By Andrea Swayne
Age: 14, Shorecliffs Middle School
Kei Kobayashi is one of the most promising young surfers in the area. Already a talented aerialist, as his skills progress, his potential becomes more and more apparent. This season’s victories have included a string of wins in the Volcom Qualifying Series at Ponto, Huntington Beach Pier and Pismo Beach Pier. He is currently ranked No. 1 in the VQS in the Groms division. Kei also ranks among the Top 10 in the Surfing America Prime series and finished third in Boys U16, February 9 and 10 at Upper Trestles.
His goal for the remainder of the season is to break into the Top 5 and continue his quest toward becoming a member of the PacSun USA Surf Team.
“I’d really love to be a part of the team but it’s a really hard goal and you just have to work your way there,” he said. “So I’m just going to keep surfing my best, keep a good vibe and wait for my time to come.”
Kei also credits his continued success to the coaching of older brother Shaw. In school Kei is an ‘A’ and ‘B’ student whose favorite subject—despite also being his most challenging—is math. Looking further into the future, Kei says he will pursue a career as a professional surfer followed by a second career teaching underprivileged kids to surf.
“I want to bring surfing to kids who might not otherwise have the opportunity, because it’s the most fun sport and I know that they will love it,” Kei said.