Two-time WSL World Longboard Champion Kelia Moniz has officially returned to the jersey. After taking a three year break, the 26-year-old from Oahu is more motivated than ever after a recent move back to her hometown -- she's been living in New York with her husband for the past few years.
Moniz grew up with four brothers and one of which, Seth Moniz, just qualified for the 2019 Championship Tour. That, in addition to the newly revamped Longboard Tour, Moniz has chosen the perfect time to make a comeback.
She arrived in Noosa early to fine-tune her equipment and shake off the nerves before the event.
The World Surf League: How long has it been since you entered an event?
Kelia Moniz: I want to say it's been about three to four years. But I have the worst memory of all time, so this is not a fact [laughs].
What made you want to compete again?
There's a few things that really made me want to compete again. One was age, I just turned 26 and thought to myself, 'I don't want to end up looking back at my life and seeing areas where I haven't maximized my time and opportunities'. Surfing is such a gift and I was raised doing it so why cut myself short this soon.
I also moved back home after eight years of living away. My husband and I lived in New York for the past two years and I forgot what it was like to consistently surf good waves. It reminded me how much I actually love surfing.
What are your plans for the rest the season? Do you anticipate doing every stop on the Tour?
Yes, I haven't really said it out loud yet but that's my plan! Cause why not?
What are your competitive goals this year?
Honestly I just want to surf. Of course wanting to win is inevitable, I would not be doing this if I didn't want to win, but my goal is to surf and see how far that takes me.
With your brother Seth making the CT for the first time, did that motivate you?
It's funny because someone just asked me this question. I didn't know how to answer because I'm always just extremely PROUD of all my brothers. I never considered it inspiration or motivation. But it really got me thinking, and I was like, 'You know what? Yes, for sureeee!' How could I not be? My baby brother is gonna be on the big boy tour with like Kelly Slater! To me he's my baby but no, he's actually not a baby any more he's a man. He's on the CT! He made it! He's doing it! And he's gonna crush it! And I can't be the old big sister who just gave up.
Is there anything specific that you've been doing to prepare? Training regimen?
Another 'brother inspired' answer ... yes! My brothers Josh and Seth started training with Darin Yap who runs Tactical Training in Honolulu, so when I moved back I started to go with them. I'm not the first one to raise my hand when people are looking for someone to train with but like I said earlier I really am trying to maximize on my opportunities.
Time is an opportunity, and I plan to make the best of it. So when I'm home I train with them almost every day. Darin would probably say I never come in [laughs]. I can honestly say I've never felt stronger in my life and I'm super thankful for people like Darin who push me and don't settle for the minimum like I did for the past 5 years [laughs].
How do you like Noosa so far?
Well it's absolutely gorgeous. I think it's my favorite place in Australia. The waves have been so fun. I haven't put this many hours in the water in literally years. I've been surfing so much I had to cut myself off the past two days because I have to save some for the contest [laughs]. But I love it here and I'm so excited that the year begins here. This wave is gonna allow for some of the most gorgeous surfing. It's gonna be so fun to watch and be apart of it all again.
Watch the Noosa Longboard Pro live March 7-10 on worldsurfleague.com and Facebook.