Aloha! My name is Krystl Apeles and I grew up on the beautiful Garden Island, Kauai. I have a BA in Apparel Product Design and Merchandise. I am also a professional 3X World Champion Tandem Surfer. The ocean is my biggest inspiration and I want to share the beauty of surf and travel through Puka Surf Co. I design apparel, swimwear, bags, and so much more.
“Rich is the life you live” TM
Puka Surf Co. designed a fully solar powered mobile pop-up shop as a testament to it's mission which is to make and support businesses that bring richness to life. Where true richness is only measured by the quality of our relationship with earth and its resources.
Puka Surf Company is a lifestyle brand promoting water sports, travel, and love for life. Krystl grew up on the Garden Island, Kauai and obtained her Bachelors degree in Apparel Product Design & Merchandise from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2009.
After college she moved to Costa Rica where she worked for $5/hr pattern making (high pay for this country). Life was rustic and simple. A very humbling experience where she barely had enough for rice, beans, and bananas. She felt enlightened and appreciative of life as a whole...which is where she discovered her mantra "rich is the life you live".
After several years of a nomad lifestyle chasing surf and snow, she moved back to Hawaii, but this time to the "big city" Waikiki. There she began designing custom bikinis out of a small studio condo. It bothered her to see that Hawaii bikinis had such a short life due to poor fit and fast fashion. Man made fibers don't break down so she made a commitment to make a better product that would last. Quality, fit, and design were the three main focuses to extend the life and wear of her bikinis. She used remnants from quality swimwear production companies and made sure to use the softest performance linings. The design process also included extensive water testing and technical pattern making before finalization. She also threw bikini parties and got invited to do custom fittings in celebrity mansions. Business didn't blow up but for an solo employee owned business it was sustainable.
After having enough of the city life she finally made it back home to Kauai at the end of 2012. Since moving home she's felt empowered for growth and change. It's her desire to bring change to the maker and retail experience. She sought to achieve balance in creative expression and environmental change through educational empowerment of consumer purchase power.
In 2016 began the journey of Kauai's first solar powered mobile pop-up retail shop. She envisioned something different for Kauai that could speak change. She shared the ideas with her husband, Dan, who fell in love with the idea. He secretly found her a 1968 Airstream on the mainland and had it shipped to Nawiliwili.
This began a new journey for Puka Surf Co. Dan has a Masters degree in Renewable energy and took the airstream in as a passion project. He incorporated the solar design and installation with the classes he taught at Kauai Community College. He even took classes in welding to properly install the solar panels and make other improvements. Gregory Wall their hanai brother was a master wood worker and did the design and build of the floors and shelving. Kelly Keane is a talented artist who painted a beautiful mural within the airstream. Over the course of 3 years family and friends offered their help to polish, paint, and help in bringing it to life. With little capital it took some time and there were several unforeseen obstacles. But finally in 2019 the airstream retail was a reality.
They say it's not always about the final destination, but all the twist and turns of the entire journey. This is true for the airstream project. They had learned so much and feel it's inspired others along the way to see and be the change that's needed in the world.
In 2020 Puka Surf Co. seeks to expand as an incubation source for other creative makers. To spark change through the maker and retail relationship that promotes sustainable practices of Kauai resources.
Imua and help be a part of keeping aloha alive in Kauai.