Did you know that the 2011 movie Soul Surfer was filmed in Kauai? With its perfect beaches and overwhelming waves, Kauai is the it-destination for surfers from all around the globe. So it’s no surprise that a lot of the surfing-themed movies take place on the island.
But thanks to the round-year perfect conditions, a lot of locals are also surfing throughout their lives — and you can see why Kauai produced quite a few surfing legends.
15 + Famous Surfers from Kauai You’ve Probably Heard Of
1. Titus Kinimaka
Born back in 1955, Titus Kinimaka is an absolute surfing legend. Born and raised in Kauai, he is known as the top big-wave surfer of all time. A lot of today’s surfers name Tutis as their great master and inspiration.
On top of a mind-blowing and long-lasting surfing career, he also starred in a few Hollywood movies. You might have seen him in Soul Surfer (2011), The Pirates of the Caribbean (2011), and Hanalei Bay (2018).
2. Andy Irons
Also a Kauai native, Andy is probably the most famous local surfer who made a lot of global headlines. Throughout his impressive and roller-coaster of a surfing career, he took three world titles and achieved 20+ international victories.
Sadly, he passed away back in 2010, which came as a shock to the surfing community. Yet his legacy stays strong — you can learn about his mind-blowing life story in a dedicated biopic Andy Irons: Kissed by God.
3. Bethany Hamilton
Bethany Hamilton, born back in 1990, is one of the newest stars of the surfing scene. Having survived a shark attack at the age of 13, she is known as a tough fighter and a strong competitor within the surf community.
In 2014, she won at Pipeline Women’s Pro — the best-in-class competition for female surfers.
4. Gabriela Bryan
Gabriela Bryan was born in the town of Kilauea on the island of Kaua’i on April 8, 2002. She grew up surfing the perfect rights of Nias, Indonesia, and the powerful and pure waves of Kaua’i’s north shore.
Gabriela can be found charging Hanalei Bay with force and confidence far beyond her 12 years of age on any given day at home. This wahine is proving that she’s more than just your average grom with her quick wit and spitfire attitude, which has always set her apart from her colleagues.
5. Leila Hurst
Leila Hurst was born on August 17, 1993 in Kailua, Hawaii. Leila is one of the famous and trending celebs who is popular for being a Surfer. A World Surf League professional would be signed by companies such as Vans, Skullcandy, Zeal Optics, Waikoko, and HIC Surfboards.
6. Sebastian Zietz
Another youngster born in 1988, Sebastian is actually not a Kauai native — he was born in Florida but moved to Kauai shortly after his birth. Like any local kid, he started surfing at the age of 4. In a short span of time, by 2013 he joined the World Championship Tour. In three years, he already won his very first World Surf League.
Sebastian is now one of the most promising names in the surfing world.
7. Danny Fuller
Danny’s surfing days started early — at the age of 39, he already has a 26-year surfing career with 13 years spent as a big-wave surfer. In fact, seeing the biggest wave ever has always been the target for his work both as a surfer and as an artist.
Yes, Danny is actually also a renowned Hawaiian artist who keeps depicting abstract seascapes.
8. Alana Blanchard
Born on March 5, 1990 in Kauai, Hawaii, United States, she was first taught how to surf when she was just four years old by her father. She became one of the most famous surfers in Hawaii, landing her a movie entitled Soul Surfer. She is also a model and surfer who has competed on the ASP World Tour and hosted her own Network A show, Surfer Girl.
9. Margo Godfrey
Margo Godfrey was born in Pennsylvania on September 8, 1953, and relocated to La Jolla, California, with her family when she was five years old. She was the top-seeded female surfer in California at 15 years old. She took a sabbatical from surfing in 1972 and returned in 1974, winning an event in Malibu and continuing to compete after that. In 1991, she was named Woman of the Year and inducted into the International Surfing Hall of Fame and the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach, California.
10. Malia Manuel
Malia Manuel is an American surfer born on August 9, 1993. He was named Rookie of the Year in 2012 and finished fifth on the ASP World Tour in 2014. She became the youngest surfer to win the US Open at the age of 14 in 2008. Manuel has been sponsored by a number of companies and has been in advertising and picture sessions. In 2020, she made her bikini debut in Sports Illustrated.
11. Keala Kennelly
Keala Kennelly, a competitive surfer, DJ, and actress from Kauai, Hawaii, was born on August 13, 1978. Kennelly took a hiatus from the ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) in 2007 to pursue her passions for acting and music, including a recurring part as a surfer in the 2007 series John from Cincinnati. She still DJs and competes in big wave surfing.
12. Brianna Cope
Brianna Cope is a professional surfer born on October 8, 1994, on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Cope started surfing at the age of four with her dad and sister and fell in love with the ocean at a young age. She started competing in the local surf competitions at the age of 10 and won her first surf competition shortly after.
13. Chrislyn Simpson-Kane
Chrislyn Simpson-Kane, who was born in 2008, is the youngest woman to tow surf Peahi in Hawaii and is now known as the Teenage surfing prodigy. After being called up to surf alongside Jaws veteran Andrea Moller, she became the youngest female to tow surf Peahi.
14. Keala Tomoda-Bannert
Keala Tomoda-Bannert was born and raised in Princeville. Enjoying life in paradise, she loves surfing, hiking, and being outside. She is inspired by living a healthy lifestyle. Since the age of ten she’s been a competitive surfer, and there is no sign of her stopping anytime soon.
15. Maluhia Kinimaka
Maluhia Kinimaka, born and raised in Kauai, will be the only student in her class from the small Hawaiian island. Maluhia comes from one of surfing’s royal families as the daughter of big wave Hawaiian icon Titus Kinimaka.
16. Tatiana Guimaraes Weston-Webb
Tatiana Guimaraes Weston-Webb is a Brazilian–American surfer located in Kauai, Hawaii. In 2015, she was the lone rookie on the WCT (World Championship Tour) (professional surfing). Weston-jersey Webb’s number is 9, and her 2016 ‘CT ranking is 4. She will compete for Brazil in the 2020 Summer Olympics.
17. Kala and Kamalei Alexander
Kala and Kamalei Alexander are probably the next most known surfing brothers after Andy and Bruce Irons — all Kauai natives.
Their tandem isn’t simply adored within the surfing community for all the accomplishments, they are what you’d call surfing activists. Kala co-founded the Wolfpak surf gang — a collective of Kauai surfers who enforce a new wave of respect to experienced surfers, and protect surfers that practice in the Kauai area.
And their Wolfpak takes various surfing tournaments by storm. In fact, a Kauai surfing god Andy Irons was also a part of the collective.
Get Your Feet On a Surfboard
When planning a trip to Kauai, surfing is a must-try, especially if you’re going to the North Shore. Of course, you can’t expect to get as good as the surfers we’ve mentioned here, but they also started somewhere. So pick your top surfing spot and get yourself in good shape to take on surfing in Kauai.