It’s been a rough couple of months for all of us, and what we could all use right about now is a good old-fashioned barrel fest. While the majority of us might not be able to jet-set to perfect tubes , it’s comforting to know that we can still live vicariously through those who were chasing perfection before the whole COVID-19 thing locked us down.
Keahi de Aboitiz has chased more barrels over the past few years than just about anyone, traveling virtually full time and stylishly packing pits on all manner of surf craft, from kites and SUPS to traditional surfboards. With Keahi poised to release an edit named (appropriately) Tunnel Vision, we sat down with him to see how he’s been coping with being grounded, and how he has handled the transition from tour competitor to free surfer.
Get tunnel vision in Fiji HERE
How have you been surviving the COVID-19 lockdown? Where have you been, and what has your program been?
Thankfully I've been in Hawaii the past few months, where we had a great run of late season swell to keep busy. Also lucky that Hawaii had pretty limited cases, which meant relaxed restrictions, so I've been able to spend a lot of time in the water. It's been kind of nice to have no real schedule and just enjoy some down time over here. We are coming into summer now over here, but with kiting and foiling there's still plenty of fun to be had to stay busy.
With things starting to open up again, are you frothing to hit the road? Anywhere in particular you’d like to chase?
I'm definitely keen to start doing some trips again when possible, but might just stick with some options closer to home for now. I kind of like the idea of getting back home to Australia when I can, and exploring some of the slabs around there. I think there's a lot of potential to kite some of the heavier slabs in Australia.
Seems like you have had no shortage of barrels in your life lately. Tell us a bit about your film project.
At the end of 2018, after spending most of my career following the kitesurfing tour, I wanted to do something a little different. I decided to step away from the tour, and wanted to focus more of that time and money on chasing some of the better swells around, and documenting them properly.
Growing up as a surfer, I've always felt that kitesurfing is the perfect extension of surfing
Growing up as a surfer, I've always felt that kitesurfing is the perfect extension of surfing, and wanted to create something that showcased just that. It's a great way to maximize the chances of scoring on trips (even if it’s windy), and it’s also an amazing tool to have at some of the shiftier and heavier waves I've been chasing. Tunnel Vision is an action-heavy film documenting what I've been up to the last couple years, highlighting my love for barrels and showing the similarities between the sports that I have grown to love.
What were some of the most satisfying parts of making the film? The biggest challenges?
I think that, as with any swell-chasing mission, the biggest challenges come from the logistics and trying to put all the pieces in motion in a short amount of time. I definitely had my share of missed connections, damaged boards and stressful/tiring journeys, but having it all come together on some of those trips was extremely satisfying! A couple of those sessions have gone down as the best of my life, and will keep the stoke going for awhile. Overall, I'm just really stoked to see this project come to life and have something to remember those experiences by.
Tunnel Vision will be released on June 23, for more information, go HERE