Growing up in the ocean, it has always been Keānuenue's second home. Surfing was a big part of that, her dad Duane DeSoto was a professional surfer and so surfing was their family trade. Everyone in the Ka'aihue DeSoto ʻohana surfs, and surfing is actually what lead Keānuenue to design swimwear. Sewing since she was only 3-years-old, Keānuenue loved to create and when asked what she would create within her business her answer was bikinis! The ocean has a special significance in Keānuenue's life and has been one of the biggest elements in her brand.
As an ʻoiwi surfer understand the ocean became second nature and part of understanding the ocean and nature was understanding sustainability. Sustainability is avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance, the most important key f sustainability is consciousness. Keānuenue understood this an it lead her to broaden her knowledge in sustainability in general which lead her to eventually become a climate activist. Her passion for climate is constantly growing as she learns and experiences more.
Surfing has brought Keānuenue to many places, and it has opened up a world of possibilities through surfing itself and the effect it has had in her life. She has traveled around most of the world with her family, including places like Morocco, Tahiti and Brazil. Keānuenue has not only been able to travel around most of the world but she has also been able to meet amazing people who have influenced her in very powerful ways. She has been able to experience New York Fashion Week, the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards and Honolulu Fashion Week. All of these experiences have shaped Keānuenue into a fashion forward ʻoiwi ready to tackle the world, she is excited to explore the horizons of fashion and to push herself to new limits.
by Keānuenue DeSoto
My dad, Duane DeSoto, is a former professional surfer and now runs his non-profit Nā Kama Kai. Growing up on Mākaha beach he was surrounded with some of the best watermen and waterwomen in the world, ocean knowledge was so abundant and very present in his childhood. Through having this huge access to ocean knowledge my dad was quickly acquainted with the ocean and its ways, after many years of studying the ocean and immersing himself in the ocean he mastered what we consider to becoming a waterman. He can do almost anything in the ocean, you name it and he'll do it that being said his professional career was specific to long boarding, as pictured above. In 2010 my dad won the world title, he had tried for so many years and finally accomplished his goal, so what now? The ocean at this point had meant so much more to my dad than ever before and he recognized the intimate connection he had with the ocean, it was his happy place and. his second home. The ocean had given him a career, balance in his life and now a world title so it was only natural that he wanted to give back. He understood the gift that had been given to him from the day he was born down at Mākaha beach and he wanted to recreate that for the communities of O'ahu, he wanted to create a safe environment for children around Hawai'i and really the world to experience the ocean and to learn about it. Then came Nā Kama Kai a true fruit of his labor, a non-profit that taught kids ocean safety, conservation and stewardship. Nā Kama Kai is an ocean clinic that takes place every month at six different location around Oʻahu, we offer free ocean clinics to any child 2-18 interested and we share just a little bit of our ʻoiwi knowledge to strengthen that community and their connection to the ocean. We believe that if we can connect all these keiki to the ocean not only will it save lives but it will also create a bond between the next generation and the ocean which in turn will save the ocean from pollution and climate change. He is the reason why I have such a deep connection with the ocean and really the reason why I started making bikinis in the first place, he has also been a huge influence in me becoming a climate activist and so from the bottom of my heart, thank you dad I love you.