Member of the Month is our VIP member, Kyle Lee
This month’s Member of the Month is our VIP member, Kyle Lee. He comes into the shop full of positive energy you all can feel, it’s contagious and we love it!
In the past few months, he’s picked up a few Thunderbolt Technology boards. He’s given us several video reviews that we’ve posted on Social media. It’s awesome because after seeing the reviews, others picked up the board and are stoked because of Kyle’s review.
When and why did you initially get into surfing?
As far as I can remember, 1965-1970, my dad took me fishing with him almost daily. He taught me to whip for Moi, and I became as good as my dad. I could not fish for more than 2 or 3 hours at a time, so I started to go into the water whenever I had enough fishing. I did not know then that I was learning something that would get me through 60+ years of my life. I was attracted to the feeling of the ocean, surfing at Bellows with two of my friends while my dad fished. That led to daily desires to get to, Kaiko’s and Diamond Head, or body surfing at Sandy’s or Makapu, or the North Shore, Ehukai and Pipeline. To put in one sentence, I was guided by a higher power to feel the best feeling I have ever experienced; Surfing Nature, Energy, Life’s stresses all released and pure stoke in the end. Wanting more and more and growing to accept less, with more quality.
Did you have a time period you laid off from surfing?
If so, when and why did you start back up?
Yes, somewhere around 1980, I was about to get arrested for the lifestyle I was choosing, I was a product of Vietnam and Woodstock. I moved to Fairfield, CA. and ended up joining the Air Force in 1984. At the most, I stopped surfing for 4 years during that period.
What is your favorite thing about surfing?
The feeling of being absorbed by nature, 4-6’ + anywhere it is firing. I caught the best Tennis courts in the past 45 years, this past October. All about enjoying the energy. And after surfing, having a few beers to relax and dull the physical pain acquired by surfing 6-8 hours. I’m so blessed, thank you.
Where is your favorite place to eat after surfing? What is your favorite item on the menu?
Things change all the time, but right now, I ask my girlfriend, Helene Phillips, the First Female to retire for Ocean Safety Lifeguards, with 31+ years of service. Sushi at Yanagi’s or Kabuki’s in Waimalu. If I’m closer to the Counter at Kahala Mall, we’ll go there, where I build my own Hamburger salad, with option of bison or Mahi. If I’m on the North shore, it’s Haleiwa Joe’s for their Tenderloin Steak salad. Rock and Roll Sushi used to be my alternate go to. No matter where you end up, food taste so good after surfing.
What other hobbies do you have besides surfing?
I enjoy Diving, Free diving, Scuba diving with HFD Rescue for 18 + years, spearing fish for the Boy’s at the station to supplement our meals. And HFD Rescue personnel are really good at this. Snorkeling with Helene looking for seashells anywhere I can find them. I can send you the video of all 20 years shell collecting. And fishing, which I plan to pursue more often when I cannot physically surf. I also enjoy running and working out to keep in shape.
What type of work do you do?
Right now, I am currently working at Bellows AFS in Waimanalo as a Head Lifeguard. I retired from the Honolulu Fire Department in 2017 after 32 years of service. I spent my last 18 years there working on Rescue 2.
Tell us about the board(s) you recently purchased from us.
What model and size are it, and how do you like its performance?
I purchased 2 HI Carbon Diamond Drives a few months ago, a 9’2” and a 9’1”. Helene and I liked both of these boards. I have not tried the 9’1” which she is very happy with. Both boards are fast and responsive. After liking these boards so much, I purchased 2 Ben Skinner Carbon boards. Both 9’1”, the Blender for myself and the Smoothie for Helene. They both are as good as the diamond drives, and better in bigger waves. I then purchased a HIHP 9’1” Carbon rounded square, which I’m using regularly now. It is also an excellent board. After riding my first Tolhurst, I started selling my other boards so I could get more Tolhurst. All of these boards would be mine, but Helene absolutely enjoys surfing hers. They are not cheap, but they are Performers. I ordered a 9’1” Carbon HI4, and that will probably be the bomb also, lyk. PS, I set them all up with HI thruster fins.
Do you have any additional comments?
Thank You Albert Dove, Gerry Lopez, Ben Aipa, Reno Abillira, Mitsu, and especially Barry Kanaiaupuni for all the boards I have enjoyed and will continue to ride. Thank Jeannie Chesser for the airbrush jobs. Thank you Ezra, Derrick, Kapono for recommending Tolhurst. These boards won’t make you a better surfer, but I think you will Enjoy the Ride!!!