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Outside Welcomes Archie Kalepa and Olukai April 16th

Archie Kalepa

Outside Hilton Head is proud to welcome Archie Kalepa to Hilton Head Island. The legendary surfer, lifeguard, canoeist, paddleboarder and advocate will host a Meet and Greet at the Outside Hilton Head Flagship Store in The Plaza at Shelter Cove. Archie is touring with OluKai and spreading the Aloha spirit with their #anywherealoha campaign.

More about Archie Kalepa:

Archie Kalepa inducted into Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame

September 6, 2012

LAHAINA – There is a new wave of Hawaiian patriots dedicating their lives to the cause of promoting their cherished culture in and beyond the 21st century.

They are language mentors, kumu hula, musicians and authors paying forward the spirit of the Polynesian generations that have set the precedent and formed the foundation of the breath of life of these islands. They are modern day peaceful warriors.

Among these soldiers of aloha are the renowned watermen and waterwomen that have carved unique and ongoing chapters into the history of Hawaii led by the greatest of all, Duke Kahanamoku.

Archie Kalepa

It is in the spirit of the Duke that the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation (ODKF) founded The Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame to create a lasting tribute to the islands’ water sports legacy and honor the achievements of the standout athletes.

It is in this spirit that fifth-generation Lahaina resident Archie Kalepa was recently honored with his induction into The Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame at a ceremony at the Outrigger Canoe Club.

Kalepa, the first and only person from Maui to be so honored, was inducted in this ceremony alongside Brian Keaulana, Ricky Grigg and Michael Tongg, joining such legendary figures as Duke Kahanamoku, Eddie Aikau, Buffalo Keaulana, Fred Hemmings, Wally Froiseth, Rell Sunn and Nainoa Thompson in the Hall of Fame.

Kalepa, now 49, gained fame as one of the first tow-in surfers to brave the 70-foot waves at “Jaws” at Peahi, the first to solo stand up paddle across the Molokai Channel and the first to paddle down the Colorado River.

But perhaps his most notable and important achievement has been the development, along with fellow inductee and renowned Oahu lifeguard Brian Keaulana, of innovative new safety equipment and rescue techniques using jet skis and water sleds.

Kalepa was born on Maui and grew up in Mililani on Oahu surfing the North Shore as a child and young teenager. He spent his summers in Lahaina living the idyllic formative years along and in the ocean fishing and surfing the pristine waves of that era, returning as a boarder at Lahainaluna High School.

There, his spirit was further steeled in the culture and tradition of the community as he became a standout of the Luna football program.

He graduated from Lahainaluna in 1982 and two years later signed on as a part-time lifeguard with Maui County. By 1985, he was working full-time and, 14 years later, became chief of water safety for Maui.

“I had spent a lot of time at Waimea Bay bodysurfing and competing on some swim teams out there,” said Kalepa today.

“I watched and admired Eddie Aikau out there and decided I wanted to be like him. I wanted to be in that North Shore scene.”

As his lifeguard career developed, he soon felt a deeper need to serve the public in his chosen field.

“Tourism is the number one industry in Hawaii, and here on Maui, I’d say that 90 to 95 percent of the visitors get into the water in one way or another. I focused on trying to get the lifeguard service more in the public eye alongside firefighters, police and other emergency responders. We wanted to educate the public and government officials on how we could offer better lifeguard services,” he explained.

“Along with guys like Brian Keaulana, Terry Ahue, Dennis Gouveia and Melvin Pu’u, we developed new rescue techniques using jet skis. We got a lot of resistance at first but stuck with it, traveled the world and became ambassadors of this with lifeguards and people like Navy SEALS.

“In 1992, as Hurricane Iniki hit the islands, I went out on a jet ski and rescued 40 people out at Mala Wharf that were stuck out on their boats there. Still, we got a hard time from the public with the jet skis, but the lifeguards on Maui kept to it and have become some of the top water safety operations in the world today,” he continued.

“Maui needs to embrace this fact – people come here to enjoy the beauty but are unaware of the beast that lives in the water. We need to provide more lifeguard services… minimize gray areas and maximize the importance of water safety.

“There were 150,000 public safety contacts last year, and Maui should be proud of the fact that we are the first lifeguard service to be put on 911 to respond to people in trouble. The lifeguard service has outgrown the designation as part of the Parks and Recreation Department and should be grouped with public safety units.”

Kalepa was awarded the Eddie Aikau Quiksilver Waterman of the Year award in 1994 for his contributions that included voyages from Tahiti to Hawaii aboard the Hokule’a with fellow Lahaina waterman Abraham “Snake” Ah Hee.

“I feel so blessed to have sailed with Snake on those voyages,” said Kalepa. “He is Lahaina’s waterman mentor and passes this knowledge on to future generations of keiki. We are blessed to have people like him in Lahaina.

“It is Duke’s legacy for all to enjoy and play in the ocean; he lived to pass this on to all of us – to enjoy the ocean,” Kalepa concluded.

– See more at:

About Archie’s collaboration with OluKai:

OluKai Announces Archie Kalepa, Ocean Sport Pioneer as Full-Time Konohiki (Caretaker)

PRESS RELEASE – February 3, 2014, Orange County, CA – Ultra-luxury lifestyle brand, OluKai, is pleased to announce Archie Kalepa, one of Hawaii’s greatest ocean sports pioneers, Hawaiian Lifeguard, and Director of Maui County Ocean Safety Division retires and joins the OluKai marketing team full-time as the Konohiki (caretaker).

As the Konohiki, Kalepa will support and direct the brand in remaining authentic to the ocean lifestyle and respectful of the Hawaiian culture through hands on participation in marketing activation. His main focus will be that of direct liaison between the brand’s long-standing partnership with the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association (HLA) and the OluKai product development team to ensure the creation of innovative product concepts. Additional responsibilities include maintaining strong ties to the Hawaiian culture, establishing cultural advisors, and representing the brand at events, trade shows, and through quarterly regional travel.

“Archie is an exceptional human being, bringing a strong sense of Hawaiian culture as well as an ethic of ‘taking action’,” says Kerry Konrady, director of marketing. “His impact at OluKai has been tremendous through his work with the HLA development program; we look forward to his greater influence as Konohiki.”

In line with OluKai’s FW14 “Walk Story™” which will promote engaged individuals who embody the spirit of humble action, Kalepa will also be tasked with creating a Konohiki board and identifying a group of caretakers whose mission will be ongoing education of OluKai staff members, those who talk and Walk Story™. With this board in place, Kalepa will oversee the formalization of the Konohiki board and annual review meetings.

With more than 30 years as a Hawaiian Lifeguard, this elite and humble waterman has saved countless lives, revolutionized lifeguarding today as one of the pioneers of personal-water-craft (PWC) and PWC sleds for use in tow-in surfing and ocean rescue, and became the trailblazer in establishing long distance SUP racing. In August of 2012, he was inducted into Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation’s Hawaii Waterman Hall of Fame, the highest honor a waterman can achieve in Hawaii. Following his induction, Kalepa spoke at “OluKai Presents TEDxMaui”, sharing his experiences and knowledge of the ocean and passion that surrounds him. In 2013, he was profiled on CNN’s “The Next List”, a weekly program that profiles innovators, visionaries and agents of change.

“I’m thrilled to begin this next chapter of my life and join the OluKai ‘ohana full-time as the Konohiki,” says Kalepa. “I’m looking forward to sharing the Hawaiian ‘ohana spirit and furthering OluKai’s roots in Hawaii and their commitment to preserving our local culture and traditions.”

Archie Kalepa lives in Lahaina, Maui with his wife, a former Miss Maui, and two daughters where they contribute greatly to their community.

About OluKai

OluKai is an ultra-luxury lifestyle brand that believes everyone, no matter where they are, can live Aloha. OluKai is one way to unlock its spirit in all of us. It is an inspired brand that whole heartedly believes in creating an emotional connection with the consumer and communicates from an “inside-out perspective.” The company is committed to building a unique and better class of products that blend ocean heritage with modern performance while leaving the smallest footprint possible on the planet. Through its Fit by Nature™, Crafted by Hand™ design principle, OluKai builds every pair of footwear with signature anatomically contoured footbeds to deliver the perfect balance of instant comfort and lasting support. Each pair features beautiful, quality materials and handcrafted details inspired by island culture. In every facet of its business, the brand is committed to respecting the people and the environments it touches. Inspired by the strong tradition of giving an offering or tribute in Polynesian culture, OluKai established the ‘Ohana Giveback Program to support the efforts of those who continue to give back to preserve local cultures and traditions. For more information visit

Anywhere Aloha posterArchie KalepaSurf Team

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