The finals of the 2022 Billabong Oz Grom Cup presented by Coopers Surf wrapped up at Park Beach, Coffs Harbour today with 11 new champions crowned. They are the future of the sport and this week they have stood the test of the biggest waves many would have ever surfed.
In waves between 4-6 foot the groms from Under 8 to Under 18 years old once again impressed judges on their fifth day of competition where they have been continually challenged.
The Under 18’s kicked off the Finals and it was veteran high-performance grom Keira Buckpitt (Culburra) who dominated the Girls Final from the start but she was up against tough competition with local girl Rosie Smart is good form throughout the week. Keira edged just ahead of Rosie winning by 0.9 with a total of 11.06, Rosie in second (10.16), Tayla Green in third and Holly Wishart in fourth place. A perfect finish for Keira, her last Billabong Oz Grom Cup and the first Cup she’s won after competing in it for much of her grom life.
Keira stoked after her win said, “It’s been the best week up here in Coffs Harbour. The waves have been challenging but so good for everyone to surf outside their comfort zone to help us all improve.”
In the Boys Final there were a number of great waves scored, the judges rewarding the top-end groms in the event for advanced surfing. But it was Cabarita’s Kayan Falvey who opened his account with a massive 8.67 excellent range score before backing it up with a 5.67. Despite chasing hard by his fellow competitors who all had their time to score big this week, Kayan took the win (14.34), his second Billabong Oz Grom win, with Xavier Bryce in second (12.17), Dane Henry in third and Lennix Smith in fourth.
Into the Under 16’s Girls Final Shyla Short (Scarborough) held the lead until the last four minutes when Juniper Harper (Lennox Head) who was sitting in third place made her move on a huge wave. Using the whole wave Juniper showed her power and strength through the first of five turns that the judges awarded her 7.67 and she took the lead and the heat (12.50). Shyla finished in second place (7.74), Ruby Berry in third, Ava Arghyros fourth and Grace Gosby in fifth.
In the Under 16 Boys, the younger Smart, Creed (Sawtell), had success winning the final after locking in a huge 8.0 for his opening wave and continuing to make smart wave choices through the heat. Fletcher Kelleher finished in second, Zyah Hession in third and Will Martin in fourth.
The Under 14’s really shone this week as they went from strength-to-strength and the action didn’t stop in the Finals notably a near-perfect 9.67 by Currumbin’s Charli Hately from the Park Beach break. The young surfer could not have been more on-point with her wave selection and the way she moved vertically throughout the wave linking her turns. Even with only a 2.0 backup wave Charli was out of reach for her competitors. Lucy Darragh finished in second place, Eliza Richardson in third and Rosie Richardson in fourth.
In the Boys it was Balin Cullen (Avalon Beach) who led the heat for the first stage with powerful maneuvers and throwing buckets off the top of the waves. He was awarded a 7.17 before Ocean Lancaster (Merewether) got started with a two wave combo of 11.73 that he held for the remainder of the heat with only Max Mcgillivray challenging him with a huge 7.43 to move from fourth to second place, Balin Cullen finishing in third and Lachlan Arghyros in fourth. All four finalists surfed like they were in the WSL Qualifying Series.
The Under 12’s were allowed parent assist but when the groms took off on the waves they performed at a level that made you double-take what you were watching. In the Girls it was Evie Wilson (Noosa) who lead the heat and with just two waves (6.83 + 5.93) won the Final against a tough field of MillerMay Berg, Billie Berg and Olive Morriss.
While in the Boys Final we saw outstanding skills by the surfers. Locana Cullen (Avalon Beach) was thriving on the bigger swell this week and he certainly kept his a-game for the Final slamming a huge 9.0 ride straight on the board before combo-ing his fellow finalists with a 7.33 wave. The field continued to chase but couldn’t find the scores to get out of combo-land. A great Final by Luca Martin in second, Jaggar Phillips in third and Jaxxon Sands in fourth.
The Under 10’s were also supported by parents and guardians out in the lineup but they didn’t cramp their style. The final consisted of Isabel O’Boyle, Mila Grainger, Billie Brooke and Alanni Morris. Alanni Morris kicked the heat off with one of the biggest scores in the division for the event with a 6.83, which made her hard to catch but then the chase from Mila Grainger (Bungan Beach) began and after Mila found two late scores she paddled into the good news and her first Billabong Oz Grom Cup win.
The Boys Under 10’s kept everyone on the edge of their seats as the boys threw down a number of good scores. Connor O’Boyle, Jaya Suhendra, Hayden Mee and Ollie Croft worked so hard but it was Hayden Mee who had been inspired by Surfest who found the two highest scores to win the Final with a 10.76.
Finally, in the last heat of the day the Under 8’s Final was a mixed heat that showcased the warriors of the future of surfing. Taylor Barlett entered the Final today after taking out the first heat with a massive combined heat total of 11.50 against Dare Smith, Chloe Graninger. The three were masterful in their approach and inspirational for kids everywhere as they paddled out for their Final today. Once again it was Taylor Barlett who took out two-from-two heats for the youngest competitors.
The event this year reached more people than ever thanks to a partnership between Surfing NSW and Kayo Sports. The Billabong Oz Grom Cup presented by Coopers Surf Australia will be available via webcast live and free on Kayo Freebies and Surfing NSW Facebook.
All event presentations were held at the iconic Hoey Moey, Coffs Harbour.
The Billabong Oz Grom Cup pres. by Coopers Surf Australia will commence each day at 7:30 am with the call for the day’s schedule and location confirmed via the event hotline at 6:45 am. The event hotline number is 0458 247 212 which will leave a voice recorded message each morning of the event.
The Billabong Oz Grom Cup pres. by Coopers Surf Australia is proudly supported by Billabong, Coopers Surf Australia, Coffs Harbour Boardriders, Coffs Harbour City Council, Park Beach Plaza, Hoey Moey and Surfing NSW.
Top to bottom – Charli Hatley, Ocean Lancaster, Kyan Falvey, Keira Buckpitt, Juniper Harper, Locana Cullen, Hayden Mee, Creed Smart, Taylor Barlett and Mila Grainger.