Around the World With … Pro Surfer Kaipo Guerrero
Beginner and expert swells. Swells with no sharks. And beer.
This is Around the World With, a series in which we ask very well-traveled people about the destinations they like best. Happy jetsetting.
Kaipo Guerrero isn’t just a broadcaster for the World Surf League — he also was a member.
For about five years, the former Hawaii state champ and NSSA open champ competed in the WSL before, at the age of 24, he quit pro surfing to work for one of his sponsors.
That time in the corporate world was all well and good, but Guerrero’s love for the water eventually brought him back to the beach and the Waikiki-taught waverunner has been traveling the globe for the WSL for work and surfing on his own for pleasure ever since.
And, it’s also worth noting, Guerrero found time to meet, greet and have a rumored-about romance with Madonna after she came to Hawaii for a Rolling Stone shoot in ‘85 and he then allegedly flew out to join her world tour in Japan. “It’s such an old story,” he says. “I was a kid.”
For all those reasons and more, we thought Guerrero would be a great person to ask about where he likes to go to dine on Hawaiian food, catch a killer wave and avoid a killer shark.
From his mouth to your ears, here’s the best place in the world to …
Take an inexperienced surfer: “I would have to say here at home, in Oahu. We have waves for all levels of surfers and once you progress, there are lots of challenging waves, as well! There’s no better way to end the day surfing at home than with some great food, and an ice-cold beer.”
Take an experienced surfer: “As a surfer, I’m always chasing adventure and the next big swell. Mentawai Islands in Indonesia have an incredible variety of really good waves and lots of consistent swells. It’s just beautiful. No matter who I’m with, I like to end the day on the beach with an ice-cold beer. My beer of choice is Pacifico, so I always make sure to bring a six-pack with me to any gathering.”
Surf outside of the U.S.: “I’m always traveling around the world in the name of surfing, and really enjoy exploring new parts of the world especially where no one’s been before. I will say that I love the passionate beach culture of Brazil. Portugal is also one my favorite places. There are beautiful beaches and a coastline which features reef breaks, beach breaks, points, and of course great waves. I love Portugal’s food, history, nice people and the fact that there are no sharks.”
Go if you want to risk a shark attack: “When I surf, I try to make sure that I am in as safe of a surrounding as I can be. You can’t control the ocean but I definitely won’t be jumping into murky water or right after a rainstorm, which are key times for sharks.”
Have a steak: “Chart House in Waikiki. I love Joey’s famous garlic steak.”
Eat something you can’t get anywhere else: “The fried chicken and kalua pig is outstanding an Pono Market in Kapa’a on the island of Kaua’i.”
Sample your favorite Hawaiian delicacy: “I love, love, love Laulau, a traditional Hawaiian dish where pork and fish are wrapped in taro leaves and steamed.”
Catch a sunset: “Makaha Beach in Oahu. The sunsets over the water are incredible all year long.”
Broadcast a WSL event from: “Tahiti is an incredible location. The waves there are considered some of the heaviest in the world. The floatilla of boats anchored in the deep channel right next to the wave is a scene like no other.”
Go after a surfing event: “After a long day announcing a WSL competition, I like to celebrate with everyone who participated in the surf and kick back with an ice-cold beer because at the end of the day everyone’s won in some way. It’s great because everyone involved in the competition gets to celebrate because at the end of a successful event, everyone feels like they won in some way.”
Interact with the locals even if you aren’t one: “Definitely the Side Street Inn on Kapahulu Ave in Oahu.”
Surf in a wave pool: “I surfed the first-generation wave pool in competition at Wild Rivers in 1990. The modern wave pool technology that is currently being unveiled is incredible.”
Go to find inspiration: “I find most of my inspiration when I am on my surfboard. Whether it’s catching a great wave or sitting on the beach watching them crash on shore, being in nature and by the water really inspires me.”
Go to now that you wouldn’t have enjoyed when you were younger: “I’m always craving adventure and new experiences. When I was younger, all I knew was the water so now and again I love going to the mountains for a new perspective.”