INTERVIEW: Vertra 5: Kekoa “BAM” Bacalso… Get to know @kekoabacalso
Kekoa grew up surfing the humble waves of the South Shore at Barber’s Point with good buddy Joel Centeio. At a very young age everyone could tell already that Kekoa had the skills to make it to the big show (ASP World Tour).
Kekoa was the smaller of the Menehunes growing up but his personality was larger than life! And although a few years younger than what are now his current peers Centeio, Moody, FreddyP and Batz; back then, as the grom of the group, Kekoa had to push his surfing extra hard to be on the same level as this older crew that he looked up to so much. He quickly grew bigger and stronger and so did his surfing, thus being dubbed BAM. Most peers and media believe that the fond nickname was derived from that little, chubby baby from the Flintstones cartoon that always packed a big punch – BamBam. And Kekoa, being 12 or 13 at the time and viewed as the “baby” of the group made the story appropriate. But his older “brothers” always knew what BAM was an acronym for “Bad Ass Motherf**ker.” The boys knew he was so good at such a young age that it was the best and only way to describe Kekoa’s character and surfing… and that has remains true to this day.
After beating Kelly Slater at man sized Sunset at the age of 16 his surfing really started to take off. Kekoa went on to win the prestigious ASP World Junior Title in 2006 which gave him the confidence needed to tackle the grueling World Qualifying Series. Then in 2009 he qualified for the Elite Top 44 of the ASP World Tour. With a string of solid results on his first year on tour Kekoa was awarded the prestigious Rookie of the Year title with an 18th Place finish that season.
Most of those who follow the ASP tour know what happened after that. A shortened ASP re-qualification season and several bad heats left him off the tour at the end of 2010 and without a major sponsor. But according to BAM he has grown to appreciate all of his accomplishments along with the lessons that the struggle has taught him along the way. Today, with his “never give up” attitude, he is more motivated and thankful for every opportunity provided to him. According to his peers; Kekoa is surfing the best he ever has. He’s been slaying gnarly Haleiwa, owning Off The Wall and Backdoor and doing double duty with the Rip Curl groms by showing them the ropes on the North Shore by teaching them invaluable lessons that could benefit their careers in the long run. Keep your eyes out for more from Mililani’s finest.
Kekoa’s Sponsors: Rip Curl, Town and Country, Vertra, Ronin Eyewear, Famous Accessories
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For the full interview, visit http://vertra.com/?p=6097