How did you come to know of KIALOA?
I first met Dave Chun through Kialoa sales rep and good friend, Leighton Miyachi. At the time, Jessie Eames-Kaawa and I were in the middle of starting a grassroots non-profit organization called Race to Heal. Since Kialoa shares a similar heart for the people and giving back to the community, Leighton assumed it would be a perfect match. Turns out, he was right.
Since then, Kialoa has not only supported my paddling endeavors, but also my work within the community. A relationship that started from outrigger canoe paddling has blossomed into so much more – Dave and Meg are family, friend, mentor, counsel, role model and my biggest supporters in life, both on and off the water.
What does being a steward of the KIALOA brand mean to you?
“Together on the Water”
I truly believe that no one goes at it alone in sport, career or life. If it weren’t for the many people who have coached, mentored, supported and believed in me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. To me, there is no such thing as a self-made (wo)man – life is a team effort.
Being a steward of Kialoa means exemplifying and living out the concept of togetherness. We rise, TOGETHER. If I can encourage, inspire and lift others up through my words and actions, I consider myself a successful steward of the Kialoa ‘ohana and brand.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Hilo, Hawai’i, spent most of my time growing up in Redondo Beach, CA and returned home to Honolulu after graduating from UC San Diego. In 2009, I followed in my uncle and great uncle’s footsteps by joining the Honolulu Fire Department. When I am not working, I enjoy paddling canoe, swimming, diving, hiking, backpacking, doing crazy workouts, traveling and EATING. My love of food is bar none.
Another passion of mine is giving back to the community in just about any capacity big or small. Whether it is checking in on a friend, helping a co-worker with an ill child or volunteering my time with a non-profit organization, I believe giving back to something bigger than yourself is important and makes this world a better place.
2017 /2018 Events
Na Wahine O Ke Kai Moloka’i to O’ahu Race
International Dragon Boat World Championships in Kunming, China
What community events, charity participation or other organizations are you a part of?
Make-A-Wish, Special Olympics, Kapi’olani Children’s Cancer Center
What's are some of your favorite things to do?
The ocean and mountains are my happy place. If I am in either, I am a happy camper. Put some food in my hand and I am in heaven!
Favorite place to visit? Japan
Proudest paddling moment?
My most recent proud paddling moment was getting the opportunity to race with the Hui Nalu Canoe Club junior girls team from Kailua to Magic Island. It was a chance to teach and mentor young girls in open ocean paddling and spend the day getting to know the next generation of up and comers. I can’t wait to do it again next year.
Where is your favorite place to paddle?
The Ka’iwi coastline is my favorite place to paddle. It is undeveloped and raw, and offers a wide variety of water conditions to keep you on your toes.
Something you want out of life?
I would like to leave the world and our community a better place than when I got here.
What are some qualities that you value in a person?
In an increasingly selfish, dark and egocentric world, I really appreciate altruism, humility, kindness and authenticity. I care far less about what a person has accomplished and far more about how that person treats others, especially those who are downtrodden and have nothing to offer in return.Any nicknames you go by? Kinardo, JK, Jaimers, James