First event honours for the 2015 Billabong Grom Series presented by Oceanbridge went to Dune Kennings (WGM) and Raiha Ensor (Mnt) today with both surfers dominating their respective Under 20 Division finals.
New Zealand Junior Surfing Team Named Local News
The team includes surfers from six regions throughout New Zealand - Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Christchurch.
The team will now begin preparations for the event with a nine week lead in where they will run through their individual training programs as well as meeting up as a team at the end of March for a combined training camp.
The twelve surfers also have several major national events to attend over the next two months as they hone their skills for international competition.
Jayda Martin - Fitzharris (Gis) is one of two senior team members that have competed at the event for the past three years.
"Ben Poulter and I have been in the team for years now" Martin - Fitzharris excitedly said. "I got a phone call from Dad yesterday about being selected and to be honest I was just as excited as the first time I made the team" she said gleaming from ear to ear.
The experience of senior team members such as Martin - Fitzharris and Poulter will help those that are new to the team and heading to the tropical climes of Central America for the first time. The international competitive environment is vastly different to New Zealand and that coupled with being in a different country can make things tough on a young team of surfers.
Fellow female team member Ella Williams (WGM) will be part of the team for the second year running and feels that her experience gained from touring to Peru in 2011 will count for a lot.
"The first year is always getting a feel for competing internationally" said Williams. "I am a bit more prepared this time around, I know what to expect, actually, I am much more prepared" she said having already done research on the surf break where the event is being held and sticking to a full fitness program.
Surfing in the Under 16 Boys Division but having already contested the event for the past two years is Piha surfer Elliot Paerata - Reid who found out about his selection via Facebook.
The confident young surfer is going over to do nothing but win the event, a sentiment that was also echoed by Williams when asked about her goals for the event.
Paerata - Reid was the highest placed Kiwi surfer in the Under 16 Boys Division in 2011 placing 31st. However this year he sees his chances in a much different way.
"I going over there to win to be honest, hopefully I can achieve that goal. My preparation so far is way better after carrying out fitness training in the gym and running. My surfing is a lot be than last year too" said Paerata - Reid.
Also in the Under 16 Boys Division and one of five new faces in the team is Jordan Griffin (Mnt). Griffin was not part of the wider training squad throughout the past two months but kept knocking on the door showing selectors that he had what it takes to represent New Zealand.
Over the past two weeks he put everything into place with his competitive performances placing in two finals of national events. The performances were enough to catch the eye of the selectors who gave him the nod for selection.
Griffin was busy training with his school and unavailable for comment but his Dad Phil, an ex New Zealand representative himself said that the selection came after he was given an ultimatum by the selectors and given the two recent events as a platform to prove his value to the team. And once announced in the team the smile never left his face.
Other new team members include Mac Christie (BOP), Alethea Lock (Chch), Korbin Hutchings (Gis) and the youngest team member 14-year-old Jasmine Smith (Gis).
30th March - 1st April - Team Training Camp, Raglan
14th - 22nd April - 2012 ISA World Surfing Championship, Playa Venao, Panama
The New Zealand Junior Surfing Squad is as follows:
Under 18 Boys
Ben Poulter (Rag)
Mackenzie Christie (Mnt)
Paul Moretti (Mimiwhangata)
Tane Wallis (Piha)
Non travelling reserve - Jules Craft (Gis)
Under 18 Girls
Alethea Lock (Chch)
Ella Williams (WGM)
Jasmine Smith (Gis)
Jayda Martin-Fitzharris (Gis)
Non travelling reserve - Dayna Story (Gis)
Under 16 Boys
Dune Kennings (WGM)
Elliot Paerata - Reid (Piha)
Jordan Griffin (Mnt)
Korbin Hutchings (Gis)
Non travelling reserve - Harrison Whiteside (Chch)
Team Manager: Tony Baker (Mangawhai)
Team Coach: Jason Ruddell (Whangarei)
Team Assistant Manager/Coach: Warren Asplin (Hamilton)
The World Junior Surfing Championships is an annual event having been held since 2003. New Zealand has competed at the event since its inception as well as competing at the World Grommet Titles as it was formerly known since 1989. In 2011 the New Zealand team placed tenth at the event when it was held in Peru.
Prior to the main event the team will meet South Africa to contest the annually run 'SANZ' Trophy held between the two teams. South Africa currently holds the trophy after winning it in 2011. The two teams will fine tune their competitive strategies only days out from the main event. The unique trophy that is up for grabs is made out of a solid pounamu base with paua inlay and a surfboard made out of South African hardwood.
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