The seaside settlement of Mt Maunganui on the North Island’s East Coast has always pumped out more than its fair share of talented surfers. Boasting the highest concentration of surfer population for any region in the country and having a strong supportive board riders club the ingredients are in the mixing bowl. Pour in a little more support from family and friends; along with a healthy pinch of personal drive, dedication and a little more sprinkles of motivation, perhaps a few cupful’s to be sure! And the recipe for surfing success is almost complete. Jonas Tawharu has all these ingredients in his basket; it’s now up to him to get cooking.
Age: 14 Nicknames: My very foreign Swedish first name is supposedly hard to pronounce so I get called all sorts of strange things, it’s a nickname on its own.
Where were you born and grew up? The Mt Boards: 5’6 1/2” x 18 1/2” x 2 1/8” five fin, rounded pin, with carbon linings, custom epoxy Zorkin by Craig Hughes. 5’7” x 18 1/4” x 2 1/8” five fin, pin tail by Murray Valentine.
Contest results: 1st U14 2013 VQS Gisborne, 2nd U14 2013 Piha Billabong Grom Series, 3rd U14 2013 Motorgroms Taranaki, 4th U14 2012 Scholastics, 1st U13 2012 Microgroms, Taranaki, 3rd U14+U16 Backdoor Grom Bash Raglan.
When did you start surfing and what on? When I
was about 11 on a 5’11” Lost. Who have been your biggest influences growing up surfing in the Mount? It is awesome to see the huge range of local shredders that are based in the Mount. Guys like Matt Bennett and Khan Butler are super mean to learn off, as well as the younger guys like Matty Hewitt, Alex Dive, Tim O’Connor. I surfed a lot with Cam Neate and Haden out crossroads though. If you were to attribute your success as a grom to
one thing, what would it be? I have a real passion and love for the sport which keeps me in the water practicing and practicing. Looking back on it though, other than the immense support from my family, skateboarding has really helped as well. You live in a region that can suffer notorious periods without waves, how do you feed the surf urge? Yeah true, I sometimes go a month without a wave ! This usually resorts in me biting off all my nails, begging my dad to take me to Raglan and skateboarding every day, for god knows how many hours.
Favourite waves in NZ: Matakana island, Whangamata Bar, Indies+Manu Bay, Stent Road, Crossroads and Arataki Trench. Worst wave in NZ: Tay St Reef
Biggest waves tackled: 7ft Fin-F’ers, it was pulsing so much, I got the heaviest beat down by the craziest rogue set, I got one bomb though, but I didn’t have a gun so I bounced the whole way in.
Best session ever: In Bali I got 4ft Kuta Reef to myself, it was so sick! Slightly onshore but definitely one of the most progressive surfs for me this year.
Favourite surfers: Rob Machado, Clay Marzo, Craig
Tricks or power surfing? Power, developing my
Overseas travel? Bali, Aussie. Waves you’d most like to surf overseas? Java, Sumatra, Maldives, Mentawai’s, West Oz, Samoa, Fiji.
Goals: Make the New Zealand Team next year. Win one of the grom series. Win some comps at Raglan.
Interests: Surfing, Skating, playing/listening to music,
Favourite food: Indonesian dishes, fish, pasta and
curries. The best wave you have ever caught? Where and what happened? Just recently when I was in Bali and I got this 4ft nugget on Kuta reef. The tide had drained out, I paddled for it, dropped down and bottom turned, stalled straight into this monster pit and got tubed through to the inside, and then got spat out! If you where a cartoon character what would you be? Batman, no explanation needed.
What annoys you the most? I’ve been waiting for ages for a swell and by the time it comes it’s a school day and I’m never given any sympathy for a day off, the weekend comes, swell piddles out! Dislikes: SUP’s, exams, wet wetsuits, flat seas. Best thing you have ever done: Gone to Bali.
Silliest thing you have ever done: School uniform
on mufti day, gets me every time.
If you won lotto what would you do: Search around Indo for a perfect isolated wave, buy a bit of land covering the coast and build a mansion with its very own mini airport.
What are your thoughts on smoking? Filthy habit. Shout outs: My family, dad, Jo, Mum, Paul, Elin. Marty for the fitness training, Kehu, Josh, Kayden, Lee, Luca. All the Mounties I surf with. Murray Valentine, the Hughes family, the Clegg family, Matty Scorringe, and Khan for the technique training.
Jonas knows how to keep busy in the lineup, and with a healthy wave count under his belt his progression will be steady and fast. Photo: Cory.
EVERY ISSUE’S DRAGON RISING GROM SCORES A SICK DRAGON PACK!