Hometown: Makakilo, Oahu
Years surfing: 10 years
Sponsors: Hurley International, Arnette, Reef, HIC, and OAM.
[IMAGE 1]You won a US Amateur title, you won the Worlds this year, you won an NSSA title. How big is this in terms of your career?
It’s a huge stepping stone jumping into the WQS this coming year. Hopefully it will help mysponsors help me out more, send me on the road, and give me a lot of money. This sets me up for mycareer as a professional, doing the WQS events. It gives me a lot of confidence and the feeling that Ican step up into that level.
When you won in Brazil, it must have been pretty heavy with all of the Brazilians getting the homeadvantage, and it’s just you and your boys there. How did that feel?
It was the best feeling that I ever felt in my life. Going to Brazil and having three Braziliansin the final with me, and taking it home from Brazil for Hawaii felt so good. Coming onto the beach withall your boys lifting you up. It was such a good experience.
Did they mess with you at all when you were down there?
No, they were actually pretty cool. I thought for sure that they were going to do something tome in the final. Everybody just did their own thing in the final. I managed to get three good sets, andit paid off.
What do you like to do when you’re not surfing?
[IMAGE 2] I do whatever. Cruise, play basketball, whatever.
All those guys around your age: you, Kekoa Bacalso, Dustin Cuizon, Tom Dosland; do you think you guysare the future in terms of pro contests?
Yeah, I think we are. We have a good chance at it. We have strong talent like Dustin Cuizon.They’re younger than us and they’re surfing just as good as us. I think we have a good chance of havinga lot of Hawaiians coming up in the WCT.
Now that you are starting to get into the pro stuff, what do you think are some of the things that youneed to work on to make it happen?
I need to get stronger, push harder, and surf smarter. I need to go out in the heat and catchsets. You’re not going to beat a guy riding sets when you’re catching small ones and surfing weaker.You’ve got to step it up, push harder, and throw bigger turns.
What’s next year looking like for you?
I have one more year of school left, so I think that I’m going to do the Nationals for one moreyear. I’m going to try to win the open in that one. Starting this January, I’m going to do a lot more ofthe WQS’s. I’m going to go to Brazil, and do all the WQS’s around here.
Do you feel pressure because you did win all these titles this year, and then you’re coming back foranother one?
In a way, yeah. I don’t want to come back and bomb out. I’m just pretty stoked that I have thosetitles under my belt already. I think I’ll be psyching coming into Trestles for the Nationals next year.Do you like coming to California?
Yeah and I love surfing Trestles. The contest gets a lot of exposure in the mags, which is why Ilike coming here. It’s my last year, so I’m just going to try and hopefully it pays off.
Is there anyone that you would like to thank for getting you to where you’re at?
I’d like to thank Rainos (Hayes), all my sponsors, my parents, my family, all my friends.
[IMAGE 3]How important do you think it is to have a guy like Rainos just watching out for you and teaching youthe things that he’s learned?
I think that it’s super important. He helped push my surfing so much. He helped me to not makethe same mistakes that he made when he was younger surfing. It’s such an advantage. It helps us step itup a little.