“With my philosophies in life, I’ve always tried to move into places where I can keep learning and keep developing as a person. When I’m in that space, it’s when I’m my most creative, and it’s incredibly satisfying,” says DK.
“Since I was eight years old, the ocean taught me everything I needed to know - the ocean has led me to become me. All the big surf, the small surf and all the competitions – that’s the experience I bring to every piece of equipment I put my feet on.
His passion for the ocean led DK to compete on the world circuit as a surfer from a young age - becoming an ambassador for all New Zealanders who didn’t come from a rugby or netball background. More recently, he opened DK Surf School with his wife, Renée Kereopa.
“What I teach in our surf schools is how to enjoy the element you’re in. I don’t want you to love just the ocean; I want you to love everything around it. I do everything for the love of the game, and the game to me is spending time on the playing field – the ocean. I’m always winning.
DK started practising Kyokushin karate – a very disciplined and regimented Japanese martial art, and Brazilian jujitsu while competing in the WQS (World Qualifier Series).
“Martial arts helped me get through challenging times, like in big wave surfing. How to manage my breathing, to manage myself, or if I’m stressing out – to be in the moment: ‘you’re here now, you put yourself here, now deal with it (and try to come up smiling)’.
“No stress. If you can, live that philosophy like I live it. I get to live in my world, at my speed.
“It’s like learning how to listen. And learning how others learn. How do we take these lessons and teach every child to be the best through all the different languages?
“That’s what I love about surfing. It’s a language. It’s a dance. It’s an act. If you love it, it can continue with you for a long time.
“There are things in surfing that will never be replaced – like pulling into a double overhead barrel. Those are the days I live for. But in between, I fill my days with foiling. I’m always seeking that moment of peace.”