A Kailua Boy Lands Dream ‘Surfer’ Job
Alex Kilauano has vivid memories of surfing with his father William while growing up in Kailua. It is here where Kilauano fell in love with the ocean and the beautiful setting it provided for him and other wave riders.
It also is here where the seeds of his career were planted.
“My dad taught me how to surf, and we would spend hours together in the ocean in Kailua and out at Haleiwa,” recalls Kilauano. “He would have been so stoked to see me now!”
The elder Kilauano died several years ago, but his love for surfing still lives through the eyes of his son. Alex now captures surfing moments and memories through the lens of a camera as one of Surfer magazine’s young, rising videographer stars.
“When my dad died, I found myself surfing a lot more, surfing some of the hurt away,” explains Kilauano. “And I remember he had the biggest collection of Surfer magazines at home, and now here I am working for Surfer. He would have been stoked!”
Since 1961, Surfer has captivated and captured the attention of readers all across the planet, bringing surf safaris and fantasies to life with amazing images and stories from surf breaks around the globe.
Kilauano understands the significance of being a part of this iconic magazine team. But it didn’t happen overnight.
His filmmaking career started when he was only 10 years old while attending Maunawili Elementary School. His first videos were short skateboard films with friends. He later began filming for local skate shop 808 Skate.
After graduating from Kalaheo High School in 2007, Kilauano attended Santa Barbara City College, where he received an associate’s degree in film production.
“I was in film school and I found narrative work just wasn’t what I wanted to do,” he says. “I was more interested in doing documentaries, and being from Hawaii and being around the beach, Surfermagazine was like a dream job.”
Kilauano went on to graduate from California State University at Long Beach with honors in narrative film production with a focus on cinematography. The day after graduation, he got his big break.
“I had a friend who knew a guy from the magazine, and there was an internship opportunity that came up,” says Kilauano. “Literally, the day after I graduated, I started interning with Surfer magazine. I know that’s almost unheard of, but I was at the right place at the right time.”
And like a great surf break, everything kept lining up. Kilauano worked for three months as an intern before landing a permanent position.
“I had to work my butt off because I knew I was working with such legends and some of the best photographers in the world,” he says with great excitement. “I’m so grateful I landed my dream job.”
Kilauano recently served as associate producer for Surfer‘s Surfer Poll and Video Awards, working as a contributing videographer while organizing video clips and content for the program.
His latest assignment has brought him full circle. Kilauano returned home in early December to shoot video of the North Shore winter season for the magazine’s online audience. He says working here at home reminds him how fortunate he is to be doing something he loves.
“I’m so stoked to be on Surfer magazine’s payroll — they pretty much paid for me to come home and work,” says Kilauano, who turns 26 Dec. 19. “It’s been an epic trip! I just really need to keep working hard because this industry is really tough. To be successful you can’t stop working at your craft.”
His childhood memories won’t allow him to forget.
For more information about Kilauano, go to alohavisuals.com.