Interview: Kalani Robb
It's hard to believe that Kalani Robb is 35. He barely looks 25. Considering he was part of the Momentum Generation you'd think he was older, but as Ross Williams said, "Kalani was the young grom of our group. We were pretty easy on him."
As of late, Robb has been without a main sponsor. He took a step back from professional surfing for a couple of years, but has decided to get serious about his surfing again. He and his young family spent quite a bit of time on the North Shore this past winter during the Triple Crown season, and he's currently living in Orange County, putting his time in at Lowers. Here's what he had to say about it all:
You got married last year and have a new baby girl. That's great to hear. You must be happy?
Yeah, I met my beautiful wife and we had our daughter Kealani about a year ago. I have the new and improved me coming out in my daughter! (Laughs)
Do you miss living in Hawaii, now that you're in SoCal? Do you expect to live there again at some point?
I'll always be coming back and forth, spending winters in Hawaii and summer in Cali following the seasonal swells and warm water.
Let's talk surfing. A lot of people thought you were over surfing professionally a while back because you started working with charities and non-profits full time. Is that true or not? Were you burned out or ... what was going on?
It was a mix. I was traveling and on tour at a very early age, the youngest kid to be on tour at the time, and I got a little burned out after 12 or 15 years on tour. I was getting tired of the competitive side. I rode for Fox and Hurley, which was really good, more of a lifestyle type sponsorship instead of competing, which worked really good for me.
Then I took a couple years off from doing competition and trips to do work with kids, teaching them to surf, working with various charities and non-profit programs. I felt like it was time to give back and use my name to promote giving back to the ones in need. I started working with kids with genetic disorders, wounded vets, and children with autism. I was helping teach them how to surf all across America.
You were one of the most gifted kids who got an unbelievable amount of attention, money and expectations at a very young age. People expected you to be a world champion. That's harder to deal with than many people realize, a lot of pressure, even if it is a dream job?
Yeah, well, it's good pressure. You want the pressure, it's needed to win. There really isn't a better job out there. To be a pro surfer, travel the world, surf the best waves in the right seasons, hang on the beach with your friends, have great times... I'm very appreciative of what I've been able to do and definitely wouldn't take back anything. I've had so much success and to be here today is very lucky.
Before you left to go to Hawaii for the Triple Crown, you said you wanted to surf Pipe every day. Rumors have it that you're still one of the most talented Pipe surfers. Not many people realize that. Would you like to get a shot at surfing in the Pipe Masters again? Or is that not important to you?
Yeah, I would love to get in. It would be nice to get in the Pipe event somehow and mix it up with the boys and get Pipe uncrowded.
Who are your sponsors now?
GoPro, Channel Island surf boards, SolShop.com, which is a online surf shop, Eco Sun Screen, Corona Del Mar Pedego Electric Bicycle Shop, and Authorityinteractive.com, who host all my online activities and created Kalanirobb.tv.com
What are your goals right now?
Well, right now it would be to lock down a solid clothing sponsor that revolves more around lifestyle branding rather than competitive surfing. I still mix it up in the Hollywood scene a lot, so I'll stay on doing movies and commercial work. I just got done filming a Pacifico commercial with Taylor Steele directing it. It was great being able to film with him again.
GoPro is putting together a team trip later this year, so I'm looking forward to surfing with my buddies Kelly [Slater] and Sunny [Garcia], who also ride for GoPro, and get great photos and video. Riding for GoPro is a great for me, to be with such a big and growing company that revolves around photos/videos of trips and lifestyle. I want to show people that I still can rip, and not just by doing contests. I need to show that in other ways, so that's a good opportunity with GoPro.
Surfing to me is not only a sport, it's my lifestyle and my goal is to surf for as long as I can, and share my love of the ocean with my daughter and family.