Kelia Moniz is the reigning ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion, and she’s set to become a familiar face in mainstream surf media.
But Kelia Moniz is more than just a pretty face, she’s got surfing in the blood and can put her toes on the nose or smack the lip with any stick. The future’s bright for Kelia and for women’s longboarding.
Surfing in the blood
Kelia’s father is Tony Moniz. He’s respected worldwide as a big wave rider and has surfed professionally for 30 years. In 1991 Tony coached the prestigious Hawaii World Amateur Team and he’s been a perennial invitee to the Quicksilver Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational. Tony now runs the family business ‘Faith Surf School’ in Oahu.
Kelia began surfing at the age of five but her father never pushed her to surf, and she didn’t get her own board until she was 10.
Kelia was lucky enough to live, hangout and get educated on the beach in Oahu – as Kelia was home schooled with her four brothers. This meant when the waves were good, she did her work the night before and went surfing early the next morning with her family.
Long and the short of it
Kelia is the Queen of longboarding but she also rips on a shortboard. Admittedly she’s spent most her life riding longboards, but added a shortboard to her quiver to compete with her brothers.
Kelia’s career with sponsors Roxy began at 13 as a shortboarder, but that was short lived and she rejoined Roxy at 16 as a longboarder.
When she was 15, Kelia achieved a second place finish in the Roxy Jam Honolulu on a longboard, and a first place finish at the NSSA High School Nationals on a shortboard.
In November last year Kelia beat Chelsea Williams in the Swatch Girls Pro in China and was crowned ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion, aged 19.
Kelia Moniz is the product of a fabulous family recipe with Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and Irish ingredients, but her first name is actually Greek and it means “beautiful.”
Roxy no doubt recognised Kelia’s style, grace and beauty are kind to the camera, both in and out of the water. With an infectious and dazzling smile, a dancer’s poise and energy, and all the sauce and sexiness of a swimsuit model – Kelia is the complete package.
If she knows it, she don’t show it. Recently asked by ‘Gurl magazine’: do you ever get self-conscious about your body?
Kelia answered: “I just think that there’s Photoshop, and if I look really bad, I know that photographers will use Photoshop to make me look good. It helps”.
The future’s bright
Despite her exceptional ascent to surf stardom, Kelia remains humble and grounded. As a local girl cruising around Oahu, her friends holler ‘sista’ (her childhood nickname) and she stops to hug and greet them all.
In her Dad’s era, Kelia saw how female surfers trying to compete “had to be agro and butch to be up-to-snuff”. But she’s eager to show the beauty and grace that exists in surfing. When the competing is over, Kelia aspires to be a designer for Roxy.
In summary, I wholly concur with the closing statement on Kelia’s Tumblr blog: Known as the “Princess of Hawaii,” Kelia effortlessly embodies the qualities of a Roxy girl and is sure to be a role model to the next generation of surfer girls.
Here’s a more visual tribute to Kelia’s talent: