Mount Maunganui College Surfers in the news.........
2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championships
2016 bronze medallist Elin Tawharu of Mount Maunganui heads up the 2017 New Zealand Junior Surfing Team which was announced today (Monday 15th May). The twelve young athletes will compete at the 2017 VISSLA ISA World Junior Surfing Championships being held in Japan in late September.
Tawharu secured New Zealand’s first medal in a decade placing third in the Under 16 Girls Division at the 2016 event which was held in the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal. This year she has surfed her way to an unassailable lead in her age category of the New Zealand Grom Series with one event remaining. Earlier this month she also surfed to another third place finish at the International Rip Curl GromSearch Final held in Brazil.
The young 16 year old surfer now steps up to the Under 18 Girls Division where she is joined by three-time team member Raiha Ensor (Mnt). Ensor placed seventh in the Under 18 Girls Division in 2016, just missing out on a finals berth.
The two girls are part of a six strong contingent of Mount Maunganui surfers selected for the team. They are joined by Kehu Butler, Elin’s older brother Jonas Tawharu, Dylan Preston and William Van Der Beek.
Butler is another surfer to move up a division to the Under 18 Boys category and despite this being his first year in the division he will go in to the event with high hopes of a podium finish.
Butler has competed at the World Junior Championships for the past three years advancing to the late stages of the event on each occasion. This year Butler has been predominantly Australian based competing in the Australasian Pro Junior Series where he finished the year fifth overall.
Surfing beside Butler in the Pro Junior events this year has been Taranaki’s Daniel Farr. Farr heads to Japan in his last year amongst the junior ranks and with a wealth of international experience that will help his campaign. The two are joined by Jonas Tawharu and Dunedin’s Elliot Brown.
The team ushers in five first time representatives, all from the Under 16 age group. Gisborne’s talented Saffi Vette is joined by Christchurch’s Tegen Bishop for the girls while Preston and Van Der Beek are joined by Hamilton’s Caleb Cutmore. Cutmore competed with Tawharu in Brazil at the start of the month where he placed fifth in the boys division.
Taking place in Hyuga City, located in the Miyazaki prefecture of Kyushu Island, the 2017 ISA Juniors will be the first ISA event held in Japan since the 1990 World Surfing Games were held in Japan’s Chiba peninsula. Hyuga City’s Okuragahama beach offers quality waves year-round and will provide ample opportunity for the world’s best surfing youth to display their talent in world-class competition.
“Bringing the world’s best junior surfers to Japan for the first time in over 25 years is an exciting development for our sport globally. It’s also an important affirmation of the growth and popularity of Surfing in Japan following the decision to include Surfing in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games” says ISA President Fernando Aguerre.
The New Zealand Team finished 10th at the 2016 VISSLA ISA World Championship which was won by France with Australia in second, Hawaii in third and this years’ hosts Japan in fourth. The Kiwi team will aim to break into the top eight to qualify for the Aloha Cup at future events.
The 2017 New Zealand Junior Surfing Team is as follows:
Under 18 Boys
Daniel Farr (Tara)
Elliott Brown (Dun)
Jonas Tawharu (Mnt)
Kehu Butler (Mnt)
Non travelling reserve – Jared Gebert (Ohope)
Under 18 Girls
Elin Tawharu (Mnt)
Raiha Ensor (Mnt)
Non travelling reserve – Tiana – Breeze de Mooij (Mnt)
Under 16 Boys
Caleb Cutmore (Ham)
Dylan Preston (Mnt)
Kaya Horne (Mnt/Queensland)
William Van Der Beek (Mnt)
Non travelling reserve – Luke Griffin (Mnt)
Under 16 Girls
Saffi Vette (Gis)
Tegen Bishop (Chch)
Non travelling reserve – Gabrielle Paul (Piha)
Team Manager: Damien Galvan (Mnt)
Team Coach: Khan Butler (Mnt)
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.
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 regained the trophy from New Zealand in 2014 and has held it since. 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.
Mount Maunganui College’s Elin Tawharu, 16, finished in a career best third place at the 2017 Rip Curl GromSearch International Final held on Maresias Beach, Sao Paulo, Brazil over the weekend. She was one of 16 competitors from seven different regions around the globe, including Europe, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Indonesia, South Africa and South America.
BOP Times 27 March 2017:http://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=11823501
BOP Times 1 March 2017:http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11808566
BOP Times 25 January 2017: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11786510
UNO article Elin & Jonas Tawharu: http://www.unomagazine.co.nz/health-and-beauty/elin-jonas-tawharu/
Below are the 2016 surfing results. Watch this space for surfing information for 2017.
Subway Pro Junior Series
Kehu Butler secured his first pro junior event during the term two holidays, winning the men’s division in the Cronulla leg of the Subway Pro Junior Series. In the first couple of heats Kehu competed against some of Australia’s best surfers and really dominated the field. In the final Kehu managed to find waves with better scoring potential and won with a 11.60 total, beating Sandon Whittaker from New South Wales. Previously Kehu has reached semifinals and quarters in the under 18 series but this is the first one he has won!
Jonas Tawharu, Elin Tawharu, Maaia Reid-Bennett and Georgia Wederell competed in the Backdoor GromBash in Raglan. Jonas placed third in the under 17 boys division. In the under 17 girls division Elin finished in second place and Maaia placed fourth. Georgia competed in the under 14 girls division and placed fourth.
Rip Curl Grom Search
Raiha Ensor and Kehu Buttler won the under 17 girls and boys division winning a trip to compete in Hawaii. Georgia Wederell also won the under 14 girls competition. Other outstanding performances came from Elin Tawharu, Maaia Reid-Bennett and Tiana-Breeze de Mooij who competed in the under 17 girls division with Elin finishing second, Maaia in fourth place and Tiana-Breeze making the semi final.