nÄ koa kevyn yokote
His life underwater Page 4
by QUINN WILLIAMS, staff writer
Located right in Wailuku, Maui Sporting Goods provides allaround gear for skin divers. The essentials include a wetsuit, ﬁns, a mask, and a dive ﬂag. You’ll also need a speargun if you’re interested in ﬁshing while diving. These are some essentials recommended by store manager Cody Vares, most of which he uses himself. Maui Sporting Goods is a family-owned store specializing in water sports equipment, spearﬁshing tackle, and camping supplies. The original Maui store is located at 92 North Market Street, Wailuku, HI 96793. Phone: (808) 244-0011. The O’ahu location is at 851 Kapahulu Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96816. Phone: (808) 735-3897.
1 Maui Sporting Goods wetsuit, $299.97
This wetsuit is different from any other wetsuit with its greenish and black patterns. The two-piece suit is made of 3-millimeter Yamamoto rubber and is extra comfortable and warm. The open cell rubber requires you to be wet prior to putting it on so that the rubber can conform to your body, unlike a closed cell suit.
2 MSG Hatch spear gun, $574.97
Designed by O’ahu local, Michael “Mike” Hatcher, this model is specifically made for Maui Sporting Goods and carried only in their two stores. Every stock is handpicked to avoid knots that weaken the wood. Sides are rounded so the gun is easier to load. Vares said these are also a store favorite because “Mike stands behind his guns 100%.”
3 Mantis 5 mask, $74.97
One of their most popular masks, the Mantis 5 also has a lower volume and 20 degrees more visibility than the standard Mantis mask. Divers favor low volume because in high-volume masks, the deeper you dive, the more the air compresses, and the mask squeezes your face more than low-volume masks.
4 Beuchat fins, $499.97
These fins are smooth, light and soft on the surface, but still give a lot of propulsion. The carbon fiber in the fins gives a different response than composite blades. After you kick, the fiber will go back to their natural shape, giving you extra power. For beginning divers who don’t want to pay as much, Beuchat fins begin at $189.
5 Maui Sporting Goods booties, $29.97
These fin socks are Maui Sporting Goods’ own. Generally, fin socks are worn for comfort when wearing fins. These socks fit like actual socks, but they have a right and a left side, allowing it to form to your foot without any material clumps that will cause uncomfortable pressure points on your foot.
6 Maui Sporting Goods dive ﬂoat, $124.97
By law, a dive flag must be displayed on the surface of the water whenever any person or group of persons is engaged in freediving or SCUBA diving. The Maui Sporting Goods dive float is fully rigged and is ready to go right from the store. It is the same flag that Maui County lifeguards use.
.......................... SPRING 2015 ........................................................................................... from the editor ......................
All thanks to you!
It’s been three weeks and my head is about ready to explode— with good news of course! While our Nā Koa staff has been hard at work on issue three— the usual typing till our ﬁngers freeze into claws, staying up until the crack of dawn, and running around like headless chickens to get interviews—crazy things have been happening in the world of Issuu.com. Every once in a while, my adviser and I check up on the Issuu statistics. Usually, our numbers are pretty average for a high school of our size and locale, but recently, our numbers have skyrocketed! Wev’e been added to people’s stacks, our ﬁrst two issues have well over a thousand reads, and
Diving Essentials The best items for any dive sesh, right on Maui at Maui Sporting Goods.
ON THE COVER
Kevyn Yokote This Maui diver is
taking us below the surface with his love for marine ecosystems.
Diving terms 101 Everything
you need to know about snorkeling, skindiving, freediving, scuba diving, spearfishing, and bluewater spearfishing. You’ll never be confused again.
the amount of impressions are, well, impressive—in the tens of thousands, actually! And its all thanks to you—the readers! When I created Nā Koa, I imagined it would change the world, but didn’t believe it actually would. Now, seeing it being read, shared, favorited, and liked by so many just blows my mind. The purpose of Nā Koa is to connect students, the community, the culture, and the rest of the world with one another, and I hope it has done that for you. So, enough with the horn tooting already. It’s time to dive into our diving issue with spearﬁsher and freediver Kevyn Yokote as he takes you underwater and into his world.
Freediving’s history Dive deep into the origins of freediving.
.......... about the editor ............................................................................. Maile Sur, 17, is a senior at Kamehameha Schools Maui. She was
born and raised on Maui and has a passion for photography and design. Being a lover of the outdoors, she can always be found out and about roaming the forests for great hikes or just hanging at the beach with her friends. She hopes to one day become an art director for a magazine like Seventeen, Teen Vogue or W Magazine.
Maui Master: Brian Yoshikawa
This master of spearfishing and freediving tells about his life as a diver and how Maui Sporting Goods came to be.
Risks of freediving Though it seems like it’s all fun and games, freediving is some risky business.
Editor-in-Chief Maile Sur Staff Kainoa Deguilmo • Ashley-Anne Morishita • Faith Owan • Kainalu Steward • Alyssa Urayanza • Quinn Williams Layout Assistant Destinee Murray
Companies offer products that give divers some added shark protection.
Maui Made Two Maui divers tell about their crazy stories, favorite locations, and why they love diving.
Kimi Werner Not only is she 2008 U.S. Spearfishing Champion , Kimi Werner is also a chef and an artist.
the .... ......
Dare to dive into the world of freediving with spearfisher Kevyn Yokote
story + photographs Maile Sur
h, there’s choke sharks over here” were the first words 18-year-old Kevyn Yokote said to me when I got out of my car and looked at the ocean in front of us. Great. Just what I wanted to hear before we entered Ma’alaea Harbor to do this photo shoot. Many in Hawai’i love to play in the waves, but for Yokote, it goes much deeper than that—like 40 feet deeper. “I love that I get to experience a part of the world that not many people get to see,” Yokote says. Yokote and his family freedive, a form of deep underwater diving that doesn’t require a breathing apparatus. Like many locals, they combine freediving with spearfishing, catching fish using spearguns and slings. From uku to ‘omilu to ono and more, Yokote has a long list of memorable catches. The biggest, though: a 30-pound ono. “We woke up early, maybe like 5:15 a.m., and went to Ma’alaea. We have a spot right outside of Ma’alaea Harbor that always has ono’s, ” Yokote said. Since Kevyn has good luck with catching fish quickly, his brother Sean wanted to go in the water first—without him. After two hours, he got to try his hand at it. “Maybe like five minutes after I got in the water, all the ono’s came in. One came within five feet of me, and I took the midbody shot. It took me down and around for about five minutes, until my brother’s friend Chad
took the second shot. It was crazy,” Yokote said. The spears that fisherman shoot at their targets are tied to portable buoys. Once the spear finds its target, the fisherman hangs onto the float so as not to lose the fish while waiting for it to tire or succumb to a second shot. This is how the divers are dragged and pulled through
alarm for the next morning. When he gets underwater, “It’s another world.” “When I dive, I feel like I’m on an adventure, but I also feel like I’m at home; I have inner peace,” Yokote said. That made one of us. Unlike him, I was not at peace in any way. As we headed out for our dive,
“I love that I get to experience a part of the world that not many get to see.”
the ocean. When the fish tires enough, the fisherman will dive and render it senseless to pull it out of the water. After landing the ono, the Yokote’s enjoyed the fish for many days. That dive was in Ma’alaea, Maui, just one of the many locations Yokote has tested, but Ni’ihau and Ka’ula Rock, an island southwest of Ni’ihau, are two he’s waiting to cross off his bucket list. “I want to see what Hawaiian reefs are supposed to look like,” he said. A typical dive for Yokote starts at home. He checks the wind and swell online, texts some friends to see if they’re up for it, and then sets his
I stumbled over my fins, my mask was fogging up, and the repeated sound of Kevyn’s voice in my head saying “choke sharks” kept freaking me out. Since he spends almost every weekend diving, you would think he’d have racked up a bunch of awards, but Yokote says, “It’s just a hobby for now.” Even though he’s only entered two competitions and won none, his hobby puts him in touch with some pretty amazing divers—the coolest: Kimi Werner. Yokote met Werner in the first-annual 2008 Roi Round-up, a grassroots diving tournament to help save
Hawaiian waters and reefs from invasive species, especially roi, which was initiated by Maui County, Maui Sporting Goods, and local fisherman Darrell Tanaka. Talk about killing two birds with one stone! Yokote partnered with his brother, Sean, and though they didn’t place, he said meeting Werner made it worth it. “Until then, I didn’t know there were any good female free divers, but she proved otherwise,” Yokote said. This grassroots movement is what sparked Yokote’s interest in the environmental impact of commercial fishing and litter on Hawai’i’s environment. “I love the marine ecosystem, and I wanted to learn more about it,” Yokote said. “I have been diving for a few years, and I can see the negative impact of [commercial fishing and cigarette litter.]” This obsession with the ocean started when Yokote was nine years old, going diving with his dad, Russel Yokote. Being the youngest of three, Kevyn enjoys going out for bonding not only with his dad, but also with his two older brothers Lee (33) and Sean (30). “[My biggest role models] are my brothers,” Yokote said. “I dive with them the most.” After our dive, Yokote posed for this feature for me. His wet hair and sandy fins glistened in the morning light, and I could see in his eyes that the ocean is a special place for him. Yokote volunteers at the Department of Land and (YOKOTE continued on page 8)
(YOKOTE continued from page 8)
Natural Resources Community Fisheries Enforcement Unit and Makai Watch, organizations that promote the importance of educating the public about Hawai’i fishing regulations. This gives him the opportunity to see firsthand the harm that has been done to Hawai’i’s waters. Yokote focused his high school senior project on environmental factors affecting Hawai’i water, including commercial fishing and ciga-
rette litter, by making a public service announcement on cigarette litter. The video shows the amount of pollution cigarette litter causes on the land and sea, and how the fish you bring home could be affected by it. To view the video go to: http://bitly.com/1GBRJKm. “I feel like people don’t respect the ocean enough or not in the right way,” Yokote said. “It makes me sad to think of how people are killing the environment.” Though his senior project is
over, his senior year isn’t. With his last semester of school to finish, college applications, and scholarships, it’s amazing that he even finds the time for diving, but he’s trying to get as much of it in as he can before it’s off to the continental U.S. in the fall. “One day, I would like to be a professional, competitive free diver,” Yokote said. “I still need to enter some competitions and make some connections in the diving community.”
Until then, however, he’s going to be studying marine biology, hopefully, at the University of Oregon. Although he doesn’t know much about the Oregon diving scene, for a devoted diver such as he, one can be sure that he will figure out a way to get back in the water. “I dive because the feeling that comes over me when I dive is unexplainable, Yokote said. “There’s nothing like it.”
Yokote swims right below the surface, examining the world under him, looking for fish to spear on his freedive in Maʻalaea Harbor.
Diving terms by ashley-anne morishita, staff writer
Quick quiz: Is skin diving the same thing as free diving? Is snorkeling? What’s the difference? Here are some diving terms to help you get familiar with their similarities and differences. Snorkeling Snorkeling means to swim with a mask and snorkel – a curved breathing tube that allows you to breathe
through your mouth when floating underwater, near the surface. Snorkeling is common in warm water locations, typically near resorts, islands, beaches, or anywhere with underwater attractions. Skin diving Skin diving is snorkeling while making breath-hold dives to observe aquatic life, up close and personal.
Delve into freediving’s history by faith owan, staff writer
Everyone’s played that game where you see how long you can hold your breath underwater, but try doing it while you’re swimming down hundreds of feet into the ocean without any scuba gear. That’s what the sport of free diving is all about, whether it’s to see how deep you can go, or to hold your breath as part of a spearfishing excursion. Spearfishing is basically freediving with a weapon in your hand. With no bulky, bubbling breathing apparatus to draw attention to themselves, spearfishers are better able to blend in with their surroundings and approach the fish swimming about them. People have been doing freediving for thousands of years, but The International Association for the Development of Free-Diving said on their website that one Greek fisherman and sponge diver, Stathis Chatzi, is a legend. In 1913, an Italian naval
flagship was sailing along the coast of the island Karpathos in Greece when it lost its anchor. Amazingly, Stathis Chatzi dove approximately 88 meters, about 96 yards, and for about three minutes to retrieve the anchor. He did this using a heavy stone that carried him to the bottom quickly, which is a common technique used by divers, but that one dive made him infamous in freedive history. Freediving took the official leap into competition when the Hungarian native and spearfisher Raimondo Bucher dove approximately 98 feet to win a bet in 1949. He was the first official record holder, and his exploit served as the foundation for competition in free diving. The techniques for diving deeper and faster have developed through the years so that divers continue to break records and push the envelope. Discovery.com’s top 5 list of the deepest dives
ever made include Fransisco Ferrera of Cuba with a dive of 163 meters, Audrey Mestre of France with 171 meters, Herbert Nitsch of Austria with 172 meters, Patrick Musimo of Belgium with 209.6 meters, and the world-record holder for the deepest dive of 214 meters set by Herbert Nitsch in 2007, which is about the length of two and a half football fields. The sport of freediving can be risky. According to Dive-
wise.org, in a case review from the years 2006 to 2011, there were 417 freediving accidents, and of those, 308 were fatal. But overall, freedivers have proven scientists wrong time and time again through their setting of new records and use of innovative techniques, and freediving has proven that humankind is capable of extraordinary feats.
Freediving Freediving is a form that relies on holding your breath and using fins to descend. No SCUBA equipment is used. The whole aim is to dive for as deep or as long as possible on a single breath. It is done recreationally and individually, but is also practiced competitively all around the world.
Scuba diving Scuba diving is swimming deep underwater using SCUBA gear. SCUBA stands for Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, which are the tanks, masks, and regulators that most people are familiar with. This sport allows you to go deep under the water to examine the bed of the
sea, wearing a tight-fitting diving suit to protect against the cold and breathing regulated oxygen from a tank. Spearfishing Spearfishing is the act of hunting fish underwater by breath hold (often times using a general snorkel mask) or SCUBA diving with the use of a speargun or pole spear. A pole spear, also
known as a hand spear, consists of a pole, a spear tip, and a rubber loop. Locally, the term, “diving” alone is used to mean spearfishing with all the latter equipment above. Bluewater spearfishing Bluewater spearfishing is the sport of hunting wild open ocean fish with a lung full of air and a speargun.
Photo used courtesy of Brysen Duarte
Brysen Duarte of Pukalani re-surfaces during a deep freedive.
Photo used courtesy of K. Kawamura
maui ...................master by kainalu steward, staff writer
he says. In his career, he has gone to many places most can only dream of and has met many spearingfishing icons. He used to travel on worldwide diving trips until his life changed completely. He set the traveling aside for another rewarding pursuit— happily raising two children. His son Brandon (14) and his daughter Jasmyn (9) have both been spearfishing with
him since the age of 5, Yoshikawa said he hasn’t gone on a faraway trip since his son was 1, but he is hoping to go on one soon, now that his son Brandon has more experience and is growing up. “Best memories I have of diving are when I got to watch my children get their ‘firsts’ whether it was a tako or a fish,” he said. Any outdoor activity takes
a lot of practice to become good, and Yoshikawa was definitely a waterman from the start. “My father had me pulling his floater from when I was 6 years old. I was too weak to load his hinge gun and 3-prong, so I pretty much just followed him and watched and learned how to stalk the manini and kole he often shot, and how to find tako,” he said. A competitive swimmer for 12 years, he surfed a lot before he got into competitive spearfishing. He was so passionate about the lifestyle that he retired, he says, from “school and work” at the age of 22 to compete on a spearfishing team with the Un-
Store owner and spearfishing enthusiast Brian Yoshikawa is definitely no stranger to the diving world. Born and raised on the island of O’ahu, in 1989 Yoshikawa withdrew from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and retired from Hon Sports. He moved to Maui, where he opened his own business in Wailuku, Maui Sporting Goods, which sells spearfishing and outdoor equipment. Back in the 80’s, there weren’t any places like it on the island. The business blossomed, and in 1994, he (BRIAN continued on page 11) added a location on O’ahu. His business caters to locals and international spearfishermen who come to experience Maui waters. The original shop has been open for 26 years, and Yoshikawa runs it as brick-and-mortar only, with no website or online sales, but his store is stocked with about 200 spearguns, and other quality equipment to go along with it. If you stop by the shop on North Market St., you might even run into Kamehameha Schools Maui alumnus Elijah Won from the class of 2014, who is currently employed there. Yoshikawa has been spearPhoto by Maile Sur fishing for about 45 years. “That’s kind of a long time,” An assortment of spear guns and diving necessities ready for purchase at Maui Sporting Goods.
“My deep is your impossible.” -Brian Yoshikawa
(BRIAN continued from page 11) derwater Society of America. Although he is an accomplished freediving spearfishermen, Yoshikawa said that this is not an activity to take lightly. For instance, although there are official competitions, he doesn’t like to classify spearfishing as a “sport.” He stresses that he fishes for food, not for sport, and discourages tourists from spearfishing for the thrill of it. “You don’t play with food. That’s not the way I was raised, even if I lose a sale [by discouraging recreational spearingfishing],” he said. Yoshikawa actively protects Maui’s waters in other ways as well. There used to be a Roi Round-Up fishing tournament on Maui several years ago, which was organized with his help. It was established as a grassroots awareness campaign to make spear-fishermen aware that fish such as the roi, toʻau and taʻape were targeting endemic fishes. The roundup got the attention of the Department of Land and Natural Resources to recognize that island fishermen aren’t the ones depleting the endemic fish. He was one of the first men to start doing what is known as bluewater diving, which is basically off-the-reef diving for pelagic fish or fish that don’t live here, such as mahimahi, ono, and ‘ahi. “Back in the day, no one was doing it,” he said. The fish caught in bluewater diving may range anywhere from 10 pounds to 600 pounds! Equipment is important and varies depending on what you’re diving for and
where you’re going to dive. For bluewater diving, fishermen use bigger more appropriate guns as compared to the smaller guns for reef fish. “You don’t take a BB gun to shoot an elephant,” he said. The spearfishing industry has thrived lately. Yoshikawa said he thinks there is more interest because there is more excitement compared to pole fishing. It’s more active because people have the opportunity to jump in the water and shoot or at least see fish, rather than sit passively waiting on the beach for something to bite. Though it may sound exciting, Yoshikawa has stern warnings for people who think they can just jump in the water and do it. Before you decide to try your shot at freediving, start off slow, taking time to condition yourself, and understand that the process takes time to get used to. He recommends two really good books for beginners and divers in general: Blue Water Hunting and Free Diving, by Dr. Terrey Maas, both are sold on Amazon. Yoshikawa helped compose and edit Free Dive while on 10-day fishing trips in the Pacific Ocean. I asked about how deep Yoshikawa has dived, but he declined to say. “I don’t want people to try this and get hurt,” he said. “My deep is your impossible.” There comes a lot of responsibility when diving, so before you go out at any time, always remember Brian Yoshikawa’s rules: No fish is worth dying for, and no
Photo by Maile Sur
Yoshikawa inside Maui Sporting Goods with his dog, Stitch,
who has become a permanent fixture at the Wailuku location.
Photo by Maile Sur
Maui Sporting Goods has a wide array of fins at both their Wailuku and Kapahulu locations, so stop in and pick some up. fish is worth killing if you’re not going to eat it. When asked why he does what he does, the answer could have been anything, but he replied simply: “I just love it, and basically
can’t afford to buy all the fish that I spear, so I go for the stuff I want to eat, and don’t go for the stuff I don’t want to eat,” he said.
Suits or skins: predator protection by kainoa deguilmo, staff writer
SSSSpearfishing is a popular hobby, but even the most fun activities come with a price. Small fish to spear aren’t the only creatures that live in the reefs. Reefs are also home to sharks. Although they don’t normally prey on humans, accidents happen. Shark attacks are not common, but they are extremely deadly. A surfer can easily look like a seal on his board. Similarly, a diver with a fresh catch can attract some unwelcome visitors with a fish’s blood. However, companies now have a solution to shark-related incidents. One company that specializes
Photo used courtesy of NoShark
The ESDS device, now NoShark, is said to repel ocean sharks. in this is NoShark by BluVand, formerly Electronic Shark Defense System. They make a shark-repelling device that wraps around the ankle. These anklets can go on surfboard leashes and wetsuits too. The device is currently available at http://www.NoShark. com for $399. An international converter/charger is also available for an additional $20. Wilson Vinano Jr. is the creator of the device. He lives in Honolulu and surfs. “We would send down a fish
with a rope and it [the shark] would grind the fish,” Vinano said in an article at dailymail. com. “Then [we put down] another one with the device on. [The sharks] didn’t eat the fish, but, when we remove the device, they shred it.” A video on the NoShark website demonstrates this. Other companies have similar devices available, such as Australia’s Shark Shield. Their products are available at http:// www.sharkshield.com.
Prices range from $599 for a surf model to $699 for the SCUBA model. They also have accessories including carry pouches and an extended warranty. Both devices work by disrupting the electrical signals contained in the snouts of sharks, keeping them at bay. Shark Attack Mitigation Systems (SAMS), another Australian company, is already making shark-deterring wetsuits that don’t uses electronic pulses. Rather, they use camouflaging wetsuit patterns that use the designs and colors of the ocean or mimic animals sharks avoid. The blue and white Elude suit blends in with water and is supposed to make surfers or divers nearly invisible to sharks. Another design is the black and white Diverter. The stripes of the suit look like sea snakes, which sharks always steer clear of, much like the red and white lionfish suit, which is another fish sharks leave alone. (This article has been modified from its original version, published 1/26, to reflect changes in the branding of NoShark.)
Risky business: use freediving caution by alyssa urayanza, staff writer
They say freediving pushes people to and sometimes even beyond their limits. Those who participate in this extreme sport do so for that very reason: to test their limits. But there are some who argue that they freedive for that sense of calm that comes over them in the stillness of the darkest depths of the water. The objective of freediving is to determine how deep one can go or how well one can function on a single breath of air. This objective is reason enough for most to not even consider this extreme sport. Because of this, free diving is more dangerous than most sports. The two most common risks
of free diving are shallow water blackout and deep-water blackout. Shallow water blackout is the loss of consciousness caused by cerebral hypoxia, or the lack of oxygen to the brain, in water typically shallower than five meters deep, while a deep-water blackout occurs when descending to a depth of ten meters or more. Those who experience either shallow water blackout or deep-water blackout most likely do not recall having the urge to breathe the moment before losing consciousness. Scientifically, the urge to breathe is not, in fact, the urge to inhale oxygen, but the urge to exhale, or breathe out, carbon dioxide. When you feel the
need to breathe, it’s not because you’re running out of oxygen, but because your carbon dioxide levels are rising. Usually, the balance between oxygen and CO2 in your body is balanced, but when holding your breath for a long time, the CO2 levels rise. The disproportion of oxygen and CO2 in the body is what makes you feel uncomfortable. Despite these risks, free diving is an ever-growing sport with about 5,000 free divers around the world in 67 different countries. Since freediving is so deadly, participants should always follow these important safety-tips:
SAFETY TIPS: 1. Use the buddy system. 2. Get the proper training be fore-hand. 3. Rest in between deep dives. 4. Evaluate the dive site before diving. 5. Know your limits. Sources: The Guardian on free diving: http://bit. ly/1yzlZ39 Blogs at Undercurrent.org on free diving hazards: http://bit.ly/15D4rIz Tampa Bay Times on the risk of free diving: http://bit.ly/1BiYpr7 Diverwire.com for scuba diving enthusiasts on free diving: http://bit.ly/15wbyBS Freediving on safety precautions: http://bit.ly/1GE6z30 ABC News on death of free diver Audrey Mestre: http://abcn.ws/1E7XWvp
maui ............................. made ......... by kainoa deguilmo, staff writer
Photo used courtesy of Brysen Duarte
16 School: King
Kekaulike High School, junior
How long he’s bbbbbeen diving: Since eighth grade.
Diving partner? I don’t really have one or a few, it’s normally whoever is free and wants to dive. What days? I used to go almost every other weekend, but lately I haven’t been going that much because the conditions have been terrible. Best catch? Nothing major, only a 10-pound omilu.
Crazy Story? My buddy Don Thompson and I were attacked by a monk seal. It stole the fish out of our hands and harassed us the whole day. Favorite spot? It’s a secret, but I’d rather have sandy beaches than cliffs and boulders any day. Favorite part? Eating my catch with my family.
Favorite fish? Nohu, hard to find, easy to shoot, tastes great. A gun or three-prong? I use a gun, but anytime it comes to a shelf or hole I switch to threeprong. What gear? Hatch Customs.
One place you’ve always wanted to dive? Molokai, so much game there, it’s ridiculous. Favorite way to prepare your catch? All depends on the fish. Reef fish get steamed, hole fish get fried, and the deeper water fish get eaten raw like sashimi and poké. Who taught you? My dad, the real MVP.
Photo used courtesy of Prince Kekona
Kamehameha Schools Maui, 2014 graduate
How long he’s been diving: About 5 years
Whoever’s down to go.
When? Whenever I have time and I’m not working, I’m in the water. Best catch? A five-pound moana kali.
Crazy story? Falling off a cliff in Kaupo and losing my fins in the water. I couldn’t swim, and the waves were crashing on me. There was nowhere to get up. It was all sheer cliff, so my friend Preston had to swim me to a rock where I would climb up that was about half a mile away. Favorite spot? Kahakuloa
Favorite part? The feeling you get when you shoot something big. It’s an amazing feeling that is priceless. Also, the feeling of being 80 feet down, looking at the surface, realizing you’re all by yourself. It feels like a whole different world. A gun or three-prong? I mostly use a gun when I dive, but it depends on what I’m doing. If I’m not going for bait tako or small fish like Kole, then I’ll bring my three-prong. What gear? I have a Riffe wetsuit, Beachat fins and an Aimrite speargun.
Diving goal? My goal is to stone a 100-pound ulua on a 150-foot drop. One place you’ve always wanted to dive? Fiji! Favorite way to prepare it? Steaming and drying my fish is my favorite.
Who taught you? I basically had to teach myself how to dive. I learned by continuously going each weekend with my friends.
Photo used courtesy of Brysen Duarte
Kamehameha Schools Maui, junior How long he’s been dd diving: 11 years
Diving partner? My older brother Bryce. How often? I try to go almost every weekend, to get away from stress. Best catch? My best catch so far is a 12-pound omilu I shot with a three-prong.
Crazy story? The craziest thing that ever happened was when a shark stole a fish out of my hands. I was swimming back up to the surface when a great reef shark came and took it. I looked at it, and it swam away quickly. Favorite part? Bringing back fresh fish home for the dinner table and telling of the day’s adventure over some nice cold drinks.
A gun or three-prong? I tend to use them both. Threeprong teaches you to be more patient and more stealthy. The gun helps you become accurate with only one shot. One place you’ve always wanted to dive? Mexico, there’s big yellow fin tuna there Favorite way to prepare it? Put it on tin foil, add secret Chinese ingredients, and then I wrap it up and steam it for 20 minutes. Ever placed in a tournament? Yes, first place seven times at the Daniel Pierre Dive With Your Dad 3-prong tournament.
Photo used courtesy of Kainalu Taniguchi
Who taught you? I was taught by my dad, my older brother, my Uncle Dana, Lance Otsubo and Brian Yoshikawa.
Female diving champ credits family, land by ashley-anne morishita, staff writer
Photos used courtesy of Justin Turkowski
Born and raised on the island of Maui in Hā’iku, Kimi Werner, the 2008 U.S. National Spearfishing champion, lives a life of adventure, accomplishment, and experience all while doing the one thing she loves the most – spearfishing. The Werner family resided on the northeast of Maui where Kimi’s father was a dedicated freediver. Growing up, her family didn’t live a life of luxury. “My family always taught me to appreciate nature, how to be resourceful, and how to be respectful of it,” she said. It was at an early age that she grasped the importance
of not taking the land and its resources for granted, and from then on, she become connected to nature and the ocean. “My dad was my first inspiration to dive. He would go spearfishing just to put food on the table,” she said. At the age of five, Kimi would follow in her father’s footsteps. Granted, she was too young to actually spear a fish, but by tagging along, she could observe how it was done and became aware of the ways of the ocean. After high school, Werner moved to O’ahu and attended Kapi’olani Community College, where she received her culinary arts degree at the age of 21. At the same time, she started painting and studying fine arts. Her paintings and artistic apparel are on display and for sale at https://www.kimiwernerart. com. They show her love
and fondness for sea life, the land, and the ocean that surrounds her. Her move to college on O’ahu in 1998 wasn’t something she struggled with. She did it to rediscover herself. “I liked the fact of walking into the room with no one having any knowledge of who I am, and, therefore, I too can figure out who I am. I loved going places by myself, and I loved eating lunch in the cafeteria by myself. I truly cherished those moments,” she said about her first years of settling on O’ahu. After graduating, she worked in the restaurant industry for a year or two before realizing, “As much as I absolutely love cooking, working in the restaurant industry was not making me happy. There were still so many things I wanted to do and things I wanted to
explore.” After realizing that cooking wasn’t going to satisfy her, she got fully into the one thing that did, in fact, make her truly happy, and that was underwater freediving and spearfishing. “It was in that moment of being underwater and being humbled by it,” she says, “that I reconnected to the happiness of my childhood and all those times I would tag along with my father.” She credits her success to her diving and spearing partners, like brothers, Kalai and Kalei Fernandez, Wayde Hayashi, and Andy Tamasese. “I give them [Hayashi and Tamasese] gratitude for everything that they did for me and for their humbleness even with all the skills they have and being so generous with them.” (WERNER on facing page)
(WERNER from facing page) What enthused Werner about diving was that she had natural potential, and she was good at it. She says that most of what she already knew started from when she would watch her father, but training officially as an adult, she realized that it came to her naturally and comfortably. “There’s always something more to learn and no more matter how much I improve, the ocean always has a way of humbling me, especially when I’m far down holding my breath trying to catch a fish,” she said. Werner is involved in a dangerous sport, but she’s careful. Though she enjoys diving into the depths of the ocean, she never pushes her limits. She is always cautious about stepping out of her comfort zone for fear that she might black out underwater; something that has never happened to her before, and she plans on keeping it that way. Her diving career has taken her all over the world to places such as Africa, Japan, Indonesia, Tahiti, Mexico, Alaska, China, and Palau. “Palau would have to be the one diving destination that I enjoyed the most because it’s so beautiful there. The fish are so abundant, and the reefs are so alive,” she said. She also said that the people of Palau take care of their ocean, which is “inspiring.” It made her think about what Hawai’i could still be like if it weren’t for modern development. Her biggest catch so far has been a 125-Ib. ahi, which is one of her favorite fish – mainly because she
loves eating it! “It’s the best part,” she said about spearfishing. Not being able to pick any one person whom she enjoys diving with most, Werner instead described the kinds of divers she likes to dive with, competitive ones.
of panicking, she let out a surprised squeal and started swimming towards it. Her years of diving had taught her about the body language of the shark. She observed the way its fins were moving. “All of it showed that she
“...I reconnected to the happiness of my childhood and all those times I would tag along with my father.” -Kimi Werner
Photos courtesy of Justin Turkowski
Werner poses with one of her catches from a dive, a big kumu! “It’s fun to have someone else there who has your back, whch in the long run will help me to push my limits,” she said. One day while out on a boat in October of 2012, Werner was given permission from the captain to freedive and learn about great white sharks. When she entered the water and started to adjust her mask, she saw the biggest great white she had ever encountered only three feet away from her. Instead
[the shark] wasn’t looking at me as prey. At one point she started swimming up towards me. I took a drop and swam down directly towards her when we sort of met in the middle,” Werner said. What started out as a scary event in her diving career turned out to be one of her most memorable. Today, Werner continues to dive and fish, but she is also drawn back to her cooking. “I feel that because I didn’t make it into a career, every
single day I will totally throw down and cook something that really inspires me,” she said. She is currently producing food videos launching on her website, https://www.kimiwerner.com, on March 1. “The videos will show how to gather ingredients with your own two hands, whether it’s fish or vegetables and how to prepare both,” she said. In the future, she also hopes to compose a cookbook. Her goal is to encourage people to know where their food comes from and how to use all the resources that are around them. Although she is well situated on O’ahu, she says she thinks about Maui all the time. “I was recently reading an old journal entry from a couple years back asking myself how long I was going to stay on O’ahu and when I would return to the Valley Isle,” she said. Werner said that recently although Maui has been calling her back home, as far as her diving career goes, it’s easier having O’ahu as her home base for traveling. “However, when the time comes for me wanting to settle down and start a family, I’ll definitely return home or at least somewhere that makes me feel like that’s where home is,” she said. No matter where her diving, cooking, and art careers take her, she continues to follow the early childhood lessons from her parents: never take the islands for granted, be appreciative of everything the land provides, and make use of all its resources.
nā koa A Ka Leo o Nā Koa Publication Nā Koa Media Editor-in-Chief Maile Sur Contact Us: Address: 270 ‘A’apueo Parkway, Pukalani, HI 96768 • Phone: (808) 573-7019 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Twitter: @kaleoonakoa • Website: www.kaleoonakoa.org
Skin diving, freediving, spearfishing on Maui. Featuring Kevyn Yokote, Brian Yoshikawa, Brysen Duarte, Kainalu Taniguchi, Dylan Shepherd, Ki...
Published on Jan 26, 2015
Skin diving, freediving, spearfishing on Maui. Featuring Kevyn Yokote, Brian Yoshikawa, Brysen Duarte, Kainalu Taniguchi, Dylan Shepherd, Ki...