Tane Wallis Notches up a win on the Billabong Grom Series
February 20, 2014
The second of three events in the Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge was wrapped up at Whangamata today (Sunday 9th) with Piha’s Tane Wallis and Auckland’s Gabriella Sansom (Albany) walking away with well received wins in the Under 20 Divisions.
Wallis and Sansom were joined by Kehu Butler (Mnt) and Jasmine Smith (Gis) in the Under 17 Divisions and in the Under 14s, Kehu Butler claiming his second win of the weekend alongside Elin Tawharu (Mnt).The final day of the event was contested in very small 0.5m swell conditions with light winds making opportunities very limited for all competitors, particularly over the low tide.
Wallis capped off a strong weekend of surfing which started out with a fourth in the Open Men’s Division of the Billabong Pro on Friday. Today he dominated his final in the Under 20 Boys Division scoring 14.0 points out of 20 in the final.
“I felt great throughout the weekend and it was good to start with a fourth in the Open on Friday and then going into the weekend to get this result in small waves is great” said Wallis.
Easily the biggest of the finalists standing at well over 6ft tall, Wallis used his lengthy frame to weave across the small waves. “I have been eating clean and healthy all weekend and thanks to Lifestream I felt really light on my feet out there which was important given the waves were so small.”
Out in the lead with seconds remaining, Wallis along with his opponents were grouped together out the back with a set of waves approaching. Wallis split the peak with runner up Kehu Butler (Mnt), Wallis getting the better of the exchange to post a 7.5 point ride for a well ridden long right hander to extend his lead and secure the win.
Butler who had contested seven heats throughout the day including three finals finished in second place for a highly successful weekend where he competed against guys six years his senior.
Mount Maunganui surfer Jordan Griffin placed third in the final after going close to landing some big air reverses in the small conditions while Warertini Wano finished in fourth.
In the Under 20 Girls Division, Auckland surfer Gabriella Sansom burst back into form to claim the title. Looking focussed in the opening stages of the final, Sansom started clocking up good scores before finishing the final with an 5.5 point ride that extended her lead.
“It was good to win today, I don’t know what’s been happening but recently I have been having a bad run of performances so it is good to get a win and boost my confidence” said Sansom who finished equal seventh at the first event of the series held at Mount Maunganui. Her winning performance was challenged on several occasions by Muriwai surfer Britt Kindred and her own twin sister Bianca who ultimate finished runner up.
“I am not going to sit on my sister to get the win, that would be mean” said Sansom of the chance to block her sister Bianca from getting a last wave and potentially win the final.Kindred finished the final in third place ahead of Raiha Ensor (Mnt) in fourth.