With summer looming on the horizon, surfers across the world are finalizing itineraries, renewing old passports, and ordering new boards in preparation for that long-anticipated summer surf trip. Some of the luckier will be boarding planes bound for far-off exotic locations while others will be packing up the old beater truck, hitting the road and searching for perfect waves closer to home. For a few however, the summer surf trip means looking for more than just epic surf conditions, hot chicks, and a change of scenery. Last summer Hawaii locals Kahana Kalama and Kanoa Chung left the idyllic Oahu surf scene, crossed the pond to Cali and then made the journey south to Baja, Mexico with more in mind than just scoring some waves; they wanted to change some lives.
“Last summer Hawaii locals Kahana Kalama and Kanoa Chung left the idyllic Oahu surf scene, crossed the pond to Cali and then made the journey south to Baja, Mexico with more in mind than just scoring some waves; they wanted to change some lives”
Tan, fit and seemingly carefree, at first glance, Kahana and Kanoa appear to be stereotypical 20-year-old surfers. To most onlookers, the pair resembled the standardized, “dime-a-dozen” version of American surfers on their way down to Baja to take advantage of the pointbreaks, A-frames, fish tacos and cheap beer. But there is more to this duo than meets the eye. They are no longer the goofy groms of days past, but they are not yet the salty cynics of the future either. Unlike so many young surfers that travel to different countries with their eyes locked solely on scoring perfect waves, Kahana and Kanoa wanted to see beyond the surf and delve into the hard-hitting social issues afflicting the Mexican people.
Embarking on their journey they carried with them a quiver of fresh surfboards and the bed of their truck was packed tightly with Styrofoam coolers housing American food and drinks. More importantly however was the mission of aloha they hoped to bring to the kids of Mexico that most have forgotten.
As Kahana and Kanoa crossed the border into Mexico, countless thoughts raced through their minds. Their eyes were wide and their senses were sharpened to all of their foreign surroundings as they pondered the typical questions that all surfers ask themselves. Kanoa recalls wondering, “Will Baja Malibu be any good? Which direction is the swell gonna be coming from?” But these light-hearted thoughts were quickly juxtaposed by questions of a more serious variety. “What’s it gonna be like to go to an AIDS orphanage?”