His grandfather brought outrigger canoe paddling to the mainland. His father, Ilima, was a world-champion surfer. In the legacy of these great Hawaiian men, Dave Kalama, 46, has taken big wave surfing to unprecedented heights. A celebrity water sports enthusiast, he is proud to live on and contribute to Maui.
Credited with the co-development of tow-in surfing, a fierce advocate for the ancient Hawaiian art of stand-up paddling, and a great influence in reviving the Hawai‘i surf-film genre, Kalama has survived near-death experiences in major wipe-outs and crashing walls of water, but the raw power and energy of the ocean is life itself for him, and that’s what always calls him back. When Kalama isn’t riding untamable waves, he might be in the gentleness of his garden in Kula harvesting the avocados, bananas and limes that he grows. Maui is proud to have you, Dave!
What’s the first food you remember?
Cocoa and toast.
Today, what’s your favorite food?
After a big day on the water, that would have to be Teriyaki Chicken.
Your favorite vegetable or fruit?
Broccoli with dinner, chilled chunks of watermelon pau hana.
What’s in your refrigerator at all times?
Milk, orange juice, and eggs.
What do you like to cook for friends?
Simple and always right, Yoshida’s Chicken.
What’s your favorite escape?
Polipoli in the Kula Forest Reserve. Its remoteness and seclusion, the sweeping views and mists, that’s powerful.
When you eat out, what do you like to eat?
I like everything, and Mama’s Fish House especially.
Whatʻs your favorite book?
Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. It’s been around for 30 years, but it’s an ongoing reminder, a classic saga that touches upon truths like meaning and purpose and direction. It’s accessible, and beautiful.
Who do you greatly admire?
The Duke, great ambassador for Hawai‘i and shared aloha and surfing.
Who is the most interesting person you met?
Joseph Madre, a local Panamanian surfer I met while on a trip in Central America. He made his own surfboard out of coconut wood.
What are qualities you like in yourself?
Honesty and friendliness.
What are the qualities you like in others?
Honesty and humbleness.
Name three things you know now that you wish you knew when you were 15?
How important English 101 is.
How important your parents are.
How fast time goes by.