The world’s first ever professional surfer of the Pacific is a man named Daniel Kalua. Born in 1955, Daniel Kalua is a living legend. With a face that’s been printed on t-shirts and mugs around the world, this Hawaiian surfing pioneer achieved much in his short life. But what exactly is the story of Daniel Kalua? Born in the small village of Kealia in the Hawaiian Island of Hawaii, Daniel Kalua was raised by his grandparents and great-grandparents. A quiet, unassuming boy, he was naturally drawn to the water and would spend long hours just watching the waves. Although he never learned to surf, Daniel Kalua soon developed a passion for it. However, there wasn’t any surfacing in his home and he had to leave the island to pursue his dream. This is where his story really begins.

Daniel Kalua Goes to Australia

When Daniel Kalua was 15, his family left Kealia and moved to the city of Honolulu. Here, he was able to pursue his love of surfing at a professional level. At the time, surfing was in its infancy in the state of Hawaii. Although there had been attempts to bring the sport to the islands, surfing was almost non-existent when Daniel Kalua was young. By the time he was 18, he had become the first professional surfer to come out of the state of Hawaii.

A year later, in 1976, Daniel Kalua left Hawaii and moved to the Australian city of Perth to compete in the World Professional Surfing Championship. The following year, he returned to the event in California, where he would go on to win the world title.

Later Years

By the time he was 26, Daniel Kalua had already been crowned World Champion and earned a living as a professional surfing the world’s best wave spots. He had also become a father figure to many of the up and coming Hawaiian surfers. However, it was in 1983, at the age of 29, that Daniel Kalua hit his greatest milestone. He became the first person to successfully surf the Lepea, a wave that breaks on a reef off the coast of Waiohue Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Making History

In 1985, at the age of 31, Daniel Kalua became the first person to surf Jaws, the famous wave at Tahiti’s Papeete Beach. It was a massive moment in surfing history as this was longer-distance surfing and the first time that Tahitian surfers had seen someone riding waves so far from land. The following year, at the age of 33, he returned to Papeete to surf Jaws again. This time, he was joined by his brother, Keola. The two of them became the first brothers to surf in the same event at Tahiti.

The Big Break

By the time he was 35, Daniel Kalua had already achieved much in his short surfing career. However, it was at the 1985 Billabong J-Bay Open in South Africa that he received his biggest break. After losing in the quarterfinals, he received a phone call from the Billabong representative who was scouting for new talent. Impressed by his surfing, she offered him a sponsorship deal and a trip to the United States so that he could compete against the best professional surfers in the world.

The Legend Continues

Daniel Kalua continued to make history during his trip to the United States. He became the first person to ever surf the swells at Padre Island, Texas, and the North Beach in California. These were only a few of the many accomplishments that he managed to achieve during his trip. However, the highlight of his career came when he competed in the main event of the J-Bay Open in South Africa. In the final, he faced off against the legendary Kelly Slater. Unfortunately, he lost the final and the title but his performance was nothing short of phenomenal.

Daniel Kalua’s Legacy

Now 73, Daniel Kalua still lives in California and is still going strong. He has managed to achieve much in his life and is a living legend in the surfing world. His legacy continues to grow as more people discover his story.