Two-time longboard champ Kelia Moniz has been hitting the waves for almost as long as she's been able to walk. And with a humble confidence and cool playfulness, she's become a local icon off of the water, too.
As part of our Surfer in Residence series, we're highlighting some of our favorite Kelia moments (hint: all of them!).
All in the Family
Raised on the shores of Waikiki, Kelia and her four brothers (who she affectionately and protectively calls her "boys") were all in the ocean before they learned to walk. From homeschooling to nonstop surfing (and a brief stint as a cheerleader), Kelia loved every minute of growing up on Waikiki Beach.
"I'm so proud to be from Waikiki. I'm so proud to be a surfer, to be part of my family, and to be on my mom's talk show today (I'm calling it her talk show cuz I think it's funny)," Kelia says with a laugh in her latest Surfers in Residence interview.
"We'd get to the beach around 7 AM, set up our pop-up tent. My mom would teach us school under the tent on the beach in Waikiki. My dad would do surf lessons, and now we have a wonderful location at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach—and we're all professional surfers so it worked out really well," Kelia shared with her mom in their prior Surfers in Residence chat.
Known for her grace and agility on the longboard and some killer cross-stepping-to-the-nose moves, Kelia is renowned as much for her beauty and style off the board as she is on. She was first sponsored by Billabong and then later, by Roxy.
"[Becoming a Roxy Girl] was a dream of mine since I was a little girl," says Kelia. "I've gained my best friends from the brand. Literally traveled the world, and not only surfed—but gained a family."
"I'm just proud to be part of a brand the supports females—even before it was a trend," she shares.
Coconut Mojitos and Kalua Nachos
One of Kelia's favorite non-surf spots? Duke's at Outrigger Waikiki.
"I eat there probably four times a week," she says. "And I'm not a tourist, I'm obviously a local. I love the hospitality there ... you kind of have this feel of real authentic Hawaii there, and the employees make you feel at home. And we have staycations [at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort] all the time. We love it."
Her menu faves go beyond the iconic Hula Pie:
• Duke's Mai Tai: "Duke's are the best."
• Duke's Coconut Mojito: Blended "minty-coconutty milkshake" goodness.
• Duke's Salad Bar: "Hands-down best Salad Bar ever."
• Kalua Pork Nachos: "It's divine."
Surfing's Biggest Lesson
With the rising popularity of surf—and the exciting recent Olympics win—Hawaii is only growing as a hotspot surfing destination, especially for new surfers. And Kelia has some wave-inspired wisdom to share. "The most important thing is to be humble," Kelia shares. "And to talk to the locals."
When her mom asks her what is the most valuable thing she's learned from surfing, Kelia shows her love and honor for the sport that has become her life.
"One major thing I've learned, and I think this goes across the board for life generally, is having respect for people around you, but also having respect for people older than you ...," she says. "It goes really far when you have this posture of respect, not for something like for a wave or for money or for things—but having just a humble approach to anything, any room you enter in life. It is very beneficial, and I think that is something I've learned from the ocean that I've taken into my professional life."
Hang Ten in the Heart of Waikiki Yourself!
Follow in Kelia's in-the-know footsteps and come hang with us at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort to surf (and shop) like a local, enjoy authentic food, and check out new surf-art culture with the latest exhibits from award-winning artist Eduardo Bolioli and a new permanent art experience, ‘Love & Aloha: Surfing in Waikīkī.