Brian Keaulana

Brian Keaulana

Some refer to Brian as one of the greatest watermen on the planet.

He grew up on the beach at Makaha where he learned about surfing, diving and water safety from his father, legendary waterman and big-wave rider Buffalo Keaulana, who was the Lifeguard Captain there – this beach was their backyard and the ocean their playground. Brian became known for surfing the biggest waves in Hawaii, was a regular competitor in Big Wave surf contests, and went on to become Lifeguard Captain for the West Side of Oahu. He is credited with developing new approaches to water safety in big surf and invented the equipment to support it, was the first to use the jet ski in water rescue operations, and invented the rescue sled that the ski tows. This alone would be a remarkable legacy. Brian collected more than 500 trophies by the time he was 20 and more than 1000 trophies over the years. He’s been invited to and participated in more than 30 Eddie Aikau Big Wave surf contests on Oahu’s North Shore, famous for its huge waves. He has surfed in the ISL, ASP and WSL. He won the ISA tandem surfing world championship in 2006.

Like Archie, ​Brian is ​among the very small group of people that has won both the Quicksilver Eddie Aikau Waterman of the Year Award AND the Duke Kahanamoku Waterman Hall of Fame. Brian spends his life in the ocean and participates in every imaginable type of water activity including big wave riding, t​andem surfing, jet ski, hydro foiling, tandem surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, bodysurfing, canoe surfing, paddling, Polynesian canoe sailing, diving, scuba diving, kayaking, power boating, fishing, and ocean survival training (underwater survival and self defense training) and any other water activity you can think of.

While stand-up paddle boarding has existed for many years, he and his business partner are credited with commercializing this sport, making it available for the public when they launched their C4 Waterman brand of paddleboards. Brian is very much an entrepreneur, involved in many businesses, among them C4 Waterman (stand-up paddleboards where he designed and created a line of new ocean recreation products), Iwaterman (government and military consulting, training military units and lifeguards around the world) and Honokea (design, build and operate surf resorts around the world to bring the joy of surfing to a wider audience). But, his primary vocation today is in the film and TV industry, ever since he was hired as a consultant for the film Waterworld in 1995. After this, the film industry embraced him and seeks him out as their go-to expert on all things water related. He has worked in various capacities (acting, assistant director, producer, crew, and is the go-to stunt man for Hollywood’s most dangerous water stunts) on more than 50 films and television shows, and currently works on Hawaii Five-0 regularly.

Among Brian’s accomplishments, he received the Medal of Valor Award, 1990 HLSA Sportsman of the Year, and was honored as a selected participant in the 1996 Olympics running of the torch, but perhaps his single greatest achievement is that he has been recognized as THE person to bring personal watercraft into the lifeguard world as a means of saving people much faster, especially in very difficult conditions and big surf. With this, the Hawaiian Lifeguard organization became the model for how all other lifeguard organizations around the world function today.