Brian Keaulana. Photo from ‘Like Water’

The Inertia

Born and raised in Hawaii, Brian Keaulana grew up on the water near Makaha, fishing, surfing, and spending time with friends and family in the ocean. He became one of the most prominent lifeguards on the islands with his heritage going traced back to Hawaiian royalty–and his insight into traditional Hawaiian values and culture have made him the ultimate mentor to many. A highly respected lifeguard and teacher, Brian advises all sorts of agencies around the globe on water safety practices, and also works as a stuntman and stunt coordinator on TV shows and movies filmed in Hawaii.

I met Brian myself in 2009 at a pivotal point in my life. I’d just quit my job at the height of the recession to pursue a career in adventure journalism and I’d talked my way onto the Indies Trader III in the Mentawais with some of the best surfers and stand-up paddlers in the world. The waves were bigger than anything I was used to seeing in San Diego, and even though I was just there to write, I had an urge to get off the boat and into the water. I was absolutely terrified. I was frustrated. But Brian shared wisdom with me in the water that not only helped me catch a wave that changed me forever but has helped me in life to this day.

In our conversation here, Brian gives sage advice about respecting mother nature, giving back to community, and even how to make it as a stuntman in Hollywood. I love the way he lives his life with intention, one where he not only spends time in the outdoors but also honors his heritage, the land around him, and his community, all while teaching others to do the same.

Find more conversations from the Wild Ideas Worth Living podcast here


Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.