, Taine Craig Ranga (Waihi Bch), 9.33, 2, Manu Scott-Arrieta (Sandy Bay), 7.93, 3, Isaac Kettle (Tara), 7.27, 4
Under 12 Boys Semifinals Heat 1 Kehu Butler (Arataki), 13, 1, William Barnes (Mt), 5.87, 2, Shane Kraus (Piha), 5.43, 3 Heat 2 Tane Bowden (Whmata), 8.23, 1, Lee Ririnui (Mnt), 6.67, 2, Jared Gebert (Ohope), 5.47, 3
Under 12 Boys Final Tane Bowden (Whmata), 8.93, 1, Kehu Butler (Arataki), 8.57, 2, Lee Ririnui (Mnt), 5.97, 3, William Barnes (Mt), 3.4, 4
Under 16 Girls Semifinals Heat 1 Jasmine Smith (Gis), 9.17, 1, Claudia Fraser (Auck), 7.63, 2, Gabriella Sansom (Auck), 6.3, 3, Milly Crewe (Auck), 3.2, 4 Heat 2 Bianca Sansom (Auck), 7.57, 1, Dayna Story (Gis), 6.43, 2, Britt Kindred (Muri), 4.1, 3, Nam Northcott (Tara), 3.07, 4
Under 16 Girls Final Dayna Story (Gis), 8.10, 1, Bianca Sansom (Auck), 6.47, 2, Claudia Fraser (Auck), 6.47, 3, Jasmine Smith (Gis), 5.37, 4
Under 14 Girls Semifinals Heat 1 Milly Crewe (Muri), 4.83, 1, Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 4.8, 2, Jenny Rockwell (Auck), 2.2, 3 Heat 2 Abby Falwasser-Logan (Gis), 8.47, 1, Britt Kindred (Muri), 6.73, 2, Maaia Reid-Bennett (Arataki), 6.1, 3
Under 14 Girls Final Abby Falwasser-Logan (Gis), 9.77, 1, Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 7.70, 2, Milly Crewe (Muri), 5.67, 3, Britt Kindred (Muri), 4.40, 4
Under 12 Girls Semifinals Heat 1 Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 8.83, 1, Zhana Hutchieson (Waitara), 4.43, 2, Lucy Pownall (Piha), 2.83, 3 Heat 2 Kea Smith (Tau), 9.17, 1, Gabrielle Paul (Auck), 4.77, 2, Holly Marson-Wood (Piha), 2.93, 3
Under 12 Girls Final Elin Tawharu (Mnt), 11.33, 1, Gabrielle Paul (Auck), 6.67, 2, Kea Smith (Tau), 5.23, 3, Zhana Hutchieson (Waitara), 4.43, 4