Who Is Puka Surf?
Pauly Chambers is 36 and grew up in South Carolina. Surfing in South Carolina can be good but it doesn’t compare to Hawaii. At the age of 24 Pauly moved to Hawaii to follow his dreams of riding perfect waves in the perfect climate. While living in Hawaii, Pauly was introduced to tandem surfing, and to his beautiful partner Krystl Apeles.
Krystl Apeles is 25 and grew up on Kauai, The Garden Island. Majoring in fashion design and merchandise she graduated from the University of Hawaii in 2009 as a member of the International Golden Key Honour Society. She founded Puka Surf Co. orginally for her beachwear clothing designs and has traveled worldwide gaining knowledge, experience, and inspiration for her future collections.
The History Behind Puka
In the beginning they met as friendly competitors in Hawaii. It was tandem love at first sight, but they played hard to get for over a year. When Pauly realized Krystl was not interested in a date he helped her get an internship designing beachwear in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, where he resided at the time. Krystl flew over in June 2009 giving the new formed team a few months to train for the first contest kicking off the Tandem Surf World Tour in August 2009. Costa Rica provided great training ground with consistent waves and no crowd. One struggle however was that a tandem board was non-existent. Thankfully there were a grand total of 2 Standup Paddle boards in town. No one knew what stand-up was or how to use it. This became their first tandem board and would have to beg the surf shacks to allow them to train on it. The board was 11’x29"x4”, not meant for tandem, but they felt blessed to have a board.
When they arrived back in Hawaii in July 2009 the realization sank in that they would be competing for the first time together against the world famous waterman Brian Keaulana and his long time partner Kathy Terrada. They were fortunate enough to meet Steve Cranston who let them use the brand new version of the magic…yes SUP board…they used in Costa Rica. Pauly described it as a moment in time he will never forget. “It was like Christmas. I never opened a brand new board right from the box,” he said. With their new vehicle the determined couple practiced 2-3 times a day and took short naps under the shady coconut trees of Waikiki beach. Pure heart and determination resulted in 2nd place overall for their first ITSA Tandem 2009 World Tour followed by another 2nd place in 2011 World Tour.
Along their journey they have had great support from sponsors like Shaka Laka, and Infinity Surfboards. They are especially proud to ride for the Infinity team, aka Steve and Barrie Boehne. Steve and Barrie were world champions in tandem surfing and have shared valuable advice. “They are like our tandem parents,” say Pauly and Krystl. Steve is a great shaper who custom shaped their very first tandem board. He is a master at his art and with his personal tandem experience he made this team the perfect board. “Without the love and support both financial and emotional from our sponsors we could not have lived our dream” says Krystl.
Traveling for contests is a very large expense and they hope to find a sponsorship that can help them continue to compete. Until then they look to share the stoke of surfing and reviving the ancient Hawaiian sport through Puka Surf Co.