LIHUE — For three years, world champion surfers Kalani Vierra and Krystl Apeles have fine-tuned their tandem techniques on Kauai waves.
County council committee members on Wednesday recognized the achievements of the Kauai athletes for winning their second world championship title at the 11th annual Tandem Surfing World Championship at Kuhio Beach, Waikiki in August.
Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. proclaimed Oct. 25 as “Kalani Vierra & Krystl Apeles Day.”
“We do not surf just for ourselves,” Vierra said. “We surf for the people of Kauai, we surf for the people of Hawaii, we surf for our community, we surf for Duke Kahanamoku. Being native Hawaiians, I think that’s our responsibility to keep the art of tandem surfing alive.”
The surfing pair plan to travel and expose the world to tandem surfing.
“Through my journey, it’s opened up a lot of opportunities and taught me truly the importance of showing aloha,” Apeles said. “I only hope to resonate that, the love and support we have from my teammate, from my family, from the community.”
This year, the duo also placed first in the Buffalo Big Board Classic at Makaha, Tandemonium at Turtle Bay on the North Shore, and the “Pops” Ah Choy Waikiki Tandem Classic.
The 2017 world champions have been filming a documentary for the last three years to spread awareness about their ocean art.
The next Summer Olympics, 2020 in Japan, will be hosting the first-ever surfing competition, so the champs are working hard to present an exhibition there.
“With our dreams as big as the Olympics, it’s definitely encouraging to have that kind of support behind you,” Apeles said.