Most people around the world know Kimi Werner as “the woman who rode the back of a Great White Shark.” To be fair, Kimi Werner is most certainly that. When a camera captures video footage of you calmly approaching a twelve-ish foot Great White and snagging a ride on its dorsal fin, that tends to command attention. Upon meeting Kimi, however, I quickly discovered that she’s not the attention-seeking type. Her feats are. She is not.
Born and raised in Maui, Werner quit spearfishing not long after winning the U.S. National Spearfishing Championship, because it just didn’t feel right. Another kill just felt like another point. Something needed to change. She quit competitive spearfishing altogether and refocused her efforts into free diving and enjoying the ocean in a more holistic sense. She immersed herself in the world of free diving, and even began to develop her culinary skills, something her spearfishing background suited quite well.
“The minute I was able to go out into the ocean and come home with dinner, the satisfaction it added to my life was amazing, and the appreciation I had for the meals I cooked, and shared, and ate went beyond anything else,” says Werner. “The more disconnected we get to the source of our food, the more disconnected we get from the true being of who we are.”
She gets very intimately connected. Ever bitten the brains out of a live octopus? “It kills them instantly,” she says. “It’s the most humane way to do it.”
And therein lies the essence of Kimi Werner’s inspiration. She hitches a ride on the dorsal fin of a Great White. She bites into the brains of octopus. She cooks award-winning food that she catches with her own two hands. But her intentions are unequivocally rooted in a place of respect and balance. What she kills, she eats. What she cooks she shares. And her insistence that we more intimately understand the food that we consume is a powerful one. It’s the kind of thinking that starts a revolution.
That thing about riding a Great White? It’s just scratching the surface.
Meet Kimi Werner.
Special thanks to the very talented Justin Turkowski, who graciously donated the gorgeous underwater and adventure footage for this profile. View more of Justin’s work here.