Kamu Davis hails from O'ahu’s North Shore, where he has built his life around the ocean, makes a living as a lifeguard, and strikes out on travelling adventures whenever he can. He knows well the power of raging water and has saved countless lives. He shares his infectious aloha far and wide—especially children with autism he pushes into waves with Surfers Healing. “That’s food for the soul,” said Kamu. “My grandfather taught me to be warm and helpful, to share what we have. I feel like I bring a little bit of Hawaii everywhere I go.”
Photos by OluKai
Recently he found himself in a raft, paddling down the Payette River in the Idaho mountains with local waterman and outdoorsman Kyle Smith. Kyle welcomed Kamu for a taste of the river life— crisp mountain air, fly fishing, and roiling rapids at Howard’s Plunge. Kyle grew up navigating these waters and became a river guide at 18 years old. Like Kamu, he’s brought his deep affection for the river to people with a range of disabilities, guiding everyone from veterans with Wounded Warriors, to quadriplegic kids.
Kyle knows every rock and eddy, every calm sanctuary on the bank, and as a swiftwater rescue guide, much like Kamu, he’s pulled many visitors from the brink of tragedy. Every spring, when the snowmelt reaches its peak, this river turns wild—like big wave season on the North Shore of O'ahu. “Water is definitely his element, and it’s mine too,” said Kyle. Salty or not, the water unites. “It’s hard to even call it work if it’s something you love,” said Kamu. Whether it’s way up in the green hills of Idaho or along the rocky ledges of O'ahu’s North Shore, the healing power of water, and the aloha spirit transcends.