By Jake Howard
Last week, the surf world lost the legendary Hawaiian surfer and shaper Ben Aipa. In his life, Aipa touched countless lives with the boards he built, his caring nature and ever-present smile. And now, his legacy lives on in his sons Akila and Duke, who continue to craft beautiful surfboards and embody the spirit of aloha.
This week’s Grom of the Week, 15-year-old Bryse Celaya, is also part of that tradition. A freshman at San Clemente High, Celaya’s surf dreams are supported by the Aipa ohana.
“Duke has treated me like a son all these years, and I can’t imagine how he must feel on the loss of his dad, Ben Aipa. I owe them so much and will continue to honor him in the water every day,” Celaya said.
A valued member of the Triton surf team, Celaya can usually be found at dawn patrolling T-Street with his pals and former Groms of the Week Tyrone Fomenko and Dane Matson, the latter of whom is also bandmates with Celaya in the local group Haze.
And when there’s snow, Celaya takes to the mountains. Working ski operations at Snow Valley Ski Resort, he also finds plenty of time to sneak away for a few runs.
No doubt, Ben Aipa’s looking down on Celaya and his buddies and smiling right now.
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