LAHAINA, Hawaii (BVM) – Harrison Cramond, a 19-year-old Maui resident, has always enjoyed surfing big waves, but when it comes to a memorable one, the choice is easy.
“A few years ago, I set a goal to surf Peahi, otherwise known as ‘Jaws,’ a world-class big-wave surf break in Maui, with wave heights of 20-60 feet,” Cramond said. “I’m a huge surfer – longboard, shortboard, big wave board, I try to do it all.”
Originally from Australia, Cramond is enamored with sports. In 2012, Cramond and his family swapped their home in Australia for the tropical shores of O’ahu then Maui, and he’s been loving it every second.
“From a young age, I loved big wave surfing,” Cramond said. “To prepare yourself for Jaws there are two key components: the physical side and the mental side. In my junior and senior year at Maui Preparatory Academy, I competed in four sports each year, including cross country, basketball, tennis, surfing, and golf. … This meant four sets of practices. So, I was confident that physically I was up for the task. However, mentally, I had work to do.”
Cramond’s tone became serious when he talked about the dangers and reality of surviving the beating that a 25-foot wave hands out without discrimination.
“Out there, the ability to stay calm in intense conditions is everything, arguably the most important,” he said. “If you are not able to stay calm, then you’ll find yourself in a really bad situation. I knew I had to make sure I was confident enough to know I could stay calm. The countless hours I spent with my mentor, training for big wave hold-downs. The numerous meditation sessions. The dynamic and static breath holds. They all allowed me to be able to surf this wave.”
It takes a lot to reach the level of fitness needed to surf big waves like Jaws. But when you play a variety of sports consistently, you can naturally enjoy the huge benefits of cross-training.
“Pretty much anything I do is my cross-training,” Cramond said. “For example, basketball practice is good conditioning for big wave surfing. I don’t like to run, but I do it when I need to condition myself for wintertime when the waves get big.”
It’s never hard for this talented sportsman to find the motivation to keep up with his physical fitness either because it’s intrinsic to his success and mental health.
“For me, I have to be active to stay mentally strong so finding the motivation has never been a problem for me,” Cramond said. “If I’m ever in the middle of a workout and feel like giving up, I think about my end goal and what I’m trying to achieve, and that motivates me to keep pushing.”
Cramond will also further his formal education, as well.
“I’m about to commence my studies at Bond University Australia,” he smiled. “Online for now.”
When asked what he finds most rewarding as an athlete, Cramond’s answer is simple: the love of sport.
“For me, being active is a huge part of my lifestyle,” he said. “I have to do something active every day to feel satisfied and enjoy the camaraderie of my mates in team sports. Being an athlete to me is a mental state. I love everything about it. … It’s that mindset of being a competitor which is my biggest reward.”
Great rewards come hand in hand with some risks, though, and Cramond has had his share of injuries. According to him, the outcome really depends on your attitude, and how you approach your injury and recovery.
“It was my senior season on the basketball team when I dislocated my shoulder in a bodysurfing accident,” Cramond said. “The doctor said that I was done for the season, however, I couldn’t take that for an answer. The team was scheduled to have their first-ever home game in history. The thought of not being able to play in that game and support my team pushed me to recover as fast as possible. I meditated every day to recover faster…and it worked! Every day I would do something to get better by keeping a positive attitude. When that day in the gym came, I was able to walk on that court and play.”
There’s barely any sport out there this Maui athlete wouldn’t be keen to try his hand at, but of course, he has his favorites.
“There are currently no comps for surfing but my goal is to qualify for the longboard surfing tour next year,” Cramond said. “For basketball, I’m going to play at Bond University, which I’ll be attending in Australia. It’s also where they hold the qualifiers for the longboard tour, so it works perfectly.”
It’s rare to find an athlete without their favorite athletic gear and Cramond is no exception.
“For surfing, my favorite board would have to be my single fin log made by Dennis Pang,” Cramond said. “It’s purple, pink, and blue. The board fits my style of longboarding so well which makes it my favorite. For basketball, I have two pairs of Kawhi’s OMN1S. They are super comfortable, and the colorways are really cool.”
Gratitude is a big part of Cramond’s athletic mentality, and he says he’s grateful every day for where he’s able to practice his sports.
“With surfing, honestly, anywhere here is my favorite because of how beautiful Hawai’i is,” he said. “I’m lucky to be able to surf in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.”