Skip to main content
Start of main content.

Claydon swaps surfboard for mortarboard

Lara Claydon 1
Lara Claydon. Photo credit: Tasha Jahrmarkt

Bond University Elite Sport Program student and pro surfer Lara Claydon is a true waterwoman. 

Born and raised in Maui, Hawai’i, Claydon has featured in the Stand-Up Paddle World Tour since she was just 13 years of age. She’s also competed in gruelling long-distance ocean paddle events like the famous Molokai2Oahu and Maui2Molokai. And all the while she dabbles in a range of longboarding competitions and festivals. 

But for now, Claydon is swapping the surfboard for a mortarboard as she celebrates her graduation having been awarded her Bachelor of Communication degree. 

“In my surfing I’ve always enjoyed engaging with people and connecting people to the sport,” Claydon said. “Although I started out studying sports and business management, it soon became clear that my interests lay in communication and especially public relations.”

Although extremely grateful for her time at Bond, there is no doubt Claydon’s journey as a Bond student has been slightly unusual.

“When I made the decision to study, I actually had a really hard time finding an institution that would work with me to help juggle my various commitments,” she says. 

“But a good friend had enrolled in Bond and while I was researching where it was he was heading to study, I stumbled across some information about the Bond Elite Sport Program. Then I started looking at where Bond was located geographically. A university that understood how to work with athletes and that was located on the Gold Coast made a lot of sense, especially for me as a surfer.”

But then Covid intervened and for a long while the famous peeling right handers of the Gold Coast’s southern point breaks had to be put on hold. 

Thankfully, her home island of Maui still had plenty of waves of its own to share. 

Lara Claydon 2
Photo credit: Tasha Jahrmarkt

“I loved working with Assistant Professor Michele Clark and Teaching Fellow Jennifer St George,” she says. 

“They were very understanding of my sporting commitments and helped enormously over the Covid period when I had to do a lot of remote learning. I had a terrific school and surf routine in place.”

Claydon is determined to combine her two passions as she contemplates post-graduate life. 

“All my assignments focused on sport,” she says. “And at times on the Stand-Up Paddle World Tour I worked with the social media team. I really enjoyed engaging with competitors and sharing their stories. I would like to explore opportunities in communication and public relations in sport, and in surfing.”

Of course, Claydon will continue to hit the waves as often as she can. In addition to her long distance paddling and SUP surfing, she says a tilt at the World Surfing League Longboarding tour isn’t out of the question. 

“I’m really enjoying longboarding professionally at festival competitions and local events, and even though WSL tour life is incredibly intense, I’d never say never.”

For now, Claydon is enjoying time in Australia and checking out some of the surf spots that Covid kept her away from for too long. Not even waking to an unusually cool and damp Gold Coast morning the day after her graduation could keep her away. 

“It’s pretty stormy out there today, but we’re just cruising down the coast looking for a spot to stop. There’ll be a wave out there somewhere for sure.”

More from Bond

  • Let the buyer beware of auction loopholes

    Homebuyers can be caught out by a little-known auction loophole. Property expert Professor Alan Patching shares his tips.

    Read article
  • To the uni student who feels like something is missing…

    Starting university is an exciting time, but for Charlotte Gibbs, her first experience at a big uni interstate just didn't feel 'right'. After visiting Bond and the Gold Coast, though, things immediately clicked into place.

    Read article
  • Georgia to learn the way of the Samurai

    New Bull Shark Georgia Grey claimed a trophy with her first game of 15s rugby and now she's off to Hong Kong in a world-first for the women's game.

    Read article
  • Forbes swaps headlines for headwinds in solo cycle across Australia

    ABC journalist Tom Forbes (Class of 1997) sets off on an epic quest to cross the continent on a bicycle.

    Read article
  • Entrepreneur Niamh Sullivan makes Forbes 30 Under 30 shortlist

    Alumna overcame childhood cancer to launch a successful content and strategy studio for tech companies.

    Read article
Previous Next