Following In A Father’s Footsteps

Kaua‘i’s Kaimana Jaquias won the NSSA Men’s Open Championship July 1 in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Kaimana Jaquias and I have at least one thing in common – our fathers are great role models. And while I’m not a cattle rancher like my “old man,” Kaimana is following in dad Kaipo’s footsteps as a championship surfer.

At the height of his storied career, Kaipo won the 1996 Triple Crown of Surfing, as well as a world championship.

Kaimana, a 17-year-old from Lihue, made a huge step in that direction earlier this month, taking home the highly coveted National Scholastic Surfing Association Men’s Open Championship July 1 in California.

And he did it in dramatic fashion, getting everything he could out of a small, mushy wave in the final minute of the final heat to come from behind for the win.

Accepting his trophy, Kaimana stood tall on the stage at Huntington Beach (famous for its pier). It was his first time competing at Huntington.

The NSSA has long been dominated by Hawaii surfers, but this is the first time in two years a Hawaii athlete won.

And it carries on a proud family tradition.

Back in the day, Kaipo won this title.

Besides being a lifeguard on the Garden Isle’s South Shore, Kaipo is helping to craft a pro surfer in his son, who’s affectionately known as “Mana Boy.” That includes home-schooling.

With sponsors such as Billabong, Kustom and Rockstar energy drink, Kaimana is well on his way to achieving the success his father enjoyed during the 1990s.

A down-to-earth young man, he’s keeping his priorities in order. Asked about his biggest heroes, he replies, “My dad, the

Irons brothers, Dustin Barca and all the rest of the Hawaiians who made a name for themselves.”

He also says the day “when my baby sister started to surf” is the best day of his life.

While some might have reserved “best day of my life” for getting a car or going on a big trip, Kaimana thinks family-first – a quality for which he can thank his dad.

Although Mana Boy did make one car-related mistake he regrets.

“I let my permit expire, then had to wait another six months to get my license,” he says.

But there are times when even Kaipo can’t help, as strange as that may sound.

Kaimana is not a very superstitious young man by his own estimation, but he does have one superstition just before he heads out to compete in a heat.

“Can’t talk to dad; stress out way to much,” he says.

Who wouldn’t?

Especially since your father was once in your shoes and took those shoes to new heights, making a name for himself.

I can definitely relate to that notion. My father also pushed me to do my best, even if it wasn’t to follow in his footsteps.

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