nā koa, issue 1, august 29, 2014, na koa

nā koa FALL 2014 imaikalani devault The next big thing Page 4

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A digital feature magazine by students of Kamehameha Maui's Ka Leo o Nā Koa journalism staff


Page 1: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

nā koaFALL



imaikalani devault

The next big thingPage 4

Page 2: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

FALL 2014

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relax,Be sure to catch our yoga issue in November!

Below, senior Ilima Fisher in seated meditation.

Page 3: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

nā koaFALL 2014.................. ......................................................................................................... ........................

4ON THE COVERImaikalani DeVault This Maui-born, star-in-the-making is on his way to becoming one of the best surfers of this generation.

9Maui Made Six local surfers and bodyboarders share their most memorable surf moments.

16Kazuma: Not Your Average Board We go inside the Kazuma Factory and learn the ins and outs of making a custom board.

17Surfing Essentials The best items for any surf sesh.

18The Grom LIfe These two groms have exactly what it takes to make it big.

COVER Maui native and National Scholastic Surfing Association Champion Imaikalani DeVault ventures out at Hoʻokipa Beach Park to play in the stormy waves.

.................. .......................... .....................................................................................................nā koaA Ka Leo o Nā Koa Publication

Nā Koa Media

Editor-in-Chief Maile Sur

Contact Us: Address: 270 ‘A’apueo Parkway, Pukalani, HI,

96768 • Phone: (808) 573-7019 • Email: [email protected] • Twitter: @kaleoona-

koa • Website: www.kaleoonakoa.org

It’s a magazine.It’s an app.It’s a story.It’s a journey.It’s blood, sweat, and tears.It’s long nights.It’s hours of driving.It’s sand, and wind, and sun in your face.It’s passion for something more.And now, it’s all yours. After months of planning, working and star-ing at a computer screen for days on end, I am proud to introduce Kamehameha Schools Maui’s first-ever digital magazine. At the start of this endeavor, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea my weekdays would be filled with phone calls, my weekends would be turned into road trips for interviews, and my summer would revolve, not around fun and frivolity, but instead would revolve around a project as demanding as that ache in your stomach at 10 in the morning

when you haven’t had your Starbucks because you were running late because you were work-ing on a magazine all night because, even though you didn’t know it, you were on the best adventure of your life. Over the course of the last few months, I got the opportunity to meet many new people and make lasting connections. I got to listen to the stories of so many people I admire on the Maui surf scene, and now I get to share it with the world. That is exactly what Nā Koa is. Nā Koa is the bridge between students, the community, the culture, and the rest of the world. It’s who we are. I present to you, Nā Koa. Eat up, drink it in, and if you like it, invite some friends to try it out too by telling them to download our app. Let’s begin this adventure together.


from the editor

about the editorMaile Sur, 17, is a senior at Kamehameha Schools Maui. She was born and raised on Maui and has a passion for photography and design. Being a lover of the outdoors, she can always be found out and about roaming the forests for great hikes or just hanging at the beach with her friends. She hopes to one day become an art director for a magazine like Seventeen, Teen Vogue or W Magazine.


What is Nā Koa?

Page 4: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

imaikalanidevault.............. ................................. .......................

story + photographs Maile Sur

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imaikalanidevault.............. ................................. .......................

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Photo by Maile Sur

Page 7: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

Imaikalani DeVault

For a 16-year-old, he’s probably been to

more countries than the av-erage teen. Actually, he has been to more countries than the average teen, ranging from Bali, to Japan, to Ta-hiti, to Ecuador, Imaikalani Mark Patrick DeVault has surfed some pretty nice in-ternational waves. Though he is still at a young age, DeVault, “Imai” to his friends, has created quite a name for himself. Though he seems like any typical senior at Kamehameha Schools Maui in Pukalani, DeVault has seen a life filled with dai-ly trips to the beach, extend-ed vacations due to good swells, and a passport filled with stamps from countries all over the world. DeVault grew up all over Maui, but likes to call the North Shore home. He surfs all over the islands, but said that his home break is Ho’okipa Beach Park. DeVault is the second old-est of four, his siblings all be-ing girls. His younger sisters, Kawai (15) and Lehiwa (12), used to surf competitively as well, but found other in-terests over the years. They still surf as a family, howev-er, with their father, Patrick DeVault. Like many profession-al athletes, DeVault started

surfing at the young age of 4. Shortly after, he was already testing the waters in compe-titions. “The first contest I did…was the Keiki contest at the Cove in Kīhei,” DeVault said. “I was really scared to do it, but my dad told me that if I did, he’d buy me my first custom surfboard. So I did it and lost in my first


Classmate Tyra Kuia re-members seeing DeVault

on the first day of the sixth grade with his sweeping sun-bleached bangs, golden tan and laid-back style. She thought to herself, “He looks like a surfer….” Little did she know, he was going to be one of the best surfers of our generation. DeVault continued to prac-tice and compete over the years, surfing in contests like the Hard Rock Café State Surfing Championships and the National Scholastic Surf-ing Association Champi-onships, and placing mostly

in the top four. At the 2008 NSSA Championships in San Clemente, Calif., how-ever, DeVault placed second in the mini-groms division, his first break into the top three, and in 2011, DeVault won the Hawai’ i State Surf-ing Competition. So far this year, DeVault has won his best awards to date. In April, he took home team

gold when he went with the Hawai’i Junior Surf Team to the shores of Ecuador for the International Surfing Association World Junior Championship. Teams from all over the world, including France, Brazil and Australia, were there to claim the title of World Champion. Individually, DeVault placed 4th and won a copper medal in the Boys Under-18 division against Peru’s Luc-ca Mesina and Brazil’s Elivelton Santos and Luan Wood. A few months later, DeVault got the call every surfer dreams of. Surf pho-

tographer Seth de Roulet asked him if he wanted travel to Indonesia with the Moniz brothers, Noa Mizuno, Benji Brand and Kaulana Apo to be shot for Surfing Maga-zine. Without hesitation, he said, “Yes.” So, DeVault and the rest of the crew spent two weeks on a boat surfing the Mentawai Islands. “We’re going to be in a surf movie,” he said, “and in Surf-ing Magazine’s next issue we have a whole spread.” After the shoot, DeVault met up with the Kame-hameha Schools tri-campus Surf Team to compete at the NSSA Championship in Dana Point, Calif. Here, he won his first national ti-tle, the NSSA Open Mens Champion. Not only did he win the title and the medal, but his first-place finish also contributed a ton of points to the overall score. “It felt really great to finally win a national title,” DeVault said. “I’ve been competing in the NSSA nearly my entire life.” This was the seventh time that DeVault had competed in the NSSA Interscholastic Championship, but the first time medaling. He was the only representative of KS Maui, but he said he “wasn’t alone out there.” “Not just one [person pushed me throughout the competition]. The entire team helped me, and we all got along really well,” he said.

DeVault has competed many times and at many beaches around the world, but most of the time he has compet-ed individually, which he is more comfortable doing. Still, he says that he prefers competing with a team.

“It felt really great to finally win a national title. I’ve been competing in the NSSA nearly my entire life.”

-Imaikalani DeVault

Height: 5’ 9”Weight: 155 lbs. Stance: Regular footBoard: Shortboard

(IMAI continued on page 8) 7

Page 8: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

(IMAI continued from page 7) Teammate Cayla Moore (17), from the Kapālama campus, also placed first in her division. After placing fourth in the NSSA Na-tional Championship twice before, this third time was a charm for Moore. Not only did she win first place in the High School Varsity Girls division, she also contribut-ed 18 points to the team by winning all of her heats. “Winning the national title was so amazing…. It’s hard to describe the feeling but I will cherish that feeling for the rest of my life,” she said. But the competition wasn’t a breeze. Moore faced de-fending champion, Maddie Peterson (16), who had also placed fourth for Team USA at the world competition. Luckily for Moore, she was in her element with many of her fellow teammates from the Kamehameha Kapālama Surf Team. Also contributing to the win were seniors Charlie Akao and Kealohi Sabate, both in shortboard. With these young superstars, the Kamehameha Surf Team won their first national surf-ing title. But life isn’t all waves, wax, and winning, DeVault still has to go to school, even if it is less than willingly. “I wasn’t even supposed to go to high school, I was just supposed to surf and focus on the World Tour,” he said, “but my parents wanted me to at least get a high school education.” With the start of senior year, that means completing senior project, submitting college applications, apply-ing for scholarships, and

maintaining a good grade point average, and though he will be joining everyone in the college application process, DeVault has differ-ent plans for the future. “[After high school I plan] to still compete and make it to the World Tour,” DeVault said. “You have to qualify, so that’s what I’d be doing, and my parents are really sup-portive of that.” His mom, Raina DeVault, said, “Imaikalani was fortu-nate enough to find his pas-sion and know exactly what he wanted to do with his life... and he makes sure his academics are taken care of in order to achieve his true goals. He has full support from myself and his dad, as well as the proper guidance to make the life choices that would best suit him.” The Association of Surfing Professionals World Cham-

pionship Tour of Surfing is an elite competition consist-ing of the best professional surfers. In total, there are over 400. DeVault is cur-rently at 120 on that list. If things don’t work out on the competition side, he wants a career on the cor-porate side of surfing by becoming a coach or a team manager.

With all that he’s accom-plished at 16, who knows what 17 will hold? Imaikala-ni DeVault is a powerhouse surfer who is ready to rip into an even better year of surfing. “Only a surfer knows the feeling,” he said, trying to explain his love of the sport, “but once you do, it’s the best feeling in the world.”

DeVault cuts back on a wave at Ho’okipa Beach Park in August during a surf sesh with Cody Young.

Imai checks out the waves and gets ready to go in.

Photo by Maile Sur


Page 9: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

maui MADE

Some of Maui’s greatest up-and-coming surfers and bodyboarders reveal their idols, dreams and more. Be-come a fan; then, be sure to follow their next moves!

Page 10: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

Cody Young

15 2014 Ha-wai’i Junior Surf Team Member, 2011 NSSA Explorer Mene-hune 5th place in Shortboard, 2012 Hawai’i State Surfing Championships 4th place in Shortboard

School: King Kekaulike High School, juniorBoard: ShortboardStance: Regular footed

Describe your toughest com-petition: The 2014 International Surfing Association World Junior Surfing Championship in Ecuador was really tough because the top 8 under-18 surfers from 32 various countries were in the event.

How did you overcome that challenge? As a team, we had the world’s best coaches, including Billabong coach and team manag-er Rainos Hayes, Kahea Hart and Bert Ishimaru and good equip-ment, like boards. Imai [DeVault] and I both use Kazumas, and [Matt Kinoshita] is good about getting all of our shapes and stuff. A good mindset also comes into play be-cause in everything that you do, you need to just have a positive attitude.

What is your biggest accom-plishment? Just being chosen to be on the Hawai’i Junior Surf Team this January was a huge honor.

Hidden Hobbies: I smoke Imai at playing Kendama.

Coolest place you’ve surfed? Canada

What are your must-haves for surfing? A Dakine leash and Ka-zuma surfboard, Vertra sunscreen, wax, boardshorts or a wetsuit, and a Spam musubi for post-surf.

Photo by Maile Sur


Page 11: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

2014 Surfing

America USA Longboard

runner-up, 2013 NSSA National

runner-up in Explorer Womens Longboard, 4th in

Open Longboard Division, and Maui Interscholastic

League runner-up in Womens Shortboard

School: Lāhainaluna High School, graduated 2014Board: Both, prefers longboardStance: Regular footed

When did you begin surfing? I was in the water all the time as a baby, so my dad threw me on a board at 3 years old going tandem with him. After that, it didn’t take long for me to do it by myself. Since then I’ve been hooked.

Who is your go-to surf partner? Sierra Larsen, 2013 MIL Champi-on in shortboard.

Whom do you idolize? I really admire Kassia Meadors, Roxy team rider. She makes it look so easy.

Who are your sponsors? Hono-lua Surf Co and Kaiulu Swimwear.

Surf goals or dreams? One day I hope to be the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Longboard Champion.Best surf-or-die moment: I was at Honolua Bay during a long-board heat, and the leash some-how wrapped around my knee and pulled it out of socket, so my kneecap was out of place, and the waves were really big. I just floated there until a lifeguard came to pop my knee back, and then I paddled back out.

Farthest you’ve gone to catch a wave? Probably Noosa, Australia. I went there this past March for the Noosa Festival of Surfing, and I plan to move there this year be-cause of the longboard scene.

Sierra Lerback


Photo used courtesy of Dooma Photos


Page 12: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

Ridge Lenny

17 2014 Kekoa Ink Koa Bowl Cham-pion in Junior Division, 2014 Maui Interscholas-tic League Runner-up in Mens Shortboard, 2014 SUP Fiesta Junior Pro 3rd Place

School: Seabury Hall, seniorBoard: Shortboard, Stand-up Paddleboard Stance: Regular footed

Who inspired you to surf? My family has always been avid beach-goers, so it was only natu-ral that I would learn to surf at a very young age. My parents have always been my biggest inspiration because, while I was growing up, I saw them having fun every day in the ocean, and I wanted to join them.

Favorite surf spot? My favorite spot is a little beach called Sugar Cove. I literally grew up on this beach, and to this day I have been living right across the street from it. It definitely isn’t the best surf spot in the world, but I have had so many really fun sessions with my friends and family in the water.

Who is your biggest inspira-tion? Ever since my brother and I were super young, we would constantly watch videos of Laird Hamilton at Jaws. He was always our biggest inspiration because he rode the biggest waves in the world with a lot of style.

Best laugh-out-loud moment: This one time I was surfing at Pa-vilions, near Ho’okipa, and there are a lot of turtles. So this one girl was just sitting in the line-up wait-ing for a wave, and a turtle came and got stuck in her leash and started swimming straight down…she started freaking out because her board was getting sucked out from under her.

Photo used courtesy of Erik Aeder


Page 13: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

2014 Maui

Interscho-lastic League Champion in

Boys Bodyboarding Division, The Maui News

First-Time 2014 MIL Surfer of the Year

School: Lāhainaluna High School, graduated 2014

Who inspired you to body-board? I was a surfer before [I began bodyboarding], but seeing some of the older locals body-boarding really made me want to bodyboard instead.

If you could bodyboard any-where in the world, where would it be? Tahiti. This is one place that I plan on surfing before I die.

Whom do you idolize? Guys that I idolize include riders like Mike Stewart, Jeff Hubbard and Jacob Romero.

Bodyboarding goals or dreams: My goals are to one day become a professional bodyboarder and to compete as one of the few Ha-waiians on the International Body-boarding Association World Tour. Qualifying for the Grand Slam Series would be monumental in my life and would definitely be my greatest accomplishment.

Who are you sponsored by? I am sponsored by BZ Body-boards, Churchill Fins, Hi-Tech Surf Sports and Pacific Pyramid Clothing. These sponsors came to be from a lot of commitment to the sport. Surfing as much as possible and pushing myself to compete as much as possible is what helped me to accomplish my goal of becoming a sponsored rider. Favorite quote: If you ain’t first, you’re last!

Nainoa Steward


Photo used courtesy of Justin Enright


Page 14: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

Ginger Prados

15 2014 Maui I n t e r s c h o -lastic League C h a m p i o n -ship in Girls Bodyboarding Di-vision, The Maui News First-Time 2014 MIL Surfer of the Year

School: King Kekaulike, junior

Who is your go-to bodyboard-ing partner? My twin sister, Am-ber.

If you could surf anywhere in the world, where would it be? I think I would go to Australia, rent a van, and go on an adventure down the coastline just searching for waves with some of my good friends.

Describe your toughest compe-tition: My toughest competition so far would have to be the 2014 Pā’ia Bay Beachfest Juniors Di-vision. My first heat was easy, but after, when I went to the semi-fi-nals, it started to get tough. I was nervous because I was the only girl, the youngest, and the worst com-pared to the boys that I was against.

How did you overcome that challenge? I overcame it by trying to land my 360’s, getting barrels, and trying to make it out. I ended up placing 5th.

Favorite bodyboard memory? It was winter, and it was pretty big out; I was with my sister, my mom, and a bunch of my aunties out bodyboarding. It was just super fun because it was a bunch of girl bodyboarders out.

Best laugh-out-loud body-boarding moment? [My sister and I] went to Honolua Bay with the Pā’ia Youth and Cultural Cen-ter, and there was this one guy who was super funny. There’s this one rock in the middle of the bay that he would get on and pretend like he was a mermaid, and then a wave came, and he almost got pounded. Photo by Maile Sur


Page 15: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

2014 Maui Interscho-

lastic League Girls Body-

board Runner-up at Lāhaina, D.T.

Flemings and Ho’okipa contests

School: King Kekaulike, junior

Where is your favorite body-boarding spot? I have a lot, but my most favorite is Ho’okipa and Honomanu because those are the two spots I grew up going to, and I feel comfortable there. I couldn’t choose just one!

Who is your go-to bodyboard-ing partner? My twin sister, Ginger.

Who are you sponsored by? The Foam Company.

Whom do you idolize in the bodyboarding world? Alexandra Rinder, 2012 European Championship Junior Champi-on and 2011 ISA World Games bronze medalist.

Bodyboarding goals or dreams: Just to travel the world with my sister and a photographer and to surf all the best spots and big wave spots. Also to compete in the Asso-ciation of Professional Bodyboard-ing and IBA and just have fun, but it would be nice to win, too!

Bodyboarding: hobby or ca-reer? I plan on bodyboarding for the rest of my life and just see[ing] what happens. Whether it becomes a career or not, I will never stop bodyboarding!

Best surf-or-die moment? It was my birthday last year, and my sister and I paddled out at Ho’okipa, and it was a pretty big day, like 15-foot faces, and having to duck dive was hard [if ] you don’t really make it, so duck diving is definitely the scari-est part about it.

Amber Prados


Photo by Maile Sur


Page 16: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

Hawai’i born and raised, Matt Ka-

zuma Kinoshita has been surfing for over 30 years. He was previously a profes-sional surfer, earning the ti-tle of United States Surfing Champion in 1996. Today, when not fighting fires with the Pā’ia Fire Department, he has his own surfboard brand and shapes boards for some of the top surfers in the world, including Dusty Payne, Ian Walsh, and even Kamehameha Maui’s own, Imaikalani DeVault. Kinoshita learned the art of shaping from Ben Aipa, a legendary shaper and coach. Aipa was his surf coach when Kinoshita was on the Hawai’i Surf Team. When Kinoshita became a surf coach himself, he saw kids who didn’t have the most essential piece of equipment — a board — on a daily basis, so he said he decided he would build them boards. When he was starting out, Kinoshita worked along-side Roger Anderson, who shaped for Gerry Lopez, winner of the Pipeline Mas-ters competition in 1972 and 1973, which, since then, has been renamed the Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters. He also worked with Hawai-ian Island Creations shap-ing boards and sold boards through Hi-Tech Surf Sports.

Later, in 1989, the doors of Kazuma Surfboards Hawai’i were ready to be opened. By then, his skill and reputation had grown, and Kinoshita’s “magic” boards were ready to be sold in stores. So, what is a magic board? On a humid afternoon earlier this month, I paid a visit to the Kazuma Surf-board shop in Hā’iku to get the scoop. The board factory, which is located in the same building as the showroom, has windows that allow you to see the magic being made. In a tiny showroom with boards, pictures and post-ers pasted on the walls, the do-it-all Kazuma Surfboard sales and showroom manag-er, Todd Bernardy, told me all about the board that de-livers. “All Kazuma boards are magic. A magic board just works, works for you every time, and it wont let you down,” he said. “I think that’s why Matt [Kinoshita] calls his performance shortboard the Milkman — because it always delivers.” And it obviously must. With sales of between 30,000-50,000 boards with-in the past 28 years, Kazuma surfboards are not your aver-age board. In addition to offering ready-made boards, Kazu-ma Surfboards is also well known for its custom surf-boards. Kinoshita adjust dif-ferent elements of the board to personalize it to a surfer’s style. Whether you need a board that helps with your

cutbacks or airs, Kinoshita knows how to make simple changes to make the board perform the best it can. The coolest part about customiz-ing a board is that you get to see your board being made from the factory showroom. Kazuma surfboards go through a 3-5 day process, including everything from shaping to laminating to sanding. It all starts with a blank. Kinoshita has two CNC, or Computer Numerical Con-trol, machines that he uses to create a computer-aided file that cuts the blank into the raw shape. After a final shaping to smooth it out, he brings the blank to the factory to get fiberglassed, a

2-day process. Then, a hot coat of resin and styrene wax is added to make the board water-tight and sand-able. After a final sanding down, it’s good to go. But this isn’t a walk in the park. This is some dangerous stuff. During the shaping pro-cess, inhaling the Methy-lene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) and Toluene diisocy-anate (TDI) dust particles in the foam, can cause asthma and other long-term health consequences. Because of this danger, Kinoshita and the factory employees wear re-breathers and eye protec-tion.(see KAZUMA on next page)

Kazuma: Not Your Average BoardMatt Kinoshita’s line of quality boards brings the “magic” to surfers and the best surf spots around the worldby maile sur, editor-in-chief

The Kazuma Surfboard showroom and factory in Hā’iku.


Page 17: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa


All of the best products fi t for surfers; from beginners, to pro’s and to you.

......... .........


VertrA eLeMentAL reSiStAnce, 23




SPy oPtic, 179



niXon, 200




fUtUre finS, 99




creAtUreS of LeiSUre, 33

(KAZUMA from facing page)

Th e factory employees also wear gloves for protection from the volatile chemicals in the resin that can cause skin irritation and bleeding in the lungs. Sometimes they even tape the gloves so that resin doesn’t get in. But, all the work is worth it to produce a wide array of quality surf products. Ka-zuma Surfboards Hawai’i doesn’t just sell surfboards. After Kinoshita teamed up with businessman Stefano Maffi ni 5 to 7 years ago, the company moved into prod-ucts for other watersports, like stand-up paddling and kiteboarding. Th ey have also made connections to sell Ka-zuma products in other parts of the world, such as Brazil, Japan, Europe, and Israel. KS Maui’s Imaikalani DeVault has been a Kazuma Surfboards Hawai’i rider for a long time, but it wasn’t un-til 2009 that Kinoshita asked DeVault to become a Ka-zuma Surboards team rider. Th is meant benefi ts. Not only do team riders

usually get free boards, but they’re also custom-made. DeVault’s boards, Bernardy said, are “usually Milkmen or Oama’s, 18 inches wide, usually between 2.18 and 2.25 inches thick, and they vary in length between 5’8” and 6’8”.” Team riders get about 10 to 15 boards a year, but once they’re either done or over a board, they bring it back to the factory and trade it in for a new one. Th e old one gets sold as used in the show-room. Some boards, howev-er, are worthy of showcasing. In the showroom, there are many photos and items on display that show off the accomplishments of Kazuma Surfboards’ riders. Ian Walsh’s Jaws tow board is on display above the door to the offi ce next to mega-wave surfer Matt Meola’s

shortboard. After DeVault’s recent National Scholastic Surfi ng Association Cham-pionship win in California this summer, his board is currently in the showroom and awaiting its time to be put on the wall. “Th ey’re part of the fabric of the company,” Bernardy said. Kazuma Surfboards Ha-wai’i is located in Hā’iku, Maui, at 375 West Kuiaha Road and is open Mon-day-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Boards range in price from around $445 for a shortboard to almost $2,000 for a stand-up paddle board. Th ey also sell accessories like fi ns, leashes, wax, and Kazu-ma t-shirts. If you’re passing through Hā’iku, be sure to stop by to see the birth of some genu-ine surf magic.

Above: The Kazuma Surfboards Hawai’i Showroom. Right: Cody Bahl sands down a board before it’s ready to be sold...............................................

Vertra photo used from vertra.com, Spy Optic photo courtesy of Mauricio Oban-do, Nixon photo used from nixon.com, Creatures of Leisure photo used fromcreatues-usa.com, Future Fins photo from futurefi ns.com.



Page 18: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

Growing up with a board in hand

and the ocean as their play-ground, these boys don’t know a life without surfing. Travelling the world while getting to do the one thing they love, these groms—kids under 15 who shred waves—are ready for the next level of surfing. Axel Rosenblad, a 7th grad-er at Kalama Intermediate School in Makawao, Maui, has a passion for surfing like no other. With wins under his belt like 1st place at the National Scholastic Surf-ing Association Hawai’i in both Explorer Menehune Division and Open Boys Division, he’s got a bright future...after he gets over a little bump in the road, that is. For Rosenblad, the past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. While doing what he loves best at Ho’oki-pa Beach Park on August 11, 2014, Rosenblad’s femur met a 10-foot longboard on one of the bigger waves. “I was paddling out and a kooky guy was kind of next to me,” Rosenblad said. “He started paddling in front of me, and I told him to watch out, but when the wave hit, he lost control of his board.” Rosenblad was surfing with his friend, Ty Simpson and Ty’s little sister. So when the whole accident went down, they were the only ones out there to help him. “At first it felt like a bruise; it wasn’t that bad,” Rosen-blad said. “But once I came up and got air, it immediate-(GROMS see facing page)

The next generation of professional surfers is here, and they are already both shaking up and being shaken up by the surf world. It’s

The Grom Lifeby maile sur, editor-in-chief

Left: The x-ray of Rosenblad’s broken femur. Above: Big wave surfer Makua Rothman visited Rosenblad in the hospital.

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Rosenblad


Page 19: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

(GROMS from facing page)

ly felt like a lot of pain, and I could feel my bone.” Simpson helped Rosenblad get onto the very longboard that had run Rosenblad over and paddled him in to shore. There, beachgoers helped and called 911. On call was Matt Kinoshi-ta, the owner of Kazuma Surfboards. (See related story on page 16.) “It’s scary [getting calls about accidents at Ho’oki-pa] in a way because I know it’s somebody that I know,” Kinoshita said. “I’m always thinking, “Who could it be?’” But, Kinoshita said he was also glad that he was the one working when they got the call because he knows Rosenblad and thought his presence could comfort him. After getting to Maui Memorial Medical Center’s emergency room, Rosen-blad was put back in the ambulance and taken to the airport. From there, he was medevaced to Kaiser Per-manente Moanalua Medical Center and Clinic on O’ahu. The next day, Rosenblad underwent two-and-a-half hours of surgery. The sur-geons inserted a metal plate and six pins to keep the bone straight. After surgery, the pain got worse. Rosenblad said it felt like he “got run over by a car, and the car just stayed there.” Rosenblad has been on O’ahu with his mom, Jen-nifer, and they don’t quite know when they’ll be able to travel. He has been doing a lot of physical therapy, and as soon as Rosenblad is able to sit in a chair, they can get

on a plane and come back to Maui. The pain and being laid out on his back for weeks hasn’t changed Rosenblad’s mind about surfing. “I wouldn’t say I’m scared to go surf,” he said, “but I’m definitely going to be more careful with all the kooks.” But at least one good thing came out of it — his mother bought him an iPad to help him cope with his physical therapy. In a post on Facebook she said, “It was brutal. I don’t usually do things like that, but this was an exeption.” Another grom who is getting a lot of attention is Jackson Bunch, a 5th grader at Doris Todd Academy in Pā’ia, Maui. At the age of 3, Bunch was inspired to begin surfing by his dad, Jack, and two years later, the younger Bunch started competing. His first contest was Ian Walsh’s Menehune May-hem at Ho’okipa Beach Park in Pā’ia, Maui. Since then, however, Bunch has com-

peted in many other cmpeti-tions, including the National Scholastic Surfing Champi-onships, the Volcom Harbor Contest, Surfing America USA Championships and the Hawai’i Surfing As-sociation Championships, placing in the top 3 in all of them. This year, Bunch won his best awards to date. Over the summer, Bunch competed in the NSSA Championships against surfers like Jett Schilling, 2013 West Coast Cham-pion, and Billabong’s Bro-di Sale. Despite the tough competition, Bunch showed well. In the Explorer Super Groms division, Bunch won first with a score of 16.93 over Sale’s 15.54. Schilling, however, slipped past Bunch with a point difference of 0.04 points. The win in Hunting-ton Beach, California was Bunch’s greatest accom-plishment. “I was stoked” Bunch said. Most recently though, Bunch competed in the Vol-

com Qualifying Series Puff-erfish Surf Series at Lāhaina Harbor, Maui, on August 16, 2014. He won first in the Squids division and got a ton of goodies from Volcom. Bunch is sponsored by Volcom, along with Dakine, Oakley, Hi-Tech Surf and Sports, Base Wetsuits, Mi-nami Surfboards and Vertra. “I got the sponsorsorships by just surfing my best,” Bunch said. Though most kids his age have a lot of other activities that could steal them away from surfing, Bunch says he “never wanted to do any-thing else.” Well, except for boxing that is. Twice a week Bunch goes to the Alfred “Flako” Bo-teilho Sr. Gymnasium, also known as Pā’ia Gym, and boxes for cross-training. With such a killer career so far, there’s no saying what’s in store for him next. His advice for other up-and-coming groms: “Never give up. Try your best and have fun. Go big.”

Photo used courtesy of Dooma Photos

Bunch catches some air on his Minami board during a fun surf sesh at Honomanu Bay with friends.


Page 20: Nā Koa, Issue 1, August 29, 2014, Na Koa

Imaikalani DeVault