Whats the biggest surf you have been in (face value) and tell me a bit about that session.
My biggest session would probably be 20-30 foot faces a few years ago at a heavy outer reef. After paddling a half mile out and shooing away the tow teams Mike and I both got a couple solid ones. Thirty minutes into the session we had to scramble our for dear lives as the horizon went a shade of dark blue I’ve never experienced before. After being shot up with a massive dose of adrenaline I went on to pull into the biggest barrel of my life, snapped my leash instantly, got obliterated by that and 5 more waves in the set, and swam a half mile in through crazy rip currents until reaching shore. As I wait for Mike to come in I get a glimpse of him caught inside a solid close out set. I start to worry after seeing a black rash guard rolling around in the shore break 5 minutes later, the same color Mike was wearing.. I picked it up and thankfully discovered that it wasn’t his. After reassuring myself that I didnt leave the godfather of bodyboarding out in heavy water alone to his demise i see the cheeky guy catching a ride in with a ski from the nearby tow team.. I never got a ride in! Perks of being an old man i guess haha it was an awesome day.
You have been surfing pipe quite frequently the last few years, tell me about your relationship with that wave?
I am absolutely obsessed with Pipeline. I have been living on Oahu for over 5 years now and have logged an insane amount of hours learning about all the dynamics that make Pipe. Ask any real Pipeline wave-rider about missing a day or even a session at firing Pipe and you can see the intensity in their eyes. The bond is that spiritual, emotional, almost obsessive to true Pipe masters, and I aspire to be among them one day.
Whats the best things you have experienced out there?
I’ve been so fortunate to experience awesome things at pipe; Catching waves from true second reef all the way through first reef, having party waves and double barrels with mentors and friends, sessions with just the right amount of skilled watermen that have mutual respect for one another, watching and learning true Pipeline masters turn wave riding into art, being inside heaving cathedrals of raw energy not knowing if it will let you out, and then hitting a perfect ramp after they do.
And the weirdness?
So many heavy wipeouts from people that dont belong and make it dangerous out there. There needs to be more regulation.. I trip out on how many kooks, children, and randoms I see, but i guess it is a pretty easy wave when its under 6 ft hawaiian. There’s this lady with a pink helmet, she makes appearances in morning sessions and is always out there if its under 10 ft hawaiian. She usually stays far from harm in the channel so she has been deemed the Pink Buoy, surfline should have a camera on her helmet haha.
What is your gear set up?
Im pretty set on the response and durability of polypro, single stringer, and mesh set ups for Hawaiian waters. I like to experiment with templates but stay with 41.5-42 crescent boards and they work amazing. Our new Gyroll Wetsuits are the warmest most comfortable suits I’ve worn for sure. MS Viper fins, Gyroll leashes and fin connectors, strictly the best made by the best.
The best thing you feel you have done in the water this last year?
I like think i’ve improved all aspects of my abilities in the water this year, but for sure have been working on airs since they have never been my strong point. Stoked to have been landing more big airs.
I jumped in the water a few months ago straight onto a reef spire that cut my shin to the bone. Earned 3 weeks of aloe vera, bandages, a big scar, and a lackluster story with it.
What wave do you want to surf?
Teahupo’o, Cloudbreak, Gringo (chile), Nuggan, and Jaws have been on my mind a lot lately.
Whats next for Keahi Parker?
With the turbulent times of the world tour and the general unsustainable lifestyle of traveling for events I have decided to focus on things in Hawaii. I will be going back to school soon to work on my Physical Therapy degree, surf Pipeline as much as possible, compete on the IBA Hawaii Tour, chase swells for big paddle in sessions, and try to make it to Chile this summer.
Science, MS Viper, Gyroll, Bioastin, and DVS