From Grommet To Prodigy

Shortly after surf sensation Kekoa Cazimero graduates summa cum laude next month, he’ll turn pro — and turn his attention toward becoming a world champion

Yu Shing Ting
Friday - April 20, 2007
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Kekoa takes some frontside air at Haleiwa
Kekoa takes some frontside air at Haleiwa

On June 5 Kekoa Cazimero will celebrate his 18th birthday and a dream come true: becoming a professional surfer.

Soon he’ll be signing endorsement and sponsorship contracts already waiting for him with earnings totaling in the six digits.

Until then, this head-turning (he models too) Kaiser High senior is focused on finishing his last month of school. Currently ranked 21 out of 233 seniors, Cazimero is on track to graduate summa cum laude, a designation for graduates with a 3.8 grade-point average and above.

That’s right, this grom-turned-prodigy is not only a champion surfer, but he’s also on top of it in the classroom.

“Growing up my dad and mom always taught me to put my priorities in life,” Cazimero says of his success in and out of the water. “For me, it’s God, family, school and surfing. In that order.”

Cazimero, also known as “Koa Boi,” started surfing at age 7, learning the sport from his dad Turk, the president/owner of Hawaiian H u r r i c a n e Productions. Many of his first waves were caught at Cockroach Bay, aka Baby Makapuu, located near his stomping grounds of Waimanalo.

Kekoa Cazimero with dad Turk at Kewalos
Kekoa Cazimero with dad Turk at Kewalos

These days, you’ll most likely find him at one of his two favorite surf spots: Sandy’s or Ala Moana Bowls.

“I surf every day,” says Cazimero. “I can’t stand not being in the water for more than a day or I freak out.”

When he’s not studying or surfing, Cazimero enjoys spending time with his “boys,” playing poker, or spending time with his “beautiful” girlfriend Casey Wiggins, whom he credits for helping to keep him grounded. The pair attend Kaiser and have been dating for about nine months.

He also trains every day, whether it’s running on the beach or in his neighborhood, swimming, weight training or working with a medicine ball. And he’s always, by choice, on a diet.

“I pretty much don’t eat junk food,” he says. “I eat a lot of salad, a lot of fruits, a lot of fish and chicken, and not too much red meat.”

His favorite food is grandma Alicia Cazimero’s oxtail soup and Japanese food, especially soba. He also frequents the Curry House and California Pizza Kitchen at Kahala Mall.

“All in all, Kekoa is a good kid,” says Jennifer Soloff, Cazimero’s counselor at Kaiser. “He’s an excellent student, and I’ve always been impressed with how he’s balanced his love for surfing and still doing very well academically.

“In their freshman year, I take their photo and I ask them what do you want to do when you graduate from high school? Kekoa said, I want to be a professional surfer and if that doesn’t work then I want to be a model. So he had goals his freshman year and he did a good job achieving them. That’s very impressive.”

Cazimero, who is a mix of

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