Meet Kainalu Canubida, known as Kai to his family and friends.  In Hawaiian, Kai means “waves of the ocean” and a handle perfectly matched to his energetic nature.  At the young age of four, Kai began learning tricks using his first longboard. Encouraged by his dad to keep at the sport, he soon discovered the never-ending challenges of skating. As Kai tells it, “I love going in the air. It feels like flying and reminds me of surfing on water. It really is me.” Now at thirteen, he is an aficionado of surfing but also fostershis passion for skateboarding.  He catches waves on the ocean and on land.

When asked how skateboarding helps him in other areas of life, he says skating keeps him focused. “Most days I’m out here practicing tricks. Other kids my age are out trying to find themselves, probably doing drugs. Not me. I’m here.”

He is a big fan of Ventura, California’s Curren Caples, X Games 2013 Skate Park Gold medalist. Kai admires how Curren advanced his amateur ranking applying his unique power and style in competition. Kai believes he can capture the same mindset to reach his own personal goals.

Mastering the trick disaster is one of his favorite challenges on the ramp. Trying to land the coping a certain way, while attempting to break a board, thrills him. Kai says, “It’s hearing the shrill sound of grinding metal, telling you you’re doing it right.” He spends hours perfecting certain skills – airing ollie – as he puts it. Watching Kai, one can feel the excitement and flow of a lift-off, his body managing the pop and slide of the skateboard action. Kai enjoys using the halfpipes and bowls at the YMCA. He’s really good at dropping in the bowls, balancing on the board while managing his rate of speed to perform well.   

As with all skateboarders, he is well aware of the potential for falling. It is a risk he is willing to take. And as his skill level is higher now, he wears pads and a helmet for protection. His advice to beginners is to learn how to push off on the board. This will help you center your body on the board which is important to overcoming the fear of falling. He warns not to mongo the board. Pushing off with your back foot gives you more control, especially when other skaters are around you.

Kai’s hobbies include playing guitar and the ukulele, shooting hoops with friends and bike riding around his neighborhood. He enjoys video games on occasion but prefers outdoor activities. He listens to R&B, rock and pop music.  At times he will skate to music, trying to sync his jumps and landings to the beat.

In 2017, Kai placed first in the Grind for Life Bowl Intermediate series (13 to 39) held in Knoxville, TN, Bradenton, Lakeland, and Sarasota, Fl.  

Boardr.com rates his Global Ranking among 900 plus skateboarders as 406th, 93rd in Park. Pretty remarkable for such a young competitor!  He also receives support and encouragement from his sponsors such as Vans, Nomad Surf Shop, Stance Socks and Sick Trix.  Kai is excited about the opportunity to use the upcoming Y’s new Skate Park to practice for the 2020 Olympics.  

It’s likely the skateboarding world will find Kai among the top competitors as he continues to perfect his matchless style.