New Zealand Surfing - - Rising Grom -

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

tricks though!

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.


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