Cheyne Kalai

Cheyne Kalai

Instagram: @cheynekalai

Location: Oahu, Hawaii

Interests: I live on a rock surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. Needless to say, my life revolves around a love for the ocean—from surfing, diving, fishing, rock running, and lots more. These are the things that I love and do everyday. I’m also very passionate about my job working as a photographer on a shark tour boat. Our tours are far from the ordinary excursions where people keep a substantial distance between themselves and the sharks. Instead, our shark tours take people on cage-free pelagic dives off the coast of the North Shore, Oahu.

Perfect day: Swim with sharks. Eat. Surf. Eat. Volleyball. Eat. Beer. That actually happens a lot!

Lifestyle: I live a fairly simple life, and I’ve never tied myself down to one specific job or title. Today I swam with sharks, tomorrow I’ll model, and the next day, really everyday, I’ll be a beach bum. No corporate ladders, nine to five jobs, or routines. I don’t like routines. Coming from an island where there is little to no regard for time, I often finds myself caught up in the “now”, with no interest in the past or the future. 

Background: Growing up in Hawaii has instilled in me a deep respect and admiration for nature. Nothing compares to the lifestyles that we’re so fortunate to live here, surrounded by beauty both above and below the surface. I say the because every time I’ve ever left Hawaii, I’ve come running back with so much appreciation for where I come from. I learn to never take for granted the little things that set our islands apart from the rest of the world; things like clean air, crystal clear waters, and good vibes. 

Just as an example, I recently lived in New York during the fall and part of winter. For the majority of the time that I was there, I had one kind of sickness or another. I was literally miserable and I think it had to do with the fact that my body wasn’t used to the heavily polluted air, the congestion, and the ridiculous amount of contact with germs. Since I moved back to Hawaii six months ago, I haven’t been sick once. Maybe its the air, or the cleansing effects of the ocean. In any case, I’m so grateful to be home. 

Personal Philosophy: I’ve always been a drifter, embracing the whole “one thing leads to another” mentality. That’s exactly how I ended up where I am today in Oahu. The process was simple: I connected with someone through social media and we eventually became good friends. Her husband owns a shark tour company. I love sharks and the ocean. Now I work on that boat as a photographer. When he offered me the job I was living in New York working as a bunch of different jobs modeling, catering, waiting tables, and bartending amongst other things. Three weeks later I moved to Oahu and that was that!

Best advice you’ve received? Smile more. Judge less. Forget your foolish opinions.

Where do you go to school? The ocean is my school. I learn from it every single day.

What inspires you? I’m slightly obsessed with the ocean. It’s hard not to be when I’m so surrounded by it. I seriously get lost in its complexity and spend so much time pondering its vastness. I make an effort to be in or around the ocean every evening for the sunset. This really solidifies my connection with Hawaii and creates in my an inner peace that I can’t even describe.

Favorite place? One of my favorite places on earth is red sand beach in Maui. The name is self-explanatory, and no matter how much I try to describe its beauty, nothing could compare to the feeling you get from being there. It’s a small protected bay surrounded by twerking cliffs. The crystal clear ocean water mixes with fresh water under currents and creates the most stunning turquoise blues I’ve ever seen. The contrast of the red sand with the translucent blue water is seriously baffling in the best way!

Why you love Fair Harbor? I love the initiative Fair Harbor takes in protecting our Ocean. The fact that they've taken the idea of conservation and become the change that promotes action. It’s amazing to me that they can take recycled plastic and create seriously comfortable shorts.