The 2019 Skullcandy Oz Grom Open presented by Vissla wrapped up today following a giant day of action in pumping four-foot waves that saw all champions crowned across the Pro Junior and age divisions.
Tane Bowden claimed the second Skullcandy Pro Junior victory for New Zealand in as many years, taking out the Boys division. Bowden followed in the footsteps of 2018 Champion Kehu Butler, decimating the punchy surf with a combination of style and gusto. Bowden performed a variety of decent aerials and power-turns in the heat to get the edge over his fellow finalists, notching up a massive 17.30 two-wave heat total. The final followed a similar vein to Bowden's quarterfinal, where all competitors held onto excellent scores (eight-and-above) and remained within firing distance of taking the lead. Bowden will now venture to the final Pro Junior event in Bells where he hopes to cement his qualification spot into the World Junior Championships.
"This feels so good and the waves were so much fun out there," said Bowden. "Having pumping surf for a Pro Junior event has really lifted everyone's game and made them surf better I think. Originally, I wasn't sure if I was going to go to Bells or not for the last event of the year, I just really wanted to see how I went here, but now that I've won this, I want to head down there and hopefully get another result to qualify for the World Juniors."
Taj Stokes used his powerful approach to positive effect in the final, notching up an 8.90 and an 8.07 to amass a solid 16.97 heat total. Stokes drew out a variety of impressive and dominant turns to post the scores and seal himself the runner-up position. The result is Stokes' fifth final result this year.
"I'm stoked with second and my fifth final for the year, but it would have been nice to win one," said Stokes. "Hopefully I can go that one step further down in Bells and claim a win."
Molly Picklum extended her current lead on the 2019 Australian / Oceania Junior rankings, taking out her fifth Pro Junior event for the year. Picklum surfed impeccably over the duration of the final, posting two excellent scores, 8.77 and 8.17. Pickle's 2019 results now match fellow Shelly Beach surfer and current WSL Championship Tour surfer Macy Callaghan who claimed victory in five junior events back in 2016.
"I'm feeling so good at the moment," said Picklum. "2019 has been such a good ride and I've been just trying to improve my surfing as much as I can. I knew Nyxie would be tough to beat out here, especially with the local support on her side, so I knew I'd have to step up my game to beat her. I just knew I'd have to sit and wait for two good waves and thankfully the gameplan worked."
Local natural-footer Nyxie Ryan got within striking distance of her second Pro Junior win in as many years, holding down the lead for a large percentage of the final. Ryan used her local knowledge to her advantage in the heat, posting a 16.17 two-wave heat total, but was pipped by eventual winner Picklum when she notched up the aforementioned score. Ryan backed up the performance with an incredible display of surfing in the Under-16 Girls, taking the win with an outstanding 17.74 total which left her fellow finalists requiring combination scores to take away her lead.
"That was such a good Pro Junior final against Molly," said Ryan. "Even though I wasn't able to get my second win in a row, it's always good to surf at home in good waves and to get the win in the 16's division sweetens the deal. I have never won my age division since I started doing this comp, so to take the win there feels great."