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Keahi de Aboitiz and the Art of Getting Barreled a Million Different Ways

Put aside your bias for a moment. Forget that your 5'10", 28-liter thruster is the best and only tool to use in the ocean. Simply consider style. The art of making the difficult look pristinely easy. If you do that, then you could watch Keahi de Aboitiz and appreciate his effortless grace in heaving waves – on any type of equipment. Yes he's proven himself on traditional sticks. But the ease with which he moves using any tool is what's to be honored here. And that is more than evident in his new film, Tunnel Vision. As the title suggests, he gets plenty of that, while showing off that effortlessness of his. I caught up with the newly-inked Patagonia athlete as he released his latest work to the masses.

Tell us about the film.

It's the culmination of what I've been working on over the last couple years after leaving the kitesurfing tour to focus more on chasing the better swells around the world. Growing up as a surfer, I've always felt that kitesurfing is the perfect extension of surfing and wanted to create something that showcased that. For me, my kite has become a tool that turns those windy sessions into a whole new world of fun. Tunnel Vision is an action-heavy film that highlights my love for barrels and shows the similarities between sports that I've grown to love. Most of the footage is shot over the last couple years in Australia, Hawaii and a couple locations in Africa as well.

How has it been during this whole crazy pandemic, making it as a pro? Where have you spent quarantine?

Thankfully I've been able to spend this time in Hawaii where we've still been able to get on the water and in a way it's been a nice change to enjoy some downtime and explore some more stuff closer to home. It's definitely the longest I've spent in one place for awhile now. It's also good having all the other options like kiting and foiling coming into summer here so it's been pretty easy to keep busy

Was this film a way to get people's minds off it?

Not necessarily but if it does, that's great. Thankfully it seems like people are slowly emerging from their quarantines and can get back on the water in a lot of places so hopefully it psyches them up to get back out there or encourages them to try something new. Kitesurfing is a pretty great way to escape the crowd and socially distance so maybe it's something worth getting into for more people, too?

Are you still competing? 

After competing on the kitesurfing tour for about eight years, I decided to take a break to focus more on chasing swells. That's actually how this whole thing came about. With most of the competitions located around Europe and not always in the best conditions, it made sense to focus that time and energy on something a little different. Now I'm really stoked with the result. I do like the idea of doing some of the select wave competitions in the future but it looks like everything might be on hold involving traveling for a little while still.

You're from Noosa originally, right? Where are you living?

Yep, originally from Noosa and grew up there, but these days I spend my time bouncing back and forth between Noosa and Oahu. My mum is originally from Hawaii and my girlfriend lives there too so it's a pretty easy second home. Wintertime is amazing and normally I'm back in Oz now, but ended up stuck in Hawaii this year with everything going on. Not that that's a bad thing, though.

How much time are you spending between the kite and just regular surfing these days?

For me it just all depends on the conditions. My favorite thing to do is still surf those perfect days, but with kiting and all the other sports I do, it allows me to have more fun in so many different types of conditions. Right now in Hawaii I'm doing a lot more foiling and kiting but that will change again as the season changes.

Who helped you with the film?

This was a project I worked on mainly with my long-time sponsor Cabrinha with some help from Patagonia, who I just got picked up by last year. It's edited by a good friend of mine, Anders Kruger, who's done a lot of amazing work in the kite industry with some epic films over the years. It took some time, but I'm really happy with the result.

What's next?

Guess we'll see, but for now focusing on some things closer to home and staying busy with all the sports I do. Once things open up, I'm pretty keen to explore some more of the heavier slabs with a kite as its a great way to tackle some of those waves. It's pretty nice having the option for both kiting and surfing on trips because it makes it a lot harder to get skunked.

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