Interview with Kaha Nalu Hawaii Rider and 2015 Point Panic Champion

Kaneali’i Wilcox

How old are you and how long have you been bodysurfing at Point Panic?

I’m 23 and I’ve been surfing Panics for almost half my life, going on 11 years.

How long have you been attempting the flip? Have you actually completed it before?

I’ve been doing this maneuver for about 8 years now. It took me a couple of weeks before I started to get the hang of it. Then maybe like a few more years until I could do them on sets and only the last few years I’ve been able to ride it out and do a few more tricks after.

Have you seen other guys complete the flip?

Well my friend Kenji showed me a clip on Youtube of a Brazilian doing a flip and that’s where it all started. Since then, I have a few friends that can also pull this trick off.

Why is Point Panic such a hot bed for bodysurfing innovation? What makes it special?

The wave speed at Point Panics is perfect for bodysurfers; it allows us to do the tricks we want. What makes Panics so special is not just the fact that legally only bodysurfers can ride there, it’s the camaraderie that goes around. I can remember my first sessions out there: uncles giving me tips on how to ride the wave better, almost always the smell of someone BBQ-ing accompanied by all their loud laughter, and nothing but stoke for bodysurfing. Luckily same goes to this day. I love hooting at the little ones giving them the extra courage to charge.

What is the next big bodysurfing trick?

My friend Matt from Big island was telling me that he’s pulled off an ARS a few times and I’ve seen a Brazilian on Youtube do one so that’s the next one to practice.

Bodysurfing yarns woven 'tween crest & trough