T&C Surf is proud to welcome two new members to the surf team, Bella Eberz and Kenny Nishimoto. Both live in town, both are 14 years of age and both compete in the HSA and NSSA junior leagues with their eyes already set on the WSL. Where they differ is you can usually find Kenny riding a traditional shortboard thruster, and Bella prefers a longboard. It’s easy to see why they were picked by President and team manager Ryan Sugihara. They both carry themselves with a maturity twice their age, are respectful in and out of the water, and they both rip!
Bella hails from Kaaawa and has been surfing for as long as she can remember. She eventually moved to Waikiki and now lives within walking distance to her favorite wave, Queens. She attends public school so most afternoons you’ll find her in the lineup at Bowls or Queens. She stands out from the crowd at her young age with an elegant style, precise footwork, and a vibrancy that matches her fun and outgoing personality.
Although she now competes in HSA and NSSA events, Bella’s competitive career was slow to start, as she didn’t compete in many of the kids contests that most Hawai’i groms do. She explains, “I wasn’t too into competing when I was of age to do the T&C Grom Contest and all that. Now I really am enjoying the contest on Oahu, but my goal is to eventually travel the world and compete on the WSL longboard tour. Also the Vans Duct tape invitational looks so fun and the Mexi Log Fest, which I’m hoping to do next year.”
As a Queens local, she’s in good company as she shares the lineup with many of today's top professionals like Kai Sallas, Kelia Moniz, Kaniela Stewart and Kelis Kaleopaa to name a few. Safe to say, Bella has tons of inspiration to draw from. “Everyone is so good at Queens,” she exclaims. “Surfing with Kani and Kelis and their whole group inspires me so much. They set the bar really high and it pushes me to want to do the things that they’re doing. I’m definitely taking mental notes.”
Bella has much to look forward to. For now her sights are set on the Queen of the Point contest at Malibu, and NSSA Nationals at Huntington. She says, “I’m honored to be on the T&C team because it means that I am a part of a legacy of surfers that I have looked up to my whole life. The company “Town and Country” resonates with me because I grew up in Ka’a’awa, but now I live in Waikiki. Even though Queens is my home break, I love surfing all over the island. Makaha, Haleiwa, and Chun’s are some of my favorites. I am proud to represent a company that promotes the aloha spirit.”
Kenny Nishimoto is also no stranger to competition. He went into the recent HSA States event at Bowls ranked #1 in the 14-15 year old shortboard division. He grew up doing many of the keiki events around the islands including our very own T&C Grom and even came away with a few 1st place trophies.
Kenny grew up townside, in Kaimuki. Most days you can find him at his home break at Kewalos or at Bowls. He now does homeschool, so he can focus more on surfing. His favorite model board is the K-1 by T&C, and he prefers squash tails with little to no rocker over round or pin tails, which suits his skatey, high-performance approach to surfing.
Kenny’s natural gravitation to T&C boards ultimately led to him jumping on board the surf team. He explains, “The Rip Curl Grom Search final was supposed to be at Kelly’s wave pool in December of last year, so I ordered a board from Ryan and it worked really well. The contest got postponed til this summer so I didn’t end up using it there but I really liked the boards and thought it would be pretty sick to be on T&C. My sister knows Ryan pretty well and I would see him out at Kewalos. We got talking about surfing and boards and ended up getting on the team!”
Kenny’s modest and humble nature doesn’t gloat over it, but his ticket to Kelly’s wave pool was from winning the Rip Curl Grom Search at Kewalos last year. As he mentioned, the contest was moved to this July so he has that to look forward to soon. We’ll be cheering for him.
When asked what being on the T&C team means to him, he said, “It means representing Hawai’i, and that means a lot to me because Hawai’i is where I grew up and the reason I love to surf. Riding for a local company and representing them is a way to showcase my love for Hawai’i and surfing.”
T&C President Ryan Sugihara says, "Super stoked to have both Bella and Kenny join our team. I heard great things about Bella from multiple people and was very impressed by her elegant longboard style. So, when I finally got to meet Bella and her dad I just knew I loved their vibe. She was so sweet and just so excited to compete and freesurf! As for Kenny I would see him in the water whenever I would surf Kewalos and the kid rips! You can tell he's one of the top kids in his division. Just a funny note, I know he could have snaked me so many times at Kewalos but he was respectful to the old guy, LOL. Both Bell and Kenny come from great families and I know they will do a great job at representing themselves and T&C Surf in the community and in the water. Our crew is looking forward to working with them and is excited to see their development in the years to come. My dad supported a lot of Hawaii surfers through the years and I'm excited to do the same."