Guy Hagi - The Most Famous Weatherman in the Surfing World
photos courtesy of Guy Hagi
by Ken McKnight
It's five o'clock in Honolulu, Hawaii and thousands of Island surfers have settled back to watch the KGMB 9 (www.kgmb9.com) nightly news to check out the ocean's forecast. It seems there is a swell that is due to hit tomorrow. As the weather is intro uced the studio camera suddenly cuts to a surfer standing in the shore break at a local beach. You can't help but notice the familiar face of the KGMB 9 weatherman. He has a surfboard under one arm, a microphone in the other, and in the background is Ala Moana, and it is going off. The newscaster delivers the goods, hands off the microphone, and paddles out to "Bowls" for an afternoon session as the cameraman films away.
Photo courtesy of Guy Hagi
The weatherman/newscaster in question is Guy Hagi; family man, super hot surfer, Hawaii television personality, and local boy made good. He is probably the most recognizable surfing weatherman in the world today, and definitely the most talented waterman in the television news industry. If you've been to the Islands to surf in the last two decades then you have most likely checked out his on air act at one time or another. From his humble beginnings as a super popular radio reporter18 years ago to the last 8 years on TV, Hagi is well-respected both in and out of the water.
In a profession where integrity and truthfulness rate at the top of the ladder, Guy Hagi is a respected and trusted part of the Hawaiian surfing culture and you would be hard pressed to find a better spokesperson. His credentials are impeccable, his good-naturedness infectious, and his ability to navigate the barrel under intense pressure, well, it is uncanny. You really couldn't ask for a television personality that is more mellow, yet as intense and passionate abut surfing as Guy.
"There is a great satisfaction, exclaimed Hagi, "in informing fellow surfers about the conditions. They count on me to know my stuff. So that places a big responsibility on my shoulders."
"Whether it's two foot mushburgers or 30' Jaws mackers, it's dangerous to someone. I always gotta acknowledge that because not every viewer is a surfer and often times it's not the surfer that gets into trouble in the water."
Guy Hagi is Hawaiiana personified. His passion for his family and ocean centered lifestyle has found him parlaying it all into a career that many of us respect and envy. Proudly married to KGMB 9 News Anchor, Kim Gennaula, the couple have a young son, Luke, who is a little over a year old and they are expecting another child in December. Hagi balances an incredibly busy schedule between the home, the office, and the beach. There are few of us who have successfully mixed business with pleasure and it is always refreshing to see it happen in the world of surfing.
Before Guy Hagi was in the television newsroom, he was known as the first real dedicated radio surf reporter in the Islands. He was instrumental in creating a network of surf reports over the airwaves that lasted for almost two decades and featured him doing surf forecasts for several local as well as Japanese stations. His start in the radio-reporting end came as a fluke.
"I started doing surf reports while working for Town & Country (T&C) in the shop," smiled Hagi, "Seems the pro team surfers weren't too good about deadlines (for reporting), they were too busy surfing. Don't blame them though... we're talking about Larry Bertlemann, Vince Klyn, Dane Kealoha, they had bigger fish to fry than some 30 second radio reports."
"Joe Teipel and I started about the same time. Joe decided to do that as a job, I just formed a little "team" and did it for two local stations, one AM, one FM. I guess that started around 1979 for KKUA/KQMQ."
Hagi has deep roots in Hawaii and is a well-respected member of the surfing community. As with most surfers he started his ocean relationship as a grom in the shore break around Waikiki, sliding the smaller waves before gradually working his way into the more serious stuff.
"I was 13," said Hagi, "when a few friends and I started paddling out to Queens in Waikiki. My first board was a 5'9" Surfline by Ryan Dotson. We eventually ended up in Ala Moana Park cutting our teeth.
Laughingly, Guy remembers those days, "Looking back it seems my "home break" has bounced around a bit. In high school it was a combo of Tennis Courts and Bowls in the summer, Velzyland and Laniakea during the winter."
Guy Hagi was born and raised in Honolulu. He graduated from McKinley and attended Kapiolani Community College, HPU, and the University of Hawaii.
For Guy, surfing at the time was his chosen life path, and he naturally gravitated towards the surf business end. He found himself working at Town & Country Surfboards, when they had only one shop in Pearl City. It was a dream job for a young surfer to be behind the counter in such a high visibility surf company.
Photo courtesy of Guy Hagi
The shop was always busy and the top pros on the International circuit were constantly coming around. MR, Tom Carroll, Shaun Tomson, Critta Byrne, Rabbit all came by at one time or another on promotional tours, to check out the shop, or to talk story. And then there were the best of the local surfers and shapers of the era who frequented the busy shop.
Guys like Dane Kealoha, Larry, Buttons, Reno, Parrish, Minami, Arakawa, Rell Sunn, and the legendary Buffalo Kealauna. Not only did the impressionable young surfer get to meet all these top surfers and craftsman but he was able to surf and talk with them one on one. And it started to show. Guy was not only making the business contacts that would help shape his future but he was starting to turn heads in the water with his smooth yet powerful style.
"I'm a goofy foot," says Hagi proudly, "so Gerry was the King, still is. Of course lots of surfers came along and left indelible marks and I was so fortunate to have met many of them. Right place, right time sort of thing. Growing up my sports idols changed with the seasons, as well. Roman Gabriel, Johnny Bench, Jerry West, am I aging myself?"
He is also quick to give kudos to others and one of his favorite subjects would be long time contest director / photographer / surfer / friend, Bernie Baker.