Hawaii’s Kelia “Sister” Moniz was not necessarily favored to win the Swatch Girls Pro Women’s ASP World Longboarding Championships, held Sunday at Riyuewan Bay outside the city of Wanning on China’s only tropical destination, Hainan Island. Yet the 22-year-old year old American made her way into the final against the defending champion, Australia’s Chelsea Williams, and dominated the final heat, scoring 16.05 vs William 9.5 out of 20 to secure her first ASP World Title.
“It’s my first big win and my first world title…I can’t even believe I’m saying those words in one sentence,” the ecstatic Moniz told USA Today Sports. “I just went out there and got as many quality waves as I could. I couldn’t be happier!”
Moniz is the archetype for the modern American surfing girl – young, beautiful, athletic and utterly down to Earth. She is also a melting pot of ethnic descent: Japanese, Hawaiian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Irish.
Born and raised on the south shore of Oahu, Moniz is the second eldest of seven brothers and sisters. She is simply known as “Sister” among the surfing and local community because her upbeat personality is so innocent and prevalent that those around her simply view her as one of their own — a sister.
Her rise to surf stardom has been steady the last few years, with countless magazine covers, modeling shoots and increasingly, competitive results.
“She’s all Aloha all the time,” says American longboard legend, Kassia Meador. “She embraces friends and family and that down-home culture that we hear abut but we sometimes don’t see, but she really has it.”
On her coming of age victory at the unlikely Championship venue of China’s Hainan Island Moniz remarked post-victory:
“It’s such a great venue for us. It’s such a great way to get Chinese people involved in the ocean. They are surrounded by amazing surf and there’s so many spots yet to be discovered and I think they could be the ones to expose it and take it to the next level; this place is so beautiful. It’s awesome!”