Kinimaka to surf in prestigious national contest
LAHAINA — The name “Kaimana” translates roughly into “Spirit of the Sea.”
In launching his competitive surfing career, 14-year-old Kaimana Kinimaka of Lahaina indeed represents the spirit of the ocean.
Moreover, young Kinimaka’s uncle, Titus Kinimaka of Kauai, is one of Hawaii’s renowned watermen, and his dad, Kimo Kinimaka, is the owner of Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy here in Lahaina.
So, the pathway was set and Kaimana, at the tender age of three years old, took the steps across the sand to the waves in the warm waters at Breakwall and the Harbor, like so many other Lahaina grommets.
His personality — his “mana” — blended perfectly with the high-quality curls at the reefs fronting Lahaina Harbor, and soon young Kinimaka was carving and slashing with the best of them.
“He liked to surf, but he also liked other sports like football, soccer, baseball and basketball,” said dad Kimo. “So he took some years off from surfing to play those sports.”
Kaimana, blessed with speed and athleticism, excelled in those endeavors up to the age of 12.
His small frame — he is now 5’1” and 105 pounds — became a limitation, and he decided to return to his comfort zone in the ocean.
Kaimana’s athleticism and affinity with the sea have blended to the point where he is taking off on an aerial flight into the world of competitive surfing.
In April of 2008, he ripped his way to a fifth place finish in his first contest, Andy and Bruce Irons’ event at Pine Trees at Hanalei Bay, Kauai.
“That was his first contest, and Kaimana got really excited after that,” beamed proud papa Kimo.
Fast forward to early last month, and now Kaimana is a freshman at Lahainaluna High School sporting a 3.85 grade point average and that affable beachboy personality that seems to permeate the ranks of young Lahaina wave riders.
He is also glowing with a second place trophy from last month’s Hawaii Amateur Surfing Association (HASA) contest held at Ala Moana Bowls in perfect three- to four-foot waves.
He is sponsored by Analog and Matt Kinoshita Surfboards, and the HASA finish won him a ticket to the prestigious Surf In America event slated for June 19-30 at California’s world-famous Huntington Beach Pier and Trestles surf breaks.
“There’s going to be kids from all over the world — Brazil, Asia, Europe, East Coast — coming for this contest. We’re really looking forward to going, and we’re really happy for Kaimana,” Kimo concluded.