KALANI VIERRA When you think protector of Hawai'i and its traditions, you think of Kalani Vierra. “The ocean is where I feel most comfortable and at peace. It’s part of my spiritual being, my heritage, and my culture. Being considered a Waterman is a great honor in the sacred place of Hawaii. I make my living as one with the ocean, and I aim to be a role model for the next generation. By sharing my knowledge and experience, I hope to create a ripple effect across the ocean, spreading to all parts of the world. It’s my “Kuleana” — my responsibility to share with everyone, as it was passed on to me.”
From the first moment Kalani stood up on a wave, he was hooked. He spent his childhood learning to bodysurf, longboard, paddle outrigger canoes, and spearfish— using flat days on the island as an opportunity to further explore what the ocean has to offer.
As a young adult, Kalani decided he would become a lifeguard and gave 110% to his training. This experience sparked a lifelong passion for service to his community. For 25 years, Kalani has held the position of Kauai Ocean Safety Lifeguard Chief. He is the co-founder of the Kauai Lifeguard Association, a board member of the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association, as well as the owner and operator of the Kauai Water Patrol. In addition, Vierra is an active member of the Water Safety Task Force for both the state of Hawai'i and the island of Kauai, and the Pacific Island Region President for the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA). He is also a certified IWaterman instructor specializing in Rescue Craft Training, and Program Director of Kauai's Youth Lifeguards.
Always the first to lend a helping hand, Kalani stays active in and out of the ocean. He is involved with the Bethany Hamilton Surf Camp and the Make A Wish Foundation. He also operates the First Aid & Medic station for the Hawaiian Trail Run. He’s an active volunteer at the Kauai Food Drive, as well as with the Keala Foundation where he remains dedicated to educating keikis and visitors about water safety. One of his essential lessons is, "If you don't know the area, swim where there's a lifeguard."
Kalani’s service work has earned him international recognition. In 2018, Vierra was inducted into the Duke Kahanamoku Waterman Hall of Fame. He's achieved multiple Watermen of the Year Awards, one from the highly touted Eddie Aikau event and another with the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association as Hawai'i Lifeguard Waterman of the Year.
In addition to his valuable contributions to his community, Kalani is an accomplished competitor. He has won 1st Place in the 2019 Open Crew Canoe Distance Race at Wailua River, 2nd Place in the 2018 Team Foil Competition at Queens Beach, Waikiki, and 2nd Place in the 2091 SUP Open Foil Division at the first annual Kalapaki Foil Competition. Surfing alongside his daughter, the duo has claimed four Tandem Surfing World Championships. Kalani has also earned great recognition for several victories on outrigger canoe teams in the Master divisions.