Who’s Now/Who’s Next: Ten Surfers To Watch In 2011

Kaimana Jaquias. Photo: Bielmann/SPL

Kaimana Jaquias. Photo: Bielmann/SPL

Jaquias 2.0: Kaimana Jaquias

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, there’s yet another amazing surfer coming out of Kauai who’s ready to take on the world. Meet seventeen-year-old Kaimana Jaquias from Lihue, Kauai. Son of 1990’s world tour warrior Kaipo Jaquias, Kaimana has stepped out of the shadow cast by his father and is now creating his own destiny and career.

“I had no choice but to become a surfer,” laughs Kaimana. “Since I was seven years old I’ve been my dad’s sparring partner when we surf

Kaimana Jaquias has the bloodlines to succeed.

Kaimana Jaquias has the bloodlines to succeed.

together. We haven’t ever surfed a heat against each other, but I did do better than him at the HIC contest at Sunset this year, so that was cool. He was pissed and went home to start training more!”

A bit taller and lankier than his dad, Kaimana comes into his own in big, hollow rights like Haleiwa and Sunset Beach. “I’m pretty comfortable in big waves, I don’t really get scared much,” he says without sounding cocky. He also knows what he has to work on to be the best: “I need to improve in everything—I’m the slowest paddler ever!”

It’s a catch-22 being from Kauai and trying to make it as a pro surfer, though. The locals are notoriously protective over their waves and cameras are frowned upon, making it tough to get exposure. Hence the “work” trips to Oahu: “You can’t really shoot photos on Kauai, so you gotta go to Oahu and try to get photos with 300 hundred other guys. I have to decide whether to stay home and improve my surfing or go to Oahu—it’s a tough call sometimes.”

Like a lot of people from Kauai, Kaimana was devastated by the passing of his childhood hero and mentor Andy Irons. “He was the guy I looked up to my whole life and got me to where I am today,” he says. “It still doesn’t feel real, the king is gone.” While there may be an irreplaceable void in Kauai’s surf community, it looks like the future is in good hands.—Justin Coté

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