Puna has been such an incredible volunteer for many years. He is a natural in the water which is probably why our participants instantly feel safe and comfortable and are quick to trust him. We can always count on him to take anyone and everyone out into the water to have a good time.
Puna embodies the heart and soul of AccesSurf not just at our Day at the Beach events, but in his everyday life and his work as a lifeguard.
Lets hear more from the man himself:
1. Tell us a little about yourself:
Aloha! My name is Punahele Motoyama. I was born on O’ahu, lived a year in Los Angeles, ten years in San Francisco, came back home to attend Kamehemeha Kapālama from 7th through 10th grades, then left to attend and graduate from ‘Iolani. I played cornerback for the NCAA Division I Football Team at the United States Naval Academy, where I graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering and a Minor in Japanese Language. Upon graduation, I was commissioned as an Active Duty Officer in the United States Marine Corps. I currently serve as a First Responder – Lifeguard for the City & County of Honolulu Emergency Services Department, Ocean Safety & Lifeguard Services Division and, I LOVE TO SURF and get other people into waves during my free time!!!
2. How and when did you hear about or start with Accessurf.
My mother happened to come across information about the program and knew I could possibly contribute my ocean and board skills to help serve others! After my initial trai
ning with a small group that was led by Cara at the Rehabilitation Center of the Pacific, I attended my first ʻDay At The Beachʻ during October of 2013!
3. What does AccesSurf mean to you?
Glee!…Unbridled, wholesome delight! Seeing pure joy on participantsʻ faces throughout the duration of AccesSurf’s many events (even the time outside of scheduled program times) has provided me with the highest level of ‘stoke’ that makes all of the early wakeups, utilization of vacation days from work, and every single bone and muscle ache at the conclusion of an event, WORTH IT!
4. What is your favorite AccesSurf memory:
I have many awesome memories from my time with AccesSurf, but without going into specifics, the first time someone requested to have me take them out because they only felt safe catching waves with me, gave me chicken-skin, then and a feel-good vibe that’s been with me ever-since.
5. Anything you want to say or share with our AccesSurf ‘ohana?
I can’t wait until we’re back together because it’s truly an honor to be sharing waves with all of you again! Aloha pumehana, Punahele.