Vanguard University freshman Kiana Fores is catching some waves sponsored by one of the biggest names in surfing. Born and raised on the North Shore of Kauai, she caught her first wave when she was 10 months old and then officially started surfing when she was eight.
Kiana looks to other surfers like Bethany Hamilton and Alana Blanchard for her inspiration, but the most important person is Kiana’s father. “I always looks up to him and wanted to tag along with him on surfing adventures,” Fores said. “As I progressed and fell more in love with the sport and its culture, I started competing and getting pretty serious.”
Kiana entered her first surfing competition when she was 11 years old, where she won 4th place in the Irons Brothers Pinetrees Contest in Kauai.
“I was so nervous! But after the contest I was hooked. It was like a spark. I wanted to try again and again and one day make the finals and win.”
Surfing has and always will be a very big part of Kiana’s life. “There is so much more to surfing that just surfing,” Fores said. “Just being in the ocean and catching waves is so epic. Surfing keeps me sane. When I surf, I have clarity in my life and it just makes me so thankful and appreciative for everything around me. If I could, I would be a mermaid.”
Kiana’s love for surfing drove her to work and train hard. The same dedication and passion led her to excel in surfing competitions and get noticed by O’Neill. Fores has been with O’Neill for about 5 years now. “They picked me up at nationals several summers back. I will never forget that day. It’s been a rad journey which I am so thankful for. It’s a huge blessing. I am so lucky and fortunate to have that support and represent their brand.”
From Hawaii to the shores of California, her love for surfing still remains. Fores said, “I try to surf 3-4 times week. I love surfing new places and new waves, it keeps the adventure going. It’s still a process, but I’m having fun, learning, and adjusting to California life, and I’m stoked to be here.”
Kiana is currently studying communications here at Vanguard and, like most college freshmen, isn’t exactly sure what she wants to do.
“I just want to travel, learn through experiences in the world, take lots of pictures and surf! I’d like to share my passion for surfing with others around the world and help people. I’m just going with the flow for now. Maybe I’ll figure it out. Only God knows.”