In seeking to bring every aspect of view in Bodyboarding, we have an interview from one of the legends of the sport and all-round waterman in every sense of the word. If you are a young grom and perhaps for some reason have not heard of Kainoa, I would suggest you research your BB history and realise the depth of history behind this man.
Kainoa has used reference to certain riding efforts as 'gay' - this is used in its generic sense is no dis against those of varied personal preferences.
Personally I would like to express massive appreciation for the great amount of time Kainoa has spent on the phone to bring this impactful, and what will be controversial, interview together. Read it a couple of times, there has been massive effort in the wording by Kainoa to encompass the massive passion he has and lives and communicate that to us.
It is time for BB to become stronger in every sense and it is in the spirit of this sense that the following interview is presented (all emphases and capitals are by Kainoa).
Presenting Hawaiian waterman Kainoa McGee:
Doc: Hey Kainoa, You're known around the world as an all-round Waterman - Booger, Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP), Bodysurfing and now some pretty solid stick riding. What attracts you to the ocean so strongly? KM: The ocean is my refuge from the world it is the one place that I feel the most comfortable. Regardless of what kind of day I have prior to getting in the ocean it all gets washed away when I get in the ocean and gets re-energized. The one thing that I realized this year more than any other is that PIPELINE is good for my soul. Doc: You're a legend in DK, one of our declared "Statesmen"... Tell us as much as you can about your years on the knee - the initial transition, the rides, the comps, your individual art and style.KM: I've been drop kneeing, or what we called it when I was kid was jack stance, for as long as I can remember. I never separated it from prone riding it's all just bodyboarding. The fact that throughout these past decades or so it's been separated so much is gay to me. I like the fact that there is a DK division because it will push the competitors to DK waves that they would probably prone and helps to push the envelope on the knee. The fact that most drop knee guys or girls enter the quote "prone" contest which is actually an open contest, you can dk, stand up bodyboard or prone in these events if you want to, but they choose to prone so that they can advance that is totally the GAYEST thing that I can think of. I DK as many waves as I can in the open events and still give it everything that I have. DK is a part of what I do but it doesn't define what kind of bodyboarder that I am. I try to be as well rounded as possible but I'm not going to change the way I surf to please the judges or just to advance. Don't get me wrong if the wave that I'm catching determines that I should prone it then I will prone it. But I am definitely not going to prone every wave because it's an open event.Doc: You've gunned up a killer website and now are looking to start your own range of boards - what can you tell us about these rides?KM: First of all I need to give all the props in the world to my boy Robbie Crawford for that sick ass website. Without him there would be no website much less a sick ass one like he's made for me. [b]MUCH MAHALO'S BRUDDAH ROBBIE!!!!!!!!
Ok now back to the boards. It's going to start off small and will continue to grow as the demand and support form the worldwide bodyboarding community grows. I've been very fortunate and blessed to partner up with the blokes from Turbo to manufacture my product and to also be my business partners in this venture. All of the products from "The Kainoa McGee Bodyboard Company" will be featured on my website:http://www.kainoamcgee.com
as well as the "The Kainoa McGee Surfboard Company" which will feature custom and stock SUP boards and paddles, high performance shortboards, fun fishy shaped boards and longboards. These boards will all be hand crafted and made with a sandwich type epoxy construction for durability and performance.
I've been around for a long time and this time I want to do it right so that I can be around for along time and help undue the gayness that has plagued this sport and has us on the brink of extinction. As bodyboarders you have to stand up for what is right. All that spin to win crap, quantity over quality, flopos, maneuvers in the white water is F##KEN GAY
. Do you guys understand that?????????? Stop doing that shit you guys look like idiots and are an embarrassment to the true nature of this sport, yourselves, and other bodyboarders. I've been around for a longtime and I hear people say that the sport is going backwards. Backwards my ass!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was never as lame as it is now. It was never meant for the judging criteria to be made by surfing judges. That's right you heard me, surfing judges. Back in the day we never competed to see who could do the most spins to the beach or who did the most maneuvers to win a heat. It was all about quality. Back in the day when guys like Kavan Okamura would do big ass power cutbacks and rollos that were actually done with the lip and punt big ass airs and actually knew how to ride a barrel with out blowing a perfect wave to do some dumbass maneuver. Take your sport back and hold the judges accountable for bad calls, bad scores and lack of proper interference calls. There needs to be a total restructuring of this sport so that it can kick ass and get the respect that it so deserves.[/b] Doc: You've explained a little about the upside down star symbol you use as being representative of letting people know that your people are your "TRUE strength and our REAL stars" ... How important to you is the sense of community with those you ride with, work with and love? KM: It is the most important thing. There is a lot that we can accomplish as individuals but as a worldwide ohana with immeasurable numbers the possibilities are truly endless. A good idea is only as good as you can make it if you do it on your own but if others believe in you and the things that you believe in WE will truly be unstoppable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Doc: What boards are you running in your current quiver and what are your current faves? KM: I will be running a McGee 48", 50" and 52" boards in my personal quiver as soon as Glenn can find the material big enough to do such an outlandish order. I definitely do not envy his job of hunting down the materials much less building these damn beasts. I am very demanding of my equipment and have the highest expectations because I've gotten to work with the best people in the industry like X-man, so I expect nothing but the best from Glenn. Doc: What dimensions and core compositions are you firing on at the moment? KM: I'm leaving that up to Glenn. I've been out of the loop for a bit so I will trust his recommendations. What I used to run when we owned Industry b-boards was a beaded or extruded (I can't remember which one. I know that it was the one that was stiffest and the lightest) polypro core 48" length 12" nose x 22 1/2" width, 18 1/2" tail with triple stringers, one on each rail parallel to the rail and one down the center. The channels are 4" wide, 15" to 17" long and 3/4" of an inch deep. Doc: What are your favourite breaks locally and overseas? KM: With out a doubt, numero uno on the list is "PIPELINE". The south shore of Oahu is Ala Moana "Bowls". Overseas is "Teahupoo" and there are a bunch of waves in Oz, Bali, Fiji and many other places that I love as well. But the above listed would undoubtedly be my ultimate top three. Doc: What would be the biggest wave you’ve taken on? KM: About 20-25 foot Hawaiian size at Himalayas on the North Shore (which is approximately 40-50 foot faces. Basically a four to five story building.) That was paddling in on my own power not being towed. Although, I definitely want to do some tow-ins for sure. Stay tuned.
Doc: And what’s the toughest wave to ride you’ve hit up? KM: Teahupoo is pretty gnarly when there is a lot of west in the swell. You get stuck in the barrel and can't get out of it. You usually end up on the reef if you don't some how sneak out of it. And if you've ever surfed Teahupoo and seen the reef there then you know that that is something that you don't want to happen. I've seen some crazy footage of other waves that I haven't surfed yet like Shark Island, that mental wave in Tasmania and a few other places that I'm sure would be very challenging. Doc: Biggest wipeout ever? KM: As far as nasty wipeouts go I've been in a few. The ones that stick out the most are the ones where I almost drowned. Twice on my first trip to Tahiti at Teahupoo and once at Pipe during my first surfing event in the semi-final.Doc: Where do you reckon you’ve had your longest hold-down (held underwater longest)? KM: That definitely would be the hold down at Pipe. There actually came a point where I stopped fighting and actually gave up under the water. It was a brief pause and thank God that I got my head out of my ass and started fighting again and the fact that I'm doing this interview means that I was blessed enough to have survived it.Doc: Who are your crew in the water? KM: It varies. I usually go and surf by myself and I just chill with all the boys in the water. If I'm out in the country I just hang out at the Volcom house and all of the boys. Doc: On land you have a gorgeous family, would you care to tell us a little about this special crew? KM: My beautiful wife's name is Joy and we've been married for 16 years. We have two daughters named Kailiponi who is 16 years old and her sister's name is Kekaikuihala who is 14. They are both new to Water Polo and are totally addicted to it, and so am I. Cheehoooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Doc: What trip brings back the best memories for you? KM: My first trip to Tahiti. It was the first trip in which the waves for the most part were not good, actually outside of 2 or 3 days of surf we got straight up skunked, and I still loved and enjoyed myself more than ever. The people there reminded me of home and were absolutely so inviting and comfortable to be around. I want to say a big mahalo to Raimana Van Bastolaer for all of the love and hospitality. He's the man in Tahiti but don't tell him that I said so because it will go straight to his head. Doc: Best boat trip ever? KM: I've only been one boat trip and it was as near a catastrophe. We were basically on a floating death trap that was made out of bamboo. Yeah exactly, bamboo. So you can only imagine how bad that is now imagine it's motor dying in the middle of the ocean with a big ass storm looming with lightning, thunder, crazy dark ass scary looking storm clouds. Did I mention that we were in the middle of the ocean? Not fun, but eventually we ended up at Cloud Nine and got a couple of days of sick surf which you can see in the video Welfare. Doc: Who are some of your fave photographers? KM: Joey Libby, Jamie Ballenger, Brian Beilmann, Bernie Baker, Pete"Flipper" Hodgson, Van Lennup, Tom Boyle, Alan Mozo, Aaron Chang, Zak Noyle, Scott Aichner, Vince Cavataio just to name a few.Doc: Board history – any chance you can run us by a few of the boards you’ve had over your very long time of riding? And the big question is: Fave ride ever of all of them?KM: I've been blessed to work with a lot of shapers throughout all of my years on a bodyboard. I got some sick boards from Greg Szabad and only worked with him briefly but I do believe that he is one of the best all time shapers that this sport has ever seen. I seen a lot of the boards that he did for Ben Severson and Danny Kim and believe you me he did some special things. But my obvious favorite is Mike "X-man" Fleming. I truly believe that he is by far the best that I've had the pleasure to work with and he made me so many magic boards that if it wasn't magic I'd be over it (what a spoiled brat I was and now I have nothing but we're about to change that situation). So next up to bat is Glenn from Turbo bodyboards/The Kainoa McGee Bodyboard Company and I have nothing but the highest expectations for him but I'm quite sure that his expectations are much higher than mine and I wouldn't have it any other way. Doc: Scariest moment on the knee? KM: Any of the numerous times that I took off late at Pipe or Teahupoo and didn't make it is obviously a bad situation. There are so many times that it happened and never was it a good thing. And it never gets better. Not making those waves in those situations is always a bad thing. Doc: What do you love most about the BB culture? KM: The fact that most of the people in the sport are non-dramatic is what I love the most. You see it on TV here all the time of how these big sports stars are such divas. What a bunch of pussies. They need to grow some balls, man up and do their jobs. It would be one thing if they did their job and weren't happy or comfortable with losing, who would be? But the fact is that most of the guys bitching about something or another are not doing their job and want to blame everybody else for it and not be accountable for their actions themselves. Doc: What do you reckon DK needs most at the moment? KM: It needs the proper recognition that it deserves from the sport and industry itself. It gets more love from outside of the sport than it does within the sport. I think too many people within the industry and the sport are threatened by it because they can't do it and because of that they put it down or just write it off. We all need to realize that we are one sport and need to stick together and grow our sport as a whole not separated by riding styles or whatever stupid little insecurities that you have as individuals. MAN UP BITCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Doc: Which sponsors are looking after you currently? KM: At this point my sponsorship is pretty much non-existent. I have a few companies like Soul Surfing Crew who are a smaller company and Bruddah Johnnie Pervis does his best to help with entry fees or cover the glassing for my surfboards or anything that he can possibly do to help me pursue my dreams. Much Mahalo's Johnnie.
I also get product from QuickBlade paddles who make my SUP paddles. Also I have an SUP shop sponsor, Wet Feet who helps me with all of the intangibles associated with that sport. I'd personally like to thank my friend Clark at Wet Feet who takes care of all of my custom requests for paddles, deck pads and whatever else I need done he gets it done. You Da Man Clark, once again, mahalo's. And as always Fred and Ann Simpson from Viper Fins always take care of me as best as they can with product as well as taking my family and I to Duke's everytime they come to town, Good times baby, always!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't have any exclusivity contracts with anyone and I am totally available at this time for any kind of sponsorship if anyone is interested. But isn't it sad that outside of Viper there are no bodyboard industry sponsors listed here. I've been riding a bodyboard since I was five years old, which is now a total of 32 years (and I'm only 37 years old) and I have nothing to show for it and receive more love and support from the surfing industry. They laugh at the fact that this industry doesn't know how to take care of it's own and they do a better job taking care of me and I've only been doing it for 6-8 years now. That's pretty damn sad!!!!! Don't you think?????? Just more to think about that should and needs to be change. Doc: Thanks so much for your time Kainoa, is there anything you’d like to say in closing to the Oz riders, especially those looking to get more into DK?KM: Just do what makes you happy. Keep your mind open to all things and think outside of the box. Never be pigeon holed or narrow sighted. Explore all things and reach for the stars, and if you only reach the moon what the hell it's a lot further ahead than where you started and that's always a better thing. Progress and move forward always, always, always, always move forward and progress continuously pushing the boundaries of whatever it is that you're doing. And last but not least, as long as it's legal, don't let people discourage you from doing what you believe in and what you love.
I would personally like to thank you for considering me for this interview and I hope that it opens some eyes as to what needs to be done. It's a lot of work but together I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that we can make it happen. Keep your head up and stand up for what you believe in and we can make this an honorable institution once again. We are not that far away, I promise.
Once again much love and aloha and thank you for your time,