Soul surfing: an interview with Alicia Kelley
This month, ahead of the full launch of our Ohana Hana Swimwear collection, we caught up with 20-year-old Hawaiian surfer, college student and influencer, Alicia Kelley to chat all things surfing and swimwear.
Lokahi Swimwear: Tell us a little bit about yourself and growing up in Hawaii
Alicia: “My name is Alicia Eunhae Kelley. I am 20 years old and born and raised in Kaneohe Bay, Hawai’i, alongside my sister and mother. I am a college student and I love to surf, eat food, swim, hike, travel, and I love to try new activities :).
“Growing up in Hawaii has been a blessing, considering the fact we had the chance to grow up in paradise with the best surf breaks in the world. Hawai’i is a place where the culture is unlike no other around the world. It’s very unique.
“From the mountains to the oceans, there’s always something to do, learn and explore.”
Lokahi Swimwear: How old were you when you started surfing, and what is your first memory of surfing?
Alicia: “I was taught how to surf by a really sweet neighbor when I was in elementary school - a couple called Andy and Sue. They took me out surfing for the first time and it was one of the best days ever as a young child. I recall catching a wave all the way in on a bright red longboard.
“A few years after in middle school, I remember watching Bethany Hamilton’s movie soul surfer and felt inspired to try surfing again and it was tough! I had two major surf accidents in six months that resulted in stitches. Then, my Uncle, Wade Tokoro generously took time out his day to teach me how to surf safely. And ever since that day with Uncle wade in middle school, I decided I wanted to start a journey with surfing :).”
Lokahi Swimwear: Is there one surf spot or wave that you love the most?
Alicia: “I love surfing castles in Kailua, and it is my favorite spot to this day. When I started surfing it was an after-school spot to meet up with everyone to go surf or play on the beach!”
Lokahi Swimwear: Where do you want to surf that you haven't been?
Alicia: “I would love to have the opportunity to go to New Zealand to explore and find some waves. It looks so beautiful, exotic and there are sheep!”
Lokahi Swimwear: What do you look for in a swimsuit when it comes to surfing?
Alicia: “The one thing I look for in a swimsuit when it comes to surfing is making sure it stays on and looks naturally fitting, then importantly, has a print that carries a specific vibe. I think that the kind of swimsuit you wear surfing can also show what kind of person you are, just like clothes and fashion. Swimsuits are a way to make your mark.”