And Now… A Few Words With Kamalei Alexander
So, who better than Kamalei Alexander to fill us in on the mindset of a Hawaiian surfer on Oahu’s North Shore for the contest season…
Travis Lee: So, Kamalei, I’m sure the North Shore is like a second home to you, but where is home for you and your family?
Kamalei Alexander: I’m from the East side of Kauai, Kapaa.
TL: You recently just placed third in the HIC Sunset Pro, congrats on that. What were you riding?
KA: Yeah, thank you! It’s a cool story; I actually was riding a 6’5 MSG that AL shaped for Andy (AI). Thing worked good!
TL: You’re a pretty laid back guy, do you set goals for yourself and your surfing or more or less just cruise and go with the flow?
KA: I used to cruise and golf way more. This year I’m taking my surfing more seriously; I’ve been hustling, I’ve been working out a little , training , and even surfing when its super small. I’m getting stuff done. I set a goal for the first event this year to make the podium so it felt great to accomplish that. I would really like to win one of he next three events with my ultimate goal being to win the Triple Crown.
TL: So it sounds like you’re more focused than ever and have several goals for your surfing this winter.
KA: Yes, I find myself constantly looking for ways to improve my surfing on a daily basis. Today I surfed with Sunny and I was just hittin’ him up for advice and tips all day.
TL: Besides Sunny who would you be super psyched to go surf with right now?
KA: Shoot, I mean, Curren, Slater, Dorian obviously but also Nathan Fletcher, Julian Wilson and the G-Bros get me super psyched!
TL: Who is your crew over here? Who are the guys that you surf with and hang with everyday?
KA: Makua, Saul Ortiz, Marcus, Charlie and Dustin Barca… but he is hurt right now.
TL: Random question: Oahu or Kauai?
TL: Most people do not know this but you are your beautiful wife, Kelly, are having a baby soon! What’s that feel like?
KA: I’m super pumped! We are having a girl. I just hope for a good healthy birth and baby. I am so excited; they are the driving force behind my achievements.
TL: So, one thing I have noticed is that you always have one of the coolest quivers around. You have all the bells and whistles from corrugated rails (grooves) to full, thick decks with foiled out rails and quad and five fin options. This year you are rocking the 6-channels on almost all your boards. Anything behind this?
KA: Yeah, it’s all part of my drive to better my surfing by trying different things. From things such as surfing as free as I want, to catching more waves, going faster in the barrel to putting it more on rail, to making the most of every wave.
TL: Can you break it down a little more?
KA: Yeah, I’m not saying I came up with any of these ideas but I’m taking what works and applying it to my boards.
TL: Ok, how about we go through them… What’s up with corrugated rails or grooves along the rail of your boards?
KA: It’s that tin roof theory; Its much stronger with those grooves and I break a lot less boards. They are also comfortable to grab onto when you need to.
TL: How about all the volume you have hidden under your chest on your boards? Some of your bigger boards are 2 3/4 thick in the center but your rails are nice and pinched and under 2 1/2.
KA: Yep, the thickness under the chest really helps me paddle and catch waves easily and the thinner foiled out rail makes turning on the face much better than a big bulky rail you can’t sink.
TL: And the 6-channels?
KA: I ordered them on a short board this year and ended up loving it. It had a lot of speed. So, basically I just went for it on my whole quiver. So far so good, I’m liking them a lot.
TL: Last but not least, the quad fin option… all your boards? And, where is the best place on the North Shore to ride them?
KA: Quads are a great option; they are so fast in the barrel. I like riding them anywhere with a long barrel like Pipe or Backdoor, but even Sunset. They honestly work anywhere. It’s just a matter of where you put the fins.
TL: Living in Hawaii, what size board gets the most use in your quiver?
KA: Well, this meager winter, my 6’0, but usually my 6’8 or 6’10.
TL: I was with Tanner Gudauskas yesterday and he was “frothing,” he told me he saw you paddle by wearing two vests and on your 11’3. Were you training? Why the vests?
KA: I’m not going to know what it feels like if I’m not wearing them right? You’ve got to get ready and use your equipment because when the waves get big you don’t want to be figuring it out then! Practice makes perfect.
TL: Thanks for your time Kamalei and good luck at Haleiwa. Currently Kamalei is set to compete in round of 128 at the first event of the Triple Crown, the Reef Haleiwa Pro event. He is currently sponsored by Analog, Gravis, Channel Islands, Da Kine, Cliff Bar, Nixon and Electric.