King of the Groms


New Zealand Surfing - - Grom Attack - Pre­sented by ‘Don’t Let The Sun Get Un­der Your Skin’­surf­


Now in its fourth year, ever since the events in­cep­tion the waves have sim­ply pumped to pro­vide the best con­test waves of the year ev­ery year. The event, ini­tially slated for ear­lier in the year, was post­poned due to the fore­casted surf con­di­tions and the fact that be­cause of a gi­ant land­slide in the Waioeka Gorge the ar­te­rial route to Gis­borne was closed, mean­ing the only way in and out was an ex­tra three hour drive more than nor­mal. The surf dur­ing that post­poned week­end ended up pump­ing and calls of “You blew it” were be­ing thrown around. What they couldn’t see yet was what Maz had or­dered up from Tan­garoa.

Many con­tests are held in Gis­borne and most are held at the more ac­ces­si­ble Mako­rori, or ev­ery so of­ten at Pines’ at Wainui. Maz how­ever grew up at the leg­endary ‘Stock Route’ break at the southern end of Wainui, he cut his teeth here, and the wave qual­ity and punchy peaks are what shaped his style of surf­ing. There had not been a na­tional surf comp held here since the 1991 Na­tional Champs and to hold a surf comp at ‘Stock Route’ had been a dream of Maz’s for a num­ber of years.

With the il­lus­tri­ous ti­tles and prizes on of­fer, a big turnout was as­sured and groms from all over the coun­try made their way to Gizzy, most by way of the now opened gorge af­ter the six week clo­sure. With poor sand banks along Wainui, Maz’s dream looked to have been put on ice and day one of the KOG was held at Mako­rori’s ‘Creek’ break. With both rights and lefts on of­fer the surf pumped for the groms and was a per­fect size to put out all the younger di­vi­sions. With a southerly on­shore change pre­dicted by mid morn­ing, there was no sign of it yet, and com­peti­tors and or­gan­is­ers alike were granted an epic day in the sun. And speak­ing of the sun and be­ing out in it all day, event pre­sen­ters ‘Don’t Let The Sun Get Un­der Your Skin’ were on hand with their mo­bile dark­room com­plete with an ul­tra tech­ni­cal UV cam­era inside that shot pho­tos of your face, show­ing the dam­age that the sun has caused to your skin over the years. Some­times it is only when peo­ple are made aware of dam­age they can­not vis­i­bly see, that they be­come aware of the dan­gers as­so­ci­ated with over ex­po­sure to the sun, so by start­ing with our younger gen­er­a­tion at events such as this it em­pow­ers the kids through ed­u­ca­tion, for their own fu­tures and oth­ers. With the southerly not kick­ing in till late af­ter­noon, when it did it came in strong forc­ing the post­pone­ment of the last two re­main­ing heats of the day un­til Sunday, as or­gan­is­ers strug­gled to pull down the tents against gale force chilly winds.

Sunday morn­ing dawned a new day, with clear skies, off­shore winds and an in­crease in swell, and with two swells run­ning, the per­fect in­gre­di­ent for pump­ing Wainui. The dream had be­come a re­al­ity, Maz drove away and snobbed ab­so­lutely pump­ing Mako­rori and de­clared the con­test at ‘Stock Route’. You would have thought Maz was the grom, such was the huge smile from ear to ear. Many of the groms how­ever were less than im­pressed, they had seen long peel­ing open faced waves at Mako­rori and were now look­ing at thump­ing bar­rels at Wainui. Many called for the comp to shift back, but Maz stood fast, ex­plain­ing that with an in­com­ing tide it would soon be­gin to pump, and pump it did. When the best groms in the coun­try are given a can­vas like that to com­pete on, that brings out the best surf­ing. Most of th­ese groms wouldn’t have com­peted in barrelling waves like this be­fore but they were pick­ing off waves, get­ting tubed, com­ing out and hav­ing a big face to per­form on. To put it bluntly, over the next four hours, that was the best grom­met surf­ing ever seen in this coun­try. Kehu But­ler was go­ing for the Iron­man award com­pet­ing in all di­vi­sions. He al­ready had two wins un­der his belt with the U12’s and U14’s, and was be­ing fed en­ergy drinks at the wa­ters edge and be­ing mas­saged in be­tween heats to get him through, the scene was set for one of the great­est per­for­mances by a grom since Bobby Hansen. How­ever Dune Ken­nings had other plans and with his good mate El­liot Paer­ata-Reid hav­ing won the great­est prize in NZ grom surf­ing - a re­turn trip to France to com­pete as part of the Quik­sil­ver Pro in the KOG Fi­nals for the past two years - Dune now wanted his piece. He had come into the event in ca­reer form, af­ter a stel­lar do­mes­tic sea­son and com­pet­ing on the Pro Ju­nior cir­cuit, and this form proved too hard to match. In the Girls U16 di­vi­sion Bianca Sam­son took the win, prov­ing that af­ter her twin sis­ter’s suc­cess at the World Tour event in Taranaki she also had the goods. Con­grats to all the groms, and see you all next year!

Many thanks must go to the even’s spon­sors for mak­ing this now leg­endary event pos­si­ble: Quik­sil­ver, Roxy, Don’t Let The Sun Get Un­der Your Skin, DC Shoes, Se­quence Surf Shop, Surfers Skin, Pro Lite, Sticky John­son, and NZ Surf­ing Mag­a­zine. For a full list of re­sults and a photo gallery from the event check out



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