We had a chance to interview Tide and Kiva Rivers this week, two Eastside surfers who are living the island dream. The two interact like best friends, one often finishing the other’s sentences. Their parents, Barry and Stella, moved here from the East Coast in search of their island paradise. The addition of Kiva, Tide and daughter Maya, completed the picture. Meet the twins:
The boys speak proudly, telling about growing up in Kuau and learning to surf at Jackson Bay. The twins and Eric Diaz would buy surfboards at the swap meet for $10 when they began to learn. “We would paddle out at Paia Bay and surf right onto the beach. We were always in the water when we were groms,” they told us. They do give credit to local writer Tom Stevens for getting them on the path of the surfing lifestyle. “When we were four or five, he would paddle us into waves until we figured out how to paddle and catch them ourselves.”
“Growing up haole kids in public schools was difficult at times, but it got a lot easier when we began surfing because we were meeting the locals and gaining acceptance through our surfing,” they said. Kiva and Tide also began playing ukulele and started a group called Chicken Skin. They have opened for Henry Kapono and other well known artists and continue to write and play music.
After graduating from Maui High, the twins moved to Santa Barbara to attend college. It was an exciting change in their life, coming from an island in the Pacific Ocean. The experiences they shared at college are ones they’ll never forget, and their travels together have helped broaden their surfing horizons.
Now 20, the boys have their own bachelor pad in Haiku. The twins work in the restaurant industry, leaving plenty of time for surf. Their dream these days is still the same as when they were kids; to surf the best waves in the world and get paid for it.
They have some pretty funny stories about stunt doubling for each other in school, and fooling the girls. “We used to play tricks on girls we would meet, but we can’t really reveal too much of that,” they said. There is a strong competitiveness between the two in their surfing, yet their roots lie deep within the soul.
The twins consistently surf every day there are waves. When it’s flat, mountain biking, softball, hiking, playing music, and hanging with friends is what life’s all about. They have an appreciation for living on Maui that one can only find with being at peace with your life, and how you’re living it.
They have a deep respect for the Hawaiian culture and the local people, and the richness that the islands offer. Both strongly feel that people need to make this a better place than they found it, and hope that people become more conscious and appreciative of this priceless environment.
Honolua Bay is by far their favorite wave, but they spend the majority of their surfing time at Ho`okipa. “We surf Hana as much as we can, it’s the most beautiful place we’ve ever been,” they said. They describe the surf spots on the island with the same enthusiasm that someone speaks of a great movie.
Being brought up with parents in the film industry has helped give the twins culture beyond their years. Both have worked on various film productions over the years, doing camera work and working as production assistants on their dad’s projects.
A highlight in their lives was when they met Woody Harrelson and taught him how to surf. Woody became a friend of the family and stayed with the twins when their parents went out of town. “From teaching Woody how to surf, we got the idea of how to start a small surf camp here on Maui. Using our skills to teach people not only how to surf, but how to respect the aina,” they said.
In the meantime, Kiva and Tide are very happy with their lives. They have an appreciation for the values and integrity that they have been given to live this life with. Best friends and brothers, a mirror reflection of each other, Kiva and Tide’s surf-stoked smiles tell it all. Cruising the coast and dancing on the water, that’s where you’ll likely find these twin souls.
This story originally ran in MauiTime’s February 3, 1998 issue.
Photo: Rick Leeks