Vaihiti Inso is a name you will be hearing about more and more. Her brand of fast paced, stylish and aggressive surfing Inso has been a big force in the teen competition scene in Hawaii and her talent and determination has recently gained her the ISA World Junior Champion title earlier in the year. Catching her first waves at about five years old her dad was a surfer, so it was a natural progression. Inso recalls the first time she stood up on a board and she “was hooked!” Growing up in Hawaii, the ocean has always been a huge part of her life. Freesurf caught up to Vaihiti recently to find out more!

FSM: Congrats on the win. What an accomplishment! What do you think are the most important qualities for a successful surfer?
Vaihiti Inso: I think determination and passion are key. Surfing can be really challenging, both physically and mentally. You have to be willing to put in the hard work and also be able to stay calm and focused in the water. Flexibility and strength are important too, but the love for the sport is what keeps you going. Winning the gold medal was incredible. The competition was tough, and the waves were challenging, but I felt prepared. I spent months training intensively, working on my technique and stamina. When I was out there, I just tried to stay in the moment and enjoy the ride. Hearing my name called as the winner was surreal—I couldn’t believe it!

FSM: How did it feel to bring home not just the gold, but also contribute to the team for its silver medal?
Vaihiti Inso: It was really nice to see how hard everyone worked, and it was so nice that I was lucky enough to come with a gold medal. The team silver was like a cherry on top. It was just amazing to share that moment with my teammates. The atmosphere was electric, and we all supported each other. It’s a memory I’ll cherish forever.

FSM: Who has been your biggest inspiration in your surfing career?
Vaihiti Inso: Definitely my dad. He introduced me to surfing and has always been my biggest supporter. Also, Carissa Moore—she’s an incredible surfer and a role model for so many young athletes. Her dedication and positive attitude are truly inspiring.

FSM: How do you prepare mentally and physically for a big competition?
Vaihiti Inso: Physically, I focus on a mix of strength training, cardio, and flexibility exercises. I also spend a lot of time in the water, of course. Mentally, I practice mindfulness and visualization techniques. It’s important to stay calm and focused, especially when the stakes are high.

FSM: What role does diet play in your training regimen?
Vaihiti Inso: Diet is crucial. I make sure to eat a balanced diet with plenty of proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. Staying hydrated is also key, especially when you’re out in the sun and water for long periods. I try to eat clean and avoid processed foods.

FSM: What are your goals for the future?
Vaihiti Inso: I want to continue improving and competing at the highest level. Winning more titles would be great, but I also want to inspire the next generation of surfers. I’m passionate about promoting ocean conservation and hope to use my platform to make a difference.

FSM: Any advice for young aspiring surfers?
Vaihiti Inso: Keep practicing and stay dedicated. Surfing is a journey with ups and downs, but if you love it, it’s worth it. Don’t be afraid to push yourself and always respect the ocean. It’s important to have fun and enjoy the process.

FSM: Is there anyone you want to thank for supporting you along the way?
Vaihiti Inso: Oh, yeah. I really want to thank my mom, my dad, my two siblings—my brother and my sister—and just Hawai’i as a whole. I always tell everyone I don’t surf for myself, I surf for Hawai’i. That’s my home, and it’s on my back and shoulders. I wouldn’t have done it without everyone here at home, all the uncles I grew up surfing with, my coaches, and the whole team. The team atmosphere, with all the parents and everyone who helped, has been incredible.

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