Our next rider comes from a part of the world that is high on many peoples bucket list, home to one of the most dangerous waves on the planet and some of the most technically gifted riders out there currently, namely Sammy Morretino, Tanner Mcdaniel, the Hubboards and the legends Jack "the ripper" Lindholm, Mike Stuart, Ben Severson, Hauoli Reeves to name just a few.
The contest scene is still fierce and active and the variety of waves on offer makes it still the most wave dense destinations in the world, some great surf shops like the Foam Company who now stock our beloved Thrashinlt and brands like Hubboards.
It is also home to this very inspirational character, can I please introduce you to.............
"Hi my name is Pohakukauea Naluwai Kekaualua Aka HATU, I am 28 and was born and raised in Wailua on the island of Kaua’i in Hawai’i. I will probably remain here for the rest of my life.
I started bodyboarding pretty much before I could walk, thanks to my older brother Punohu Kekaualua III.
I got into bodyboarding because my family is around the ocean a lot. My brother and his friends were the reason I started to bodyboard when I was young, my brother pushed me on my first wave when I was 2 years old.
My older brother, and my parents Debra and Punohu Kekaualua Jr
My local break is Wailua Beach inside horners, my favourite break in my country is Cemeteries, in the world it would have to be Honey cups.
My dad bought me a dark blue Manta boogie, that was my first board and I landed my first ARS on that board at inside horners.
When I started getting more serious into the sport, I was rolling with a good size group, all we did was look for waves and good vibes. I think like 10 or more deep. Evan K, Taylor S, Trevor G, Kobe Y, Justin M, DJ C, Noa M and a few more.
I have competed in United States Bodyboarding Association (USBA) when I was an amateur, ranked 5th at best in mens am. Then I went into the IBA Hawaii tour, Ranked 3rd in DropKnee and 7th in prone at best, currently in the APB World Tour Ranking, 5th in DropKnee and 11th in Prone QS at best.
I have a few different jobs, I am a Kayak Tour Guide, I run a non-profit bodyboarding contest venue and I am a hula performer.
I am a sponsored rider for Science Bodyboards, Viper Surfing Fins, Gyroll Wetsuits & Leashes, The Spirit of CAN., Ivy&co, Miliani Eyeware, and Feral Krew.
I Ride a 41” Science Pocket LTD from Science Bodyboards, Med-Large MS Vipers Blue/Pink dot from Viper surfing fins and I use a Gyroll Leash and a Gyroll Short John Spring suit.
I’d liked to be sponsored by a corporate company to help bring money into our sport, If more corporate companies invest in bodyboarding then the sport would grow bigger faster.
I use mainly sponsored clothes, CAN. and Ivy&co and I just wish that bodyboarding brands made board shorts.
Must like EDC gets me pumped when Its big and Reggae when is fun size.
My first surf trip out of the country was to Indonesia in 2007, from all the different waves we surfed and the different people we met to racing mopeds and getting drunk. It was the first time I experienced the feeling of loosening up and not really having to worry about things, It was a trip I will never forget, good vibes, fun times, and perfect waves.
There are so many subjects and stories I would love to share with everyone but here is my main story for every one.
Im 28 years old, I’ve been on the world tour and travelled up to 10 different countries for competitive and free bodyboarding. I have been competing since I was 11, I was able to work my way through the ranks of Kauai Island, moving up to top ranks in the state and the nation. From there I was able to jump into a regional competition venue called United States Bodyboarding Association (USBA). I was able to make it into the top 10 whereas this venues rider competition was a lot harder.
It was during this time I fell into an opportunity to work along side Jason Bitzer the USBA’s founder.
Jason Bitzer was the guy that took me under his wing and taught me almost everything I needed to know about running a bodyboarding contest event. After about 4 years my mom Debra and I were able to create Kauai Bodyboarding Association (KBA) when I was 16 years old.
KBA is a contest venue for the bodyboarding community on Kauai island. The reason why, because in those 5 years of learning contest management the bodyboarding contest on Kauai stopped.
KBA has been running for about 11 years now, we were stepping stones for some of the best riders to day. We have hosted Pro Bodyboarders like Tanner McDaniel and Kawika Kamai. Our biggest claim to fame is Sammy Morretino the 3x DropKnee World Champ in the All Pro Bodyboarding (APB) contest venue. Sammy rose through the ranks of KBA right into USBA and APB.
I Noticed at a young age that it’s all about Family and Community, being famous for being a pro bodyboarder is awesome but tends to fade if you don’t do well in contest or don’t put out a lot of video/picture content.
But, being a leader and an inspiration to your family and community will never fade and will always have the purest of benefits for not just me as a person who needs to survive, but also for the community because they help me to survive.
Be an Inspiration to the people around you. Help them, because in the end, they will help you.
Photo credits include: