Getting to Know Kai Sallas, the Newest Team Member at Thunderbolt Tech
Since we are located in Town, the crew here at Hawaiian South Shore has always been fans of the local shredders—from legends like Buttons and Gerry Lopez to young upstarts like Seth Moniz. But one name that has always stood out for us in the longboarding scene is Kai Sallas.
A local boy through and through, Kai grew up on the beach at Waikiki, where his dad was a beach boy. Kai’s early surf experiences involved bodyboarding at The Wall, but when he was 10 he grabbed a rental board from his dad’s beach quiver and paddled out to Canoes. From there, he never looked back.
At 12 years old, Kai got his first custom board and entered contests local break, the Gold’s Gym Contest at Queens. He ended up making the podium in that contest, and from there, things just got better. Looking up to Hawaiian power brokers like Russ K, Bonga Perkins, and Dino Miranda, Kai quickly learned to match strength with high-performance longboarding, and soon took his act to the North Shore.
In his 20s, Kai sent a highlight reel to legendary shaper Donald Takayama, and shortly thereafter became a team rider for Donald’s label Hawaiian Pro Designs. There, Kai started collaborating with ghost shaper Tommy Moss, and together the two dialed in a couple of Takayama’s models to fit Kai’s weight and surfing.
Kai went on to establish himself as one of the world’s best longboarders. He won the ISA world championships in 2018 and placed 3rdand 2ndon the WSL Longboard World Tour in 2017 and 2018 respectively. With his reputation firmly cemented, he then teamed up with Tommy Moss to bring their board designs to the world. The two teamed up with Yu Sumitomo from Thunderbolt Tech, and the rest, as they say, is history!
KAI SALLAS LONGBOARDS
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