Tweed’s speed demon skating towards world’s best
REACHING speeds of up to 80kph while flying downhill on a skateboard would terrify most, but for a Kingscliff teenager, it’s all in a day’s work.
After discovering the sport of downhill skateboarding on YouTube three years ago, Kingscliff High student Zane Bonser, 15, found he had a unique talent.
Fast-forward to 2016 and Bonser can now lay claim to being the second best in the world, after standing on the podium in his first International Downhill Federation World Cup race at Mt Keira in Wollongong just two weeks ago.
Bonser’s mother Brooke Craig said her son was now looking at world domination after proving himself against older athletes with much more experience.
“He pushes himself hard and there’s not many younger guys, so he’s competing against 40-year-olds,” Craig said.
“He doesn’t find it daunting, so he pushes himself to beat them and that’s what makes him improve.”
Bonser’s second-place finish required him to push himself to the edge to shave seconds off his best time, coming within inches of serious injury.
The dangers can’t be ignored, and while Craig gets nervous every time her son takes to the hill, she backs him to chase his dreams.
“They’ve got to go hard to excel, and I’m a nervous wreck but there’s adrenaline and excitement too,” Craig said.
“There were three dislocated shoulders on the weekend, and I stand at the finish line feeling sick until I see him.”
Craig said she was initially reluctant when her son started the sport, but safety protocols in place in top-level competition eased her concerns.
While coming through the World Cup event unscathed, Bonser needs sponsorship to attend more events, including the next one in New Zealand.
His board alone is worth $1300 and with maintenance and travel costs, the family needs support for Bonser to be able to continue at the sport’s highest level.
“The series also takes in, Canada, the Philippines and China, so it costs a lot to compete at World Cup level,” Craig said.
“He went through three sets of wheels at Mt Keira and they alone are $80 a set. So to compete, the priority for Zane is getting sponsors.”
While Bonser will continue to hunt sponsorship and his World Cup dreams, it’s the thrill of the sport which will see him continue to climb local hills in pursuit of his passion.
“It’s always been about skating – from bowl, to street, then to downhill,” Craig said.
“There’s no stopping these guys once they get the passion for it.”
To see Bonser in action, check him out on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIGWlpu8bz0