Slyde Handboards is beyond stoked to add Kealiʻi Punley of Honolulu Hawaii to their talented pool of team riders in 2018.
Slyde's Angela recently chatted with Kealiʻi on Facebook live to reveal more about him personally and the sport of bodysurfing at large.
Kealiʻi is a native Hawaiian bodysurfer, sponsored by DaFin, RVCA, Kaha Nalu Hawaii, and Slyde Handboards.
The meaning of Kealiʻi (his name) it's broken down in two parts Ke and Alli. Alli means chief, royalty, or king, while Ke means The, so essentially his name means The Chief.
He's grew up experiencing both traditional Hawaiian culture (living off the land) as well as a more Western Way (city life and shopping).
He believes in living and sharing the aloha spirit and positive vibes. "What's cool about Hawaii, is these island in the middle of the Pacific ocean are giving out aloha to the whole world. The vibe is different and so positive here."
Growing up he told himself he's never leaving his home state of Hawaii to move to the main land. Although he loves exploring different places, he couldn't imagine living anywhere else except maybe Tahiti.
He's a vegetarian, "I use to make fun of vegetarians and vegans, but I realized before I could make of fun of these people, I needed to be in their shoes and see how it feels." He gave it a try over a year ago, and now is still meat free, and most days just eats vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
Kealiʻi's bodysurfing training consists of running on sand, swimming for extended lengths of time, biking, and the stair-master.
He's a pig hunter "hunting is also a workout, marching up the mountains, and when you catch a pig you have to pack it on your back, it's like piggybacking someone for miles."
He started bodysurfing at age 16 in Waimea Bay because he didn't own a surfboard and all he knew how to do was swim. "I'm the first one in my family to actually bodysurf, I was self-taught for the first 2 years."
He met Sean Enoka in 2014 at the Point Panics Bodysurfing Competition, after catching Sean's attention, when he won his division in the contest.
The biggest lesson/advantage he's found when bodysurfing, is understanding how to read the waves, "you have to know how fast you're going to be on the wave, read the sections, wave speed, and where/when to make your move/trick on the wave." For example: "If I'm on a wave and you want to slow down, I do a spin, a spin will decrease speed a little bit and keep you directly in position on the wave."
GoPro and Instagram inspired him to take his bodysurfing to the next level, through watching the videos and photos from other epic bodysurfers.
He thinks what made him a better bodysurfer was "At any opportunity I had I always asked questions, and intently watch and study other bodysurfers in the water."
He'd love to share a party wave with the late great Duke Kahanamoku.
His favorite contest highlight last year was from Chubascos in Huntington Beach because he had no idea he was even competing and ended up winning his division. "I feel like the most unexpected plans are usually the ones, that turn out to be your best."
Michelle's diploma reads BA Psychology with a minor in English, and her license plate reads #CaliforniaDreaming4Life. She begin her career in the NYC fashion industry working with fashion and internet pioneer, Bluefly.com However, due the constant "nagging" of her entrepreneurial spirit, her crush on surfing, and hardcore love for the ocean, she chosen to call San Diego home for the past 10 years. On the west coast she 's chased waves & enlightenment working alongside "Gurus" in the online marketing & personal development industries. It in May 2012 she found her true Zen & Stoke, and joined the Slyde Handboards Team.