Melvin Palmiano

Ambassador: Melvin Palmiano

Tell us about the evolution of you relationship with KIALOA?

The first time I saw Kialoa paddles was back in the late 90s. Then around 2007, I saw a video podcast of Mel Pu'u SUP surfing in Makaha. I wanted to get his signature paddle because he was a Hawaiian Waterman, and we share the same name.  I eventually ended up buying a Methane paddle from Ross Creasley, a Kialoa Dealer in Vancouver and asked him about how I could be a Kialoa dealer in South Korea.  He told me to send an email to Meg.  I did and the rest is history. Now I'm a Kialoa dealer as well as a Kialoa `Elele.

What does being a steward of the KIALOA brand mean to you?

MÂLAMA.  It's means everything to me. Caring for the people l love and doing what I can to protect the environment and the planet.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in the Philippines but grew up in Vancouver, Canada.  I grew up having an affinity for the beach lifestyle, the outdoors, sports, and just having fun.  I've always had a love for waterman lifestyle. I've been living in South Korea since 2001. Due to the difficulties of bringing in outrigger canoes and the lack of interest in them here in Korea, I decided to focus on stand-up paddling (SUP). So in 2007, I pioneered SUP in Korea. I got my first Kialoa SUP (the Methane) paddle in 2008 and started Korea's first SUP specific company, Pine Ocean, in 2010. Currently, I am a Starboard Team Rider and Kialoa `Elele.  I was also fortunate to represent Team Canada at the 2014 ISA SUP and Paddleboard Championship in Nicaragua.


What community events, charity participation or other organizations are you a part of?

I have helped organize numerous beach clean-ups and have helped with local volunteer organizations in Gangneung.  I am also a 5 Gyres Ambassador.  As a 5 Gyres Ambassador, my role is to assist and inform my community about solutions against single-use plastic pollution.

What are some of your favorite things to do?

I love spending time with my family. My wife, kids and I love going to the beach, riding our bikes, skateboarding, stand-up paddling and surfing together.  We also love taking surf trips during our winter vacations. I love SUP surfing, surfing, and just paddling.  Not so much to race but just for the enjoyment and serenity it brings. 

What's your favorite food? 

This is definitely one of the most difficult questions to answer, so I'll just give a list of ethnic foods that I love: I love Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indian, Italian, and Filipino food.

What type of music do you like to listen to?

I don't listen to much of the new stuff being played these days.  So I generally stick to stuff I grew up listening to as a kid: 80's and 90's; Reggae (Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals); Classic Rock (AC/DC, etc.); Old Hip-Hop and Rap (ATCQ, etc.); Hawaiian/Jawaiian. 

My playlist includes: Prince, Jack Johnson, A Tribe Called Quest, and Mono to name some stuff.

Favorite place to visit? 

I love going back "home" to Vancouver to visit my parents, to meet up with high school friends, to hang out with the Vancouver paddling community and see my sister and her family.  It's just nice to be in a familiar place and chill.

How did you get started in paddle sports? 

I remember as a kid getting in an OC and just sitting in seat 1.  I later was invited to join a dragon boat team and loved it. So my involvement in paddle sports was mostly due to the fun and camaraderie that comes with a team. 

What is your pre-race meal?

Usually I've have a peanut butter and blueberry jam sandwich and a banana.

What do you like to eat/drink after paddling?

After races, I'll have some fruit.  A couple bananas or some oranges and water. Always water. 

Proudest paddling moment?

Participating in the 2010 Battle of the Paddle.  It was my first ever SUP race. Representing Canada at the 2014 ISA SUP and Paddleboard World Championship. My son coming in 2nd place in South Korea's very first SUP surfing contest.  He was the only kid in the line-up amongst grown men.  And hearing these words from my daughter, "Daddy, I want to paddle by myself." 

What was your scariest paddling experience?

I was paddling at Gyeongpo Beach in Gangneung back in 2008 with a friend. There are a number of boats that zip around taking tourist on boat rides.  Within a few minutes a thick fog engulfed us.  You couldn't even see what was in front of you.  I was freaking out about getting hit by boat. 

Where is your favorite place to paddle?

My favourite place to paddle is in Deep Cove over in North America.  It's just so beautiful and amazing there.  

Any paddlers you look up to?

Mel Pu'u, Danny Ching, the Tahitians. 

Where did you grow up and what was it like?

I grew up in Vancouver, Canada. It was a fun childhood!  My parents did their best to provide for me and my sister.  They encouraged us to play sports. They encouraged us to travel and experience new cultures.  I also spent a lot of time riding my bike with friends and playing sports like baseball, softball, basketball and football.

As a child did you have pets?

We had a family dog named Beau.  He was Chocolate Lab.  

What are some qualities that you value in a person? 

Honest. Loyalty. Respect. Empathy.

What inspires you to do ‘good’ in the world? 

My keiki. I want them to be able to enjoy the opportunities and experience the things that I did and the things I couldn't do but want to do. But for that, we need a healthy environment and a healthy planet.  So I try make sure that I am good teacher and example of both "aloha aina and malama aina." Need to love, respect, care and nurture the planet.

Proudest accomplishment?

Being the first person to introduce SUP surfing and SUP racing to South Korea. 

What is something you're really proud of and why?

I was really proud to have been a Hinano Tahiti Ambassador for two years.  It was the first time I have ever been sponsored. 

What are some goals your still trying to accomplish? 

My dream is to participate in the M2O.  I'd love to be on a 2 or 3 person team just to experience the lead up to the race, the pule, the finish and to share the mana with all the participants and pay respect to all those who made the crossing.

Who are your heroes? 

All the people who raised me. My grandmothers, grandfather, parents, sister, aunts and uncles.  These days it's my kids.  They inspire me to be a better person and a better dad.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Loyal. Trust-worthy. Stubborn.

What time of day do you like best and why?

I'm a morning person.  I love to wake up early when most people are still a sleep.  I love dawn patrol sessions and seeing the sunrise. 

If you were an animal, what would you be?

A dolphin or a dog.  Dolphins love to surf and have fun.  Dogs are loyal and protective.

Would you rather be able to fly or to breathe under water?

I would rather have the ability to breathe under water.  Over 70% of the Earth is ocean and 97% of the Earth's water from the ocean, most of which has not been explored. 

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