12-Year-Old Bodyboarder Making Waves
by Denise Laitinen
Calvin Cerrone is not your typical pre-teen.
While most 12-year-old boys are glued to video game consoles, Calvin has been winning bodyboarding competitions around the state and racking up sponsors faster than you can say barrel roll. And his picture is featured on the packaging of a new body board Custom X just created specifically for kids his age.
As if all this weren’t enough, Calvin has his sights set on a bigger prize – competing in a pro event in Puerto Rico this November.
Calvin has been surfing since he was six-years-old and according to his mother Amy Cerrone, has refused to ride anything else but his body board for the last three years.
Bodyboarding is a family affair for Calvin. His father Mike Cerrone is a professional surf photographer and Calvin, his father, and older brother Ivy are in the water “whenever there are waves” says Calvin.
The articulate pre-teen says he prefers body boarding to surfing because, “you can surf heavier waves and you can do more stuff. You get bigger barrels on a body board.”
A straight-A student at West Hawaii Explorations Academy where he’ll enter the 7th grade this fall, Calvin has been busy the past several months. Of the eight United States Bodyboarding Association competitions he participated in this year, Calvin won or placed top three in half of them.
And he took fourth place at the USBA Banyans event where he competed in the 18-and-over age bracket. He just wrapped up the season, which runs February through August, with the title of 12-and-under Regional USBA Champion.
“We fulfilled our goals for this year,” says Calvin’s father.
People have started to take notice. Miller’s Surf and Spot in Kailua-Kona was the first to sponsor Calvin. Then three months ago, after wining first place at USBA Kauai, Calvin sent a video to Custom X Hawaii team manager and professional rider Jacob VanderVelde.
“[Jacob] helps me out a lot with everything I do, he’s really helped me with my career,” says Calvin.
VanderVelde quickly signed Cerrone and Calvin became the first ever 12-and-under body boarder to be signed by the California-based company.
“I had an eye out for a young grom (kid) coming up in our sport,” says VanderVelde. “Calvin was the perfect fit with his clutch style, positive attitude, and [being] a well-raised kid.”
“It is nice to see younger riders taking up bodyboarding and especially at a high performance level,” says Debbie Colwell, founder and owner of Custom X. While a lot of body boards are geared toward teenagers, there are fewer options for younger kids Calvin’s age. “So we’ve designed an advanced board for groms,” adds Colwell.
With Calvin’s input, Custom X designed the XG—a light, hydrodynamic body board. Calvin is the featured rider on the board’s packaging. The board was released a few weeks ago and is available on the Big Island at Miller’s Surf and Sport.
“We’re stoked that he has lent his name to this project,” said Colwell.
Other sponsors have also jumped on board. Alpha Campaign, an Oahu-based clothing line recently added its name to Calvin’s sponsor list. The company will soon be expanding its product line to surf shops in West Hawaii because of its sponsorship of Calvin.
Mike Cerrone said that at least two other sponsorships are also in the works.
Calvin remains humble in the face of all this recognition. For now, he has his sights set on raising funds to go to a pro-level International Bodyboarding Association competition in Puerto Rico this November.
“The Puerto Rico contest is a different series of contests called the IBA,” explains Calvin. All the big pros do it from different countries like Australia and South America.
You have to go through a series of trials and you have to be in the top eight in the trials in order to get to the main event.
“If I can afford it, I’m very much looking forward to Puerto Rico.” He plans to raise funds for the trip by selling home made brownies at soccer games. If his baking skills are half as impressive as his bodyboarding skills, he’ll easily make it to Puerto Rico.