Kelia Moniz © ASP/Poullenot
Interview: Kelia Moniz talks world title, Hawaii & family
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 14 December, 2012 : - - Kelia Moniz (HAW), 19, like a few elite Hawaiian professionals, hails from an iconic surfing lineage. While father Tony Moniz has left his own legacy, Kelia has been busy creating her own, most recently winning the ASP Women’s World Longboard Title at the Swatch Girls Pro China. ESPN caught up with Ms. Moniz to talk about her big win on Hainan Island, her family and more. This… is their story…
It took a couple of days to for the collective surfing world to find out Kelia “Sister” Moniz won the ASP Women’s Longboard Championship at the Swatch Girls Pro. Perhaps it was due to the Facebook ban in the People’s Republic of China. Or, maybe the first jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing overshadowed thesingle-event longboard championship. Whatever the reason, Kealia’s first world title at the age of 19 is a milestone achievement.
When she was born it took a month for her parents Tammy and Tony Moniz to name Kelia so she inherited the nickname “Sister” from her older brother, Micah, during those four weeks. The Hawaiian/Japanese/Chinese/Portuguese/Irish longboarder’s first name is actually Greek for “beautiful.”
Although she splits time between Hawaii and California these days, Sister still considers Honolulu home. ESPN caught up with Moniz in Waikiki during a Roxy beach day to talk story about the Chinese surf scene, the world title, her legendary father, Tony, and what makes longboarding so cool.
What’s the surf scene like in China?
There’s no scene. It was only us, who flew in for the contest. The surfing scene is very new to their culture and that’s why they’ve been running events in China to kind of grow the sport within their culture. There’s so much potential there to be world class surfers because there are waves all over Hainan Island. We only surfed three spots on that island and there are so many pockets that are constantly breaking that nobody really knows of. They kind of keep it a little secret, but for the most part the Chinese government is trying to build a tourist attraction with Hainan Island and I think surfing can be a really big part of that.
Where would you could compare the Hainan Island waves that you surfed to in the U.S.?
The original spot they were supposed to hold the eventon a good dayis a perfect, left-hand point break that I would surf all day if it was breaking. Unfortunately, we had to move [contest] sites on the last day, and the second spot they [ran the contest] was actually like Queens a little bit.
That wave seems well-suited for your style of surfing since you grew up sliding Waikiki.
It was perfect for me! I went in after my semi and before my final and Kai Sallas was kind of giving me feedback and said, "just pretend like you're surfing Queens because it looks like it and you're surfing it like it is and have fun." That's what I did in the final and it worked to my advantage.
Beside Kai Sallas, who was your support crew in China?
My mom was my number one support. Then the other girls from the contest: Natalia Smith from Kauai and Crystal Dzigas. It was nice to have full-Hawaiian support there. And all the boys: Nelson [Ahina], Keegan [Edwards], Kai [Sallas], Uncle Duane [DeSoto] and Ned Snow.
Author: Daniel Ikaika Ito
Tags: Kelia Moniz, Hawaii, Longboard