“I find my inspiration through the old era of surfing, with a hit of automotive influence,” says surfboard shaper Stephen Kupihea. “My goal is to make classic surfboards with a modern touch.” The O‘ahu native has been shaping boards since 2016 and started Hoku Surfboards in 2016. When Kupihea ran into friend and co-founder of resortwear line Kealopiko (kealopiko.com), Jamie Makasobe, while surfing, the clothing designer thought they would make a good match for a collaboration. And so Hoku Surfboards x Kealopiko was born, to the delight of surfers statewide. The eye-catching designs stand out in a sea of lookalike boards with the Native Hawaiian prints Kealopiko is known for paired with the sleek shapes of Kupihea’s handiwork. Kealopiko first makes the fabric in their Moloka‘i-based print shop and ships it back to O‘ahu, where Kupihea chooses which board design will best highlight the fabric and color palette. Each board is made by hand, is one-of-a-kind and can be custom ordered through Kealopiko.
Each one of Stephen Kupihea’s designs using Kealopiko fabrics are unique and one-of-a-kind. PHOTO BY SHANE GRACE