The country's most eager groms are eyeing up Fitzroy Beach in New Plymouth for the National Primary School Champs scheduled to get underway next weekend (29-30 September). The entry-level surfing event was last held in Taranaki in 2005.
The change in location has the groms keen to get the event underway so they can tick off yet another of New Zealand's fantastic surf locations.
Leading the way for the youngsters will be Mount Maunganui surfer and defending champion Kehu Butler. He is used to taking on surfers up to eight years his age while competing in other national age group events around the country but is stoked to be heading west for the Primary School Champs.
"Yeah I am definitely amped to surf at the event and surf against all the guys my own age" Butler said. As much as anything, I am looking forward to the comp because it is a different location" he added.
Butler like most groms has not been competing too much over winter despite getting more than his fair share of water time. However, he is off to Australia this weekend to take on the Aussies yet again at the Barton Lynch Blast off at Palm Beach, New South Wales before returning home and heading to Taranaki.
Another surfer to watch will be local Daniel Farr who is just as amped as Butler on having an event in Taranaki, but for differing reasons - he doesn't have to travel.
"We travel to comps all the time in summer so to have one at home will be real fun" Farr said. "I surf Fitzroy a lot so I hope this gives me an advantage when the comp starts" he added in regards to the prospect of a good result.
Farr has been warming up competing in local events recently and last weekend secured two runner-up placings which he says has given him a lot of confidence going into next weekend's event.
Despite hosting the top groms in the country, the event also provides the foundation for surfers new to the sport of surfing to give it a go in a safe environment amongst surfers their own age.
The event is the first step on the development pathway for surfers as they work their way up through four additional age group divisions and on to the open ranks.
The early beginnings of many New Zealand representatives and national champions have started with this event. Names such as Johnny Hicks, Grace Spiers, Alexis Poulter, Ben Poulter, Dune Kennings, Ella Williams, Korbin Hutchings and Sean Kettle all started at this event.
The event offers a tonne of fun for both boys and girls in classes Year 8 and below to get out there with other surfers throughout the North Island of New Zealand and have fun.
The event is being hosted by Surfing Taranaki and will take place at Fitzroy Beach from 8:00am each day.
2004 - Tyler Anderson (Tara)
2005 - Johnny Hicks (Gis)
2006 - Tane Wallis (Piha)
2007 - Tane Wallis (Piha)
2008 - Sean Kettle (Tara)
2009 - Korbin Hutchings (Gis)
2010 - Korbin Hutchings (Gis)
2011 - Kehu Butler (Mnt)
2012 - ????
2004 - Grace Spiers (WGM)
2005 - Grace Spiers (WGM)
2006 - Ella Williams (WGM)
2007 - Ella Williams (WGM)
2008 - Gabriela Sansom (Auck)
2009 - Milly Crewe (Mur)
2010 - Dayna Story (Gis)
2011 - Kea Smith (Mnt)
2012 - ????
Entry forms for the event are online at www.surfingnz.co.nz/entryforms.