Ambassador: Zane Saenz - KIALOA

Zane Saenz

KIALOA 'Elele in North Shore Oahu, HI

Ambassador: Zane Saenz

How did you come to know of KIALOA and how did you team up – what was the evolution of this relationship?:

I recently started participating on races that are mostly for outrigger canoes, racing on a SUP and that’s when I started to notice that a lot of the competitors were using Kialoa paddles. I thought they looked like really nice paddles. I eventually started doing outrigger paddling and fell in love with the sport, so I looked up Kialoa online. I saw all the things Kialoa represented as a brand, I saw they also made SUP paddles, and I saw they had an ambassador program. I really wanted to join Kialoa’s team so I sent my application and got accepted. I am so excited to see what the future holds and to represent Kialoa.

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

I’m very honored to represent a brand that supports paddling and the Hawaiian culture. Representing KIALOA means having fun on the water and bringing people “Together on the Water” as we honor Hawaiian culture.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m 14 years old and I live near the North Shore of Oahu. I am mainly a SUP racer and SUP surfer. I also paddle outrigger. I love to do anything in the ocean, like surfing, body boarding shore break, skim boarding and body surfing.

2017/2018 Events you participated/will participate in?

2017 Races: Dahui Independence race, Kanakaikaika series, PAA series, WPA Wet Feet/Blue Planet

2018 Olukai Ho’olaule’a, Kanakaikaika series, PAA series, WPA Wet Feet/Blue Planet, Na Opio season.

What's are some of your favorite things to do?

I love to do anything in the ocean or with a board, whether it is SUP, surf, OC1, OC6, body boarding, skim boarding, or skating. The ocean is just so fun and relaxing, it’s the best way to unplug and to connect with Hawaiian culture. I even do surf /water photography in the shore break and it is really fun. I also like to play soccer and tennis when I’m not in the water.

What's your favorite food?

Classic Brazilian barbeque! Rice, beans, and steak.

What is your favorite restaurant in Hawaii?

Got to get that local Hawaiian food from Hau’ula’s own Papa Ole’s!

What music are you listening to these days – what is on your favorite playlist?

I really like to listen to Landon McNamara and reggae genre. I listen to hip hop sometimes too.

Favorite places to visit?

I’ve been to a lot of awesome places I don’t really have only one favorite. My top have to be Bali, Maldives, Morocco, Molokai, and of course my home island Oahu!

How did you get started in Paddle sports?

I got started in SUP surf and racing when I was 8 years old in 2008 at the Battle of the Paddle. A big-wave mural artist and paddler/waterman Hilton Alves introduced me to SUP. He also trained me to do my first long distance race, the Dahui Independence race on a longboard. He found a thick 6’0” short board for me to learn how to SUP surf on and that was it, I learned to love it even more than regular surfing. I loved paddling and have never stopped doing it. I eventually started doing outrigger paddling with my local canoe club Lāhui O Ko'olauloa, and I will be racing OC6 and OC1 for the club this 2018 Na Opio season.

What is your pre-race meal?

I usually just eat whatever is in the fridge! But usually I’d like to have a lot of water, a lot of fruits, some nuts, and a granola bar.

What do you like to eat/drink after paddling?

Usually after I race I am starving and eat as much as possible in like 5 minutes! I usually just eat a lot of fruits, and I love some meat and rice.

Proudest paddling moment?

I was so stoked when I was 10 and I did the WPA Blue Planet race, it was 7 miles from Sunset to Haleiwa, and I finished it! The finish was so far I could see it and I was so scared I wouldn’t make it but when I finished I was so happy I was able to complete it.

What was your scariest paddling experience?

There is this secret surf spot that is about 200 yards from the shore, and I went SUP surfing there with my friend when I was 11. It was like 6-7 feet and I was having so much fun on my 6’0” SUP and all of a sudden it went flat for about 20 minutes. My friend thought this was weird so we started paddling out and to the channel. All of a sudden a huge wall of water appears on the horizon and we just start paddling for the horizon as hard as possible! Then this mutant mega set that was a solid 10-11 feet, much bigger than any other sets, just came barreling towards us with so much power and I barely went over it. That was the biggest wave I have ever seen up close at the time and I never forgot that session.

Tell us a little about how you train for paddling races?

I go out with my SUP race board at the beach near my house and just do laps for an hour or two, and I usually paddle over to a little surf spot and surf there with my race board. I do this every Saturday during sunrise and a couple times during the week.

Where is your favorite place to paddle?

I love to do a down winder on the North Shore in the summer, it is really fun and it’s crazy to see how the best waves in the world become a swimming pool in the summer.

Any paddlers you look up to?

Zane Schweitzer is definitely one of the best SUP surfers and I met him a couple of times he is a really nice, and a really cool guy. Kai Lenny is a crazy waterman too, and Connor Baxter and Travis Grant are the best and the fastest racers.

Where did you grow up and what was it like?

I guess I’m still not quite done with my childhood, haha. I live in Hau’ula, about 30 minutes from Oahu’s North Shore, and it is a cool small town where there is the mountain, and 200-300 yards from the mountain there is the ocean. It is awesome to see the mountains while paddling and training.

What are some of the crazy fads you and your friends went through?

In elementary there were some fads like these silly band things, POG flipping, and playing with kendamas.

What did you get in trouble for most when you were young?

I still get in trouble for going downhill skating by myself or with my friends without telling my parents, especially when I fall and get scrapes.

Something you want out of life?

When I grow up I want to keep living in Hawaii and be a professional stand up paddleboarder, or just have a job that I like and be able to surf, travel and paddle every day.

What are some qualities that you value in a person?

Fun, kindness, perseverance, honesty.

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

Other people with awesome attitudes, people who clean the beach, who help others and people in history that came before us that sacrificed so much to do good.

Proudest accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment is probably paddling 7 miles on a SUP when I was 11 years old.

If you could re-experience one thing in your life, what would it be?

Surfing a perfect sandbar, shorebreak, and reef break at the North Shore with nice swell for 8 hours on a beautiful day, those are the days I live for.

What are some goals your still trying to accomplish?

I want to do the Molokai to Oahu, probably 2019, get an air on a SUP, and I want to ride a hydrofoil.

Who are your heroes?

Zane Schweitzer, Kai Lenny, Derek Rabelo (blind surfer), Connor Baxter, John John, Kelly, and a lot more.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Dedicated, brave, fun loving.

What time of day do you like best and why?

Early morning because you can surf or train for a while, and you still have the whole day ahead of you to surf and paddle even more! It’s also the most beautiful time of the day with the sunrise.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

I’d be a dolphin because dolphins live in the water and they can go surfing!

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

I’d totally breath underwater! I’d be able to charge the biggest waves ever, wipeout, and come up just fine!

Any nicknames you go by?
Once at a SUP surf contest the announcer gave me a bunch of nicknames. I always went super deep so I got “Big Wave Zane”, “Zaniac”, and “Inzane”! hahaha.

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