Go Deep Underwater With This Real Life Mermaid/Get Deep with Ha’a
Meet Ha’a Keaulana In our new series, Bikini Girl Crush, we’ll be giving you an inside look into the lives and careers of the most inspiring girls that we’ve ever seen rocking a bikini. Stay tuned for more crush-worthy bikini-clad ladies like our favorite undersea Instagrammer, Ha’a Keaulana. When you look at photos of majestic Yves Klein Blue waters, reflected off the back of a turtle that you most certainly can’t find at PetCo, taken by Hawaiin-native Ha’a Keaulana; the term sea-porn comes to mind. We can discuss whether sea-porn falls under the miscellaneous porn categories like food-porn, shoe-porn, and design-porn some other time. Or if, perhaps, it is an umbrella category for Ha’s plethora of snaps of uber-cool surf chics riding giant waves, #surfporn; babies playing in the whitest sand you’ve ever seen, #sandporn; and Ha’a and her friends frolicking under the water like the real-life mermaids they seem to be, #mermaidporn.
But before you scroll through the gallery above and read all about Ha’a Keaulana’s ridiculously enviable life, we’re going to recommend that you’re not sweating it out on the subway or caught in a snow storm, because this chick’s photography just might send you into a jealous sea-thirsty rage.
Hang Ten with Hawaiian Sufing Royalty, Ha’a Keaulana
Not only is Ha’a Instagram-famous (she has over 84 thousand followers), but she’s Hawaiian surfing royalty, as well. Her grandfather is living surf-legend, Buffalo Keaulana, who rode the waves of the Keaulana-family’s hometown Makaha beach with Duke Kahanamoku in the early 50s. Her father is also a well-known waterman and stunt coordinator. According to Ha’a, basically everything that’s ever been filmed in Hawaii and involves the ocean, from Blue Crush to Pearl Harbor to Forgetting Sarah Marshall, was orchestrated by her dad. And when Ha’a isn’t photographing her coastal life or surfing with her friends, she’s working as a stunt-girl with her dad on his various film projects.
As if you aren’t already completely blown away and crushing on this talented bronze beauty, now might be a good time for us to tell you that she’s only 22-years-old. That’s right! We were just as shocked (and self-conscious of the fact that we weren’t this cool when we were 22) when we spoke to Ha’a, whose maturity and boundless Hawaiian wisdom caught us off guard when she told us her age.
She finds it funny that she’s become so well-known for her Instagram-activity, and credits last year’s National Geographic feature on her family for the reason why she has more followers we do (follow us @bikinidotcom). In truth, Ha’a would give up her Instagram account and abandon her camera if given an ultimatum; she’s most passionate about surfing. When we asked how long she’d be surfing, Ha’a almost laughed and replied, “well, I’ve been riding waves before I could walk but I started competitively surfing when I was 12.” We replied with a long moment of silence, followed by, “hmm…ok, cool!” Because while surfing 10-foot waves and living Hawaii’s ocean crush is something that, for most of us, only happens in dreams; this is Ha’a Keaulana’s reality.
Joyful Dancing Sea Her Hawaiian name, which Ha’a is short for, is Kaiha’a le’a; which means joyful dancing sea (also the name of her Tumblr). The name was passed down to her when she was born by a Hawaiian elder; a family and island tradition. Another tradition she told us about, is one that involves wrapping a newborn’s umbilical cord in a tea leaf and around a rock, and throwing it into their favorite spot in the ocean. It’s an ancient-Hawaiian take on traditional baptisms. Ha’a’s rock lies at Makaha Point, her parents’ favorite surfing spot.
All of this talk about the ocean and surfing had us wondering whether Ha’a had any “ocean fears,” like, oh, Great White Sharks? Cool as a cucumber, Ha’a laughed this off, saying that while she would definitely, “crap her pants,” as would we, if she were ever bitten by a shark; it’s rarely something she thinks about. Like most surfers, her biggest “fear” is a bad wipeout.
The Whole World In Ha’a’s Hands
Surfing with her family has given Ha’a the opportunity to travel and photograph ocean life—which she does mostly with either her iPhone in a water-proof case or a Go-Pro—all over the world. She’s been on business trips with her father to places like Biarritz, Saint Sebastian, Tahiti and Japan. Next up on her list of upcoming trips is Australia, where she’ll head in January with her whole family for a surf festival celebrating the 100 year anniversary of Duke Kahanamoku bringing surf culture to Australia.
She’s dying to go to the Maldives, so if you’re heading there anytime soon and looking for someone to professionally Instagram your vacation (she’ll make you look so cool), Ha’a is definitely for hire!
Hawaiian Living When Ha’a’s at the beach, she’s in the water. She has that “problem” that every tan-challenged girl wishes she could have, Ha’a giggles and explains, “I’m too dark to tan!” Her favorite wetsuits and swimsuits to wear are designed by Dakine, Mikoh, and her friends at Acacia and Issa de’ mar. Unless it’s Halloween, when you might catch her cruising a wave in the skeleton body suit that she nabbed from her local pharmacy.
In her hometown of Makaha, she loves to spend her free time relaxing and drinking beers on the beach with her boyfriend and friends, or getting Haleiwa acai Bowls on the North Shore of Oahu, and when she’s craving Mai Tai, she goes to Monkeypod Kitchen Restaurant in Wailea.
You can’t take Ha’a out of Hawaii. It’s abundantly clear that she’s madly in love with her home, in the way that most of us wish we were, but unfortunately aren’t from somewhere cool-enough to merit a Ha’a-like passion for home. She wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world, and from the sound of the friendly Hawaiian community she describes, where people feed you without expecting you to feed them, literally give you the shirt off their back, and treat you like family even if you’ve just met; it’s the kind of place where we’d trade everything just to live.
Keep your Instagram feed peeled for @haakeaulana, to see for yourself what Ha’a day-to-day deep blue life is really like. Stay crushing, bikini girls!