Balancing school and surfing, Kiana Fores still manages to put a smile on anyone’s face.
Fores is a junior at PLNU majoring in communications with a mi- nor in sustainability. She transferred last spring after attending Vanguard University in Orange County, realizing that she drove to San Diego every weekend to surf and visit friends. Since her parents were PLNU alumni she decided to apply.
“Yeah it’s expensive, but I think happiness is priceless. I’m more happy down here, and I get to see the ocean every day,” said Fores.
As a professional surfer, Fores has travelled the world and lived the hid- den, nomadic life that comes along with professional surfing.
“There’s so many things that the world does not see that these [professionals] go through: travelling mishaps, boards not coming, language barriers,” Fores said. “It’s cool though- it’s literally my dream. But for now, [it is] school, surfing and trying to make people smile every day.”
But Fores chooses to be titled as an ambassador of the sport rather than a professional. O’Neill and Sanuk are Fores’ main sponsors, which all started when she was fifteen years old. Fores met with O’Neill to start her sponsor- ship after losing the semi-finals at the USA Championships.
“That was like a dream come true for sure. I’m not really a go-getter type of person,” Fores said. “I wasn’t always emailing sponsors to sponsor me or anything. I’ve just always thought if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be and life will bring you there or push you in that direction.”
Competing with PLNU’s surf team has made Fores not feel alone while balancing school and surfing. The first contest of the year for the NSSA southwest college season was at Blacks October 24 and 25. Fores came in first place out of the women’s short board division.
“Winning Blacks was really special for me because Blacks is one of my fa- vorite surf spots in San Diego,” said Fores. “I surf there frequently, and I wasn’t going to let any girl in my heat show me up at my favorite spot.”
Fores has refused to remove her- self from the Pacific Ocean, coming from Hawaii to California. Having grown up on a beautiful island known as Kauai, Kiana has found another passion outside of surfing: conserving and loving the environment.
Close to earning her BA degrees, Fores wants to focus solely on school. Fores still competes in small contests for enjoyment, but she does not compete as much as she used to.
“I just chose a different route. I definitely dream about giving [the world tour] another shot because I did invest so much time in surfing and competing. But for now, my main focus is graduating,” she said.