Three or four years ago a big old east swell thumped into Boomerang Beach, on the NSW mid north coast. Triple overhead peaks teepeed way out the back and ran down the beach, sometimes barrelling, sometimes shutting down in combative twenty metre sections. Tow teams took it on as did a small bunch of surfers who managed to punch out near the rocks. Among them was 12-year-old local girl, Charlize Everett. Chaz rode three of the biggest waves of her life that day and earned the respect of the postcode.

“I can see it in her eyes,” says local surf instructor and big wave hell man, Gary Hughes. “Chaz not only has the capacity but, more importantly, she has the intent.”

The 16-year-old has already had some solid results in junior contests – including a second in the state titles - but her ambitions lie elsewhere. Her plan is to specialise in big wave surfing, and it got a major boost recently when she took out the Women’s U18s Big Wave Surfing Titles. First prize is a day at the Urbansurf wave pool in Melbourne, which Chaz is stoked about – so long as it’s cranked up to The Beast setting.                 

Tracks caught up with Charlize for a chat about big waves, fear and surfing with crocodiles.    

You’ve had a pretty unusual surfing background. Can you tell us about where it all started?

I learnt to surf in North Queensland at a place called Yeppoon. It’s about four hours north of 1770. I think it’s the furthest north you can surf in Queensland. I moved here to Boomerang when I was about nine, so it was perfect timing because I was getting sick of the little waves up there and ready to try something bigger. My dad pushed me into waves when I was little, but I was pretty independent right from the start. I wanted to catch waves myself.

What sort of surf do you get in Yeppoon? Your mum was telling me about the crocs.

Yeah -it actually gets waves fairly often. There’s a boardrider’s club. There must be a gap in the Barrier Reef near Keppel Island. We lived right near the beach but to get to the surf spot you had to drive up the beach for eight kilometres. And yeah, sometimes there’d be crocs around. There’s a wetland area nearby and a few end up coming on the beach. We had a massive one near our house that needed to be taken away.

Tells us about the big wave contest you won recently?

A lot of contests were cancelled because of Covid but this was a speciality event where you had to send in video footage and the biggest wave is the winner. I already had to have a few big waves on camera, so I thought I’d give it a go and see what happens. The wave that won was from a big east coast low in April. It was a pretty big day at South Boomerang and all the guys were going right but I saw there was the odd left running back towards the rocks. I got a really nice set and Samba Man, my coach, was in the perfect spot to film it. So that wave placed me first in the women’s and third or fourth in the Men’s. And I did well in the wipe out award also.

Women have really stepped up in big wave in the recent years – who do admire in that field?

I really look up to Felicity Palmateer and Laura Enever. It’s been inspiring watching them charge massive waves at Jaws. I met Felicity when the WQS contest came to town and she told me about all the training she does and suggested I check out a breathing specialist to improve my breath hold.

Have you had any scenarios in big surf where you’ve been afraid?

Not really. I’ve had a few big hold downs, but I never really got scared because I always know that I’m going to come up. It’s not really that scary. I feel pretty calm out there most of the time. I sometimes come up laughing. I’ve probably got more chance dying from laughter than drowning from a big wave.

It seems like you’ve comfortable in bigger waves ever since you started to surf. Is that the case – or did you learn to overcome fear?

Yeah, I’ve always felt pretty comfortable in bigger waves. I don’t really see it as a fear being out in big waves – it just feels normal to me. I enjoy it. I just treat it the same as if I was surfing three-foot waves.

Who do you surf with when its big?

All the old guys (laughs). Mainly Gavin and Col and Gary Hughes. I know Gary pretty well I help him with his surf school every now and then. He’s given me a few tips over the years, but he mainly just looks after me. He’s told me whenever I want to go out in big waves to call him and he’ll take me out. They all look after me and call me into waves.   

If you could surf any big wave spot in the world – where would it be?

Probably Nazare. Or Jaws. And I want to go to Western Australia and surf Margaret River and all those waves over there.   

What about slab waves and tow ins? Shippies, Ours, The Right. Keen?

Yeah for sure. I want to do that so badly. Like, Cape Fear. I’ve been towed in a few times before and loved it. It’s so fun, you go so fast and can go straight into the barrel.

What’s the biggest wave you’ve surfed?

About 15 foot. There was a massive eats swell at north boomerang about three years ago. There was all these guys doing tow ins and stuff.  I got three lefthanders from the point all the way to the beach. I was 12 or 13. I went over the falls on my first one but wanted to go back and get a good one. Mike Wilson was out there looking after me. He let me go on a good wave and I got a barrel.

What boards are you on when its big?

I ride mum’s old six-foot board but I’m getting my shaper, AJ Surfboards, to make me some step-up boards for bigger days.

If you had the choice of qualifying for the WSL or pursuing a big wave path what would you choose?

If I had a choice, I’d go the big waves path for sure, but I would love to do the tour as well. Especially know that the women’s tour is going back to Teahupoo and also G-land next year. I’ve always wanted to go to Tahiti and surf Teahupoo. Cloudbreak too.

Well, we’re impressed. Somebody should sponsor this amazing young girl so we can all watch from a safe distance as she takes women’s big wave surfing to the next level.