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For many people, especially Hawaii residents, the ocean is a place of refuge. It’s a place that welcomes you in no matter your race, religion or economic status. Whether you prefer to wade in the gentle waves, surf the massive swells, snorkel the reef, fish in the deep waters off the coast or simply admire the ocean from the shore, there are countless ways the ocean provides deep spiritual and emotional wealth.

While the ocean is undoubtedly a source of inspiration and adventure, it’s also a source of sustenance. In fact, Maui-born Kimi Werner, who grew up free diving with her father for her family’s meals, believes the ocean gives her everything she needs. It’s no surprise, then, that Kimi has built a career around her love of the deep blue sea.

Kimi’s talent and motivation to live a sustainable lifestyle and create a healthy future has resulted in accolades such as United States National Spearfishing Champion, certified chef, award-winning artist, sought-after public speaker, and more. Some of Kimi’s career highlights thus far include her deepest dive of 159 feet, her longest breath hold of 4 minutes and 45 seconds, and her biggest catch, a 165-pound yellowfin tuna.

Kimi’s fascinating story can be seen in the new film Fishpeople, a documentary by Keith Malloy starring six different people whose lives have been transformed by the ocean.

Below, the water woman talks about her deep love of the ocean, her favorite food, and Fishpeople during her recent stay at the Surfjack.

a place of heartand beauty, my sweet home that raised me.

THE OCEAN IS…my nurturer, my boss, my mother. She provides me with everything I need, dictates my life and deserves the utmost respect.

MY BIGGEST FEAR IS…living in regret.

SONG ON REPEAT JUST NOW…Frank Sinatra’s “The Way You Look Tonight”

MY ALL TIME FAVORITE MEAL IS…Fried Akule with chili pepper shoyu

WHEN I’M IN THE WATER I FEEL LIKE…like me again. My soul instantly feels more herself, more comfortable, more whole, more present.

FISHPEOPLE IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE…it tells the story of how the ocean connects us to a higher part of ourselves.

photos by Justin Turkowski 

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