Cuteness And Stoke / by craig levers

In the last mailer/ web log it was all about hardcore step offs and challenging the boundaries of what is rideable. That's not to state that last week's Jet-ski session was the biggest waves ever ridden- it was about extending the limits of what is surf able around these parts. There is no doubt Dave and Jamie came in from that session stoked. 

This post it almost the direct opposite. And the grounds of it is just one photo. A frame that was completely missed in the first two edits of the weekend's Billabong Grom Series Final. I reckon it's a photo that shows more surf stoke than just about any other I've shot. Meet 12 year old Summer Carkeek [the one smiling] and her bestie Alice Westerkamp.

Over the weekend they both would have had about 20 surfs, including their heats in the comp. They were literally in the surf all day, both days, coming in for fuel stops and sunblock replenishment.  Both those surnames may sound quite familiar too, Summer is the eldest daughter of Jackie and Glen Carkeek, Glen of course is the man behind Primal Surfboards and a former NZ surfing team representative himself.  Alice is the daughter of Jan and Nick Westerkamp both stalwarts of the Northshore surfing scene.

Alice dominating the Lion Rock peak

Summer on her way to a 2nd placing in the U14 girls final, Alice placed 3rd in the event too

Glen and Jan reckon this has really been the summer [as in season] that the two girls' surf stoke has hit critical mass. Surf trips for the Westerkamps and the Carkeeks are no longer about finding the heaviest, biggest pits. It's about seeking out grommet friendly runners, making sure the frothing fremlins are hydrated and watching tuckered out besties pass out from exhaustion on the drive home.

In exactly the same vein, meet NZ's current youngest contest veteran Indica Knox Corcoran, the 8 year old

Then there's a bit of brotherly love with Teddy and John Rua

A highlight of shooting the Grom Comps is witnessing and taking part in surfing families coming together from all around the country, friendships are formed and networks made. It has always been like this. There's also the business end of the contests, where the groms get to match themselves against their peers, in heats for sure, but it's often the free surfs around the event that push everyone to surf better.

Raglan's Taylor Hutchison showing the groms how it is done

Trust a Raglan grom to find a left on a right peak, Jayden Willoughby

A welcome return to surfing after 12 months of injury; Dune Kennings made it 2 for 2 winning the U20 division of Piha Grom comp after winning at Whanga a fortnight earlier

Dunedin grom Jack McLeod charging on the morning before the final, he posted a credible 2nd in the U17s

Taylor Hutchison slicing froth

Dune's winning form

Piha charger Claudia Fraser made the U20's final, but found herself out of rhythm in the last heat

Bianca Samson edged out her twin Gabby and Claudia for the win

Bianca, Claud, Gabby and Brit Kindred. The U20 finalists and mates that have all been surfing together since they were 12

From The Galleries

Here is a firm favourite that has just been ordered BIG again this week. There is a hint of its future use in the caption on PhotoCPL too. 

Just click on the image to see it large