The Kia’i: OluKai Serves the Waterman Lifestyle Through the HLA

OluKai continues its partnership with the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association in 2009 with the Kia’i – translation: Guard. The Kia’i serves the ocean community and its culture as the official footwear of the HLA, the world’s most elite water safety organization. Over 420 working guards wear the sandal as part of their uniform while patrolling the ocean’s most dangerous breaks. It was originally introduced exclusively in Hawaii in 2008 and will be made available to specialty surf shops nationwide in 2009. Proceeds from Kia’i sales help support the HLA’s Junior Lifeguard program on the islands. This underfunded program introduces water safety, first-aid and surf rescue techniques to thousands of kids across Hawaii. The guards contribute their time and knowledge to the young participants in order to inspire them and to increase their self-confidence, physical conditioning, and ocean awareness. The result of this effort serves Hawaii with safer conditions, greater respect for the ocean and more enjoyment for locals and tourists alike. Hawaii’s beaches have an annual attendance in the tens of millions. Of the residents who spend their time on the shores year around, more than half of the population are under eighteen years of age. At least thirty-two classes can be provided throughout the islands when the Junior Lifeguard Program is fully funded. Guest lecturers who share their insight and give advice to the junior guards include ocean aquatic experts and often world class champions from various water sports and activities. OluKai partnered with the HLA to design the Kia’i as a hybrid of beauty and social responsibility, detailing island chain embroidery and laser-etched HLA footbed logo. It is a water resistant sandal that features jersey knit lining, neoprene backer, soft nylon toe post webbing and a non-slipping EVA footbed. Its compression molded EVA midsole and the deeper, anatomically contoured drop-in fit provides maximum support for all day comfort. Its non-marking, gum rubber outsole enhances its performance with an elegant coral reef design for added grip. “We are a proud and humble supporter of the HLA and its Junior Lifeguard Program on the islands,” says Kerry Konrady, Director of Marketing for OluKai. “It is a wonderful opportunity for us to be a part of an inspirational and powerful group of watermen who have such a positive impact on the next generation of Hawaiian lifeguards.” View Press Release on Surfer Magazine’s Website at

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