Kingscliff grom forges his own path to junior elite
KEEP an eye out for at least one Tweed surfer when more than 360 groms hit Sydney's Northern Beaches from Monday as part of the Hurley BL's Blast Off.
Kingscliff's Chaz Bond, 12, will take on some of the country's best young surfers in the Blast Off, under the watchful eye of surfing legend Barton Lynch and a host of other surfing identities.
The Kingscliff Public School student, who hasn't trekked the traditional surfing path to this point in his young career, is one to watch for the future.
Despite ranking just outside the top 200 in the state against groms aged up to 18 years, Bond has no surfing in his family background, except for his brother Kai, 14, who is also a keen boardrider.
Chaz's mother Kelly said without surfing in the family, her son had built a strength beyond his years by forging his own path in the surf.
"Myself and my husband don't surf and there's been times where parents have been out there with their kids and Chaz has had to sit out the back by himself,” Kelly said.
"He's grown lots of resistance and resilience in the surf from that and Kai will put him out in any conditions.”
Raised on rugby league, which Kelly said was intergenerational, Chaz also plays for the Cudgen Hornets and enjoys the social aspect of sport.
"I like surfing with my mates and having fun,” Chaz said.
Riding a 4'6 board, the Core Blanks' sponsored grom made the finals stage of the Hurley BL's Blast Off last year and takes part in about four competitions a year.
"I made it to the semis last year and I know some of the competitors and have surfed against some,” Chaz said.
"So I might go one better this year.”
While Chaz hopes to turn professional in the future, the Hurley Blast suits his outlook, with Lynch placing a firm focus on fun and self-improvement.
Groms get two surfs before elimination rounds while receiving coaching during heats from legends like Layne Beachley, Tom Carroll and Rabbit Bartholomew.
The 11th annual Blast Off runs until Thursday and has 10 boys' and girls' divisions.