Grommets Hit Gisborne For Pulsate Surfing Champs
11 April 2000
Grommets Hit Gisborne For Pulsate Surfing New Zealand Champs
grommet /’grpmIt/ n.2 slang (chiefly Austral.). Also –it. L20.[Origin unkn. Cf. GRUMMET n.1] A young surfer or skateboarder. from The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary
Over 100 of the country’s top young surfers converge on Gisborne beaches this week for the Pulsate Surfing New Zealand National Scholastic Championships.
A total of 144 grommets from secondary schools around New Zealand will compete for surfing and bodyboarding titles from Tuesday 11 April to Friday 14 April.
The latest Hillary Commission figures* put surfing and bodyboarding up there between touch football and cricket on the list of physical activities New Zealanders most enjoy, with 219,600 people over 18 taking part.
“These competitors are the future of New Zealand surfing, and people can expect to see them turn on a high standard of performance,” Surfing New Zealand’s Scholastics Coordinator Bruce Scott said today.
The finalists have been drawn from about 1,000 secondary school students who competed in 12 regional championships around the country.
“We’re thrilled that surfing has just been recognised by the New Zealand Secondary Schools Sports Council as a sport rather than a recreation,” Mr Scott said.
“It means we can expect to develop higher standards of coaching and judging at the grassroots level in the schools, and that has to be good for the sport.
“Surfing traditionally has a laid-back image, but on the international pro circuit it’s a serious business, and that’s where many of these surfers are aiming.”
The Pulsate Surfing New Zealand National Scholastics is one of the qualifying events for the New Zealand senior team that will go to Bali in July for the World Grommet Championships, and the junior team that will compete in the annual Gromfest in Australia against an international field.
The event will also be used to select a New Zealand Secondary Schools Surfing Team for a two-test series against Australia in September.
“It’s wonderful to see the standard that kiwi grommets are reaching, and it’s great to be able to support them,” Telecom External Brand Advisor Emily Redmond said.
“We’re looking forward to four days of spectacular action.”
As well as sponsoring the event, Pulsate also sponsors some of the leading contenders.
15-year-old Bobby Hansen from Gisborne was fourth in the 1999 World Grommet Championships in the under-16 grade, picking up the Tom Carroll Award for the most promising junior. He also placed first in the 1999 Gromfest’s under-14 grade.
17-year-old Jay Quinn from Gisborne won both the under-16 and under-18 titles at the 1999 Nationals, placed fifth in the 1999 Billabong Association of Surfing Professionals Pro Junior against an international field of under 20-year-olds, and was Surfing New Zealand’s 1999 Junior Surfer of the Year.
17-year-old Dunedinite Felix Dickson placed second at the 1999 Scholastics in the under-18 grade, represented New Zealand at the 1999 World Grommet Championships, and won Surfing New Zealand’s Most Improved Junior Surfer for 1999.
The Gisborne location for competition will be selected each day by Surfing New Zealand, according to surf conditions.
The titles up for grabs are under-18 boys surfing, under-19 girls surfing, under-16 boys surfing, under-14 boys surfing, under-18 boys bodyboarding and under-14 boys bodyboarding. All finals will be held on Friday 14 April.
*1998 Sport and Physical Activity
Survey, Hillary Commission for Sport, Fitness and Leisure.