Archie Kalepa currently serves as Cultural Advisor for the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association, and is among a very limited group of people that have won the Quicksilver Eddie Aikau Waterman of the Year Award, and an even smaller group that has been honored by being inducted into the Duke Kahanamoku Waterman Hall of Fame.
Always a man of the sea (as many Hawaiians are), Archie does it all – surfing, big wave surfing, windsurfing, and excelled in the Tandem Surfing World Championships. He has regularly surfed the enormous waves of “Jaws” at Peahi on Maui, a world famous surfing locale, and many other big wave spots in Hawaii, and elsewhere. Archie joined the HLA at age 20, served the group for 31 years, and remains very much involved to this day. As a HLA Cultural Advisor, he works to ensure the lifeguards stay true to the beliefs of the Hawaiian Lifeguard Culture, and helps to guide the organization into the future.
Archie also works with the Polynesian Voyaging Society, a program that began in 1976 with the first voyage of the Hokule’a from Hawaii to Tahiti, throughout the Polynesian Triangle and back to Hawaii. The voyage proved that ancient cultures were capable of using celestial navigation for ocean travel and migration, and could then trace migration patterns from Polynesia to Hawaii. The sailors must be keenly aware of their surroundings and learn to read the waves, swells and distance between waves as they navigate this unique vessel while becoming more and more aquainted with Malama Honua (Mother Nature). This is no ordinary ship; it was built with no screws or nails, and in fact is built with timber lashed together with ropes, as it would have been built long ago. A greater mission was conceived and begun in May, 2014 – to prove such a vessel could circumnavigate the globe. The trip was divided into segments, and the round the world venture came to an end when the boat sailed back to Hawaii in June, 2017. Archie had the honor of captaining this vessel from Galapagos to Rapanui (Easter Island). Add this to his long list of accomplishments.