Very few of us get to live a life that is truly in harmony with the natural world. Imagine conquering a sport that requires working in tandem with the wild and unpredictable ocean, while honoring your family, and, oh yeah, writing a freakin’ book. We know someone who does all that, and we’re in total awe of him: Zane Kekoa Schweitzer.
Besides being a 2x Ultimate Waterman champion, ECO Ambassador, Instagram star, Zane Kekoa Schweitzer is a world traveler whose experiences living an unconventional, uncompromised life make him a perfect addition to the Redd family. Zane shows every day that hard work and unbridled passion can produce incredible results, both personally and for the planet.
We were lucky enough to catch up with him this month and are thrilled to share his wisdom - it’s too good to keep to ourselves.
Zane, you balance a crazy travel and competition schedule, plus run your own non-profit? Can you tell us about your daily routine?
Zane Kekoa Schweitzer: A routine is important for me to stay focused and sane really… With all the traveling I do, about 7-9 months out of the year on average over the last 8 years, my most consistent daily routine I practice is journaling…
I owe it to my journaling for a lot of my success, discipline and personal growth and confidence.
I have been journaling for over 10 years jotting down my experiences with the world and its people and it helps me to be reminded to about the importance of being present, being grateful and staying on track to success in terms of keeping your goals and set in your heart and mind.. It’s almost like my form of meditation.. Journaling is the most consistently practiced routine I've kept in my life...
I wake up in the morning between 4am-8am, go straight to my journal and a big glass of water, then do my meridian stretches, and warm up exercises for muscle activation. I eat whole food plant based so I like to start my day with a smoothie or oatmeal before heading out to the beach or before starting my day of adventures and exercises.
What are some of the ways that you take care of your body and wellness?
ZKS: I always stay active and have fun with sports and adventures! This is such an easy way to stay healthy… I keep a strict diet that is mostly vegan/whole food plant based and am constantly doing all I can do grow mentally and physically... The ocean is so healing, even outside of getting a heavy cardio or anaerobic exercise with ocean sport.
What’s the most thrilling moment you’ve had on the water?
ZKS: There are so many thrilling moments I've had on the water! It's so hard to choose just one story.. But a great one that comes to mind is from an adventure which my friend Bennan Rose and I took on.. We decided to paddle from Maui to Molokai on our 17’ Stand Up Paddle boards 20 miles downwind loaded with surfboards, camping gear and fishing equipment. This wasn't actually the thrilling or crazy part of the story believe it or not, we do this stuff all the time!
We had an awesome weekend surfing, fishing and hunting with our friends, Ekolu Kalama and Chad Lima from Moloka’i, but things got crazy when Brennan and I got the crazy idea to paddle back to Maui 20 miles upwind and upswell with not only all our surfing and camping gear but also our fishing equipment plus some fish and deer loaded to share with our family back home on Maui. We woke up early the next day before the sun and wind came up and we started padding to Maui... About an hour into the paddle the sun was finally up and with it the wind...
We considered turning around but as we look behind us we saw nothing but thick clouds with thunder and lightning rolling down the mountains of east facing Molokai...
We thought we had to continue… If we would have known that this was not nearly the point of no return, we may have turned around... Another hour passes and we are barely inching our way up the 2-5 foot swells of the Pailolo channel while getting blasted by 20-30 knots of wind which makes your body feel like a sail resisting you from moving forward…
If we were to miss a stroke we would lose the ground covered equal to 4 strokes... The deer and fish started to thaw and it wasn't very frozen anymore leaving blood tracking from my bag off the board and into the Tiger shark grounds of the most rough channel in Hawaii.. The way to Molokai took about 2.5 hours, the way back took nearly 7 hours… We were lucky to have made it back safe...! I actually featured this story in depth in my new book, Beneath The Surface, check it out on and read the full length story in Chapter 8- “Responsibility, Pride and Humility”.
You practice a sport that provides you with a unique look into the natural world. Why is protecting the planet important to you?
ZKS: The ocean continues to provide health and happiness for me-my greatest memories are in the ocean or immersed in nature. It's simple really, I am grateful for our planet and environment and want to do my best to be as connected and apart of it as I can. It makes me a better athlete doing so and as well helps me to feel grounded which reminds me consistently of the work that needs to be done...
Whether I am in Paris witnessing someone litter without a second thought, contributing to the problem, or whether I am submersed in the ocean watching the fish swim and hearing the reef and sand crackle- I am reminded of love and grief, the yin and the yang of people and nature everywhere I am and how the balance is off.. This motivates me to continue my appreciation for nature and the pride to protect it.
My biggest concern is not being able to share the ocean, reefs, fish and nature as I know it with my children one day... Knowing that the future generations may very well not have the opportunity to experience nature as I did makes me feel grief... In my lifetime alone I am seeing the coral reefs change, from places I’ve traveled as a young child to this day and even right in my backyard at home in Maui-The reefs are fading away and its life light dimming, including its inhabitants along with it... This is my biggest concern, losing parts of nature forever because of choices we make for convenience- losing parts of our environment and even ecosystems along with the loss of entire species...
What I can do to fight these problems starts with living a life grateful for nature and present amongst it- being a surfer and waterman my whole life has helped me to create a bond with the ocean and nature- then finding a way to share that feeling of appreciation and consciousness with others, shedding light upon the issues to enlighten the people I come across and inspire them to find the courage within themselves to make a change, to follow their dreams and accomplish them- not just for the benefit of themselves, but for the benefit of their loved ones and the environment around them.. We all have goals and dreams, and we all have the choice to choose what dreams to pursue, what is the right choice, what is the rightful path to pursue? The path and the goals in which benefit not only yourself, but those in which uplift the people and environment around you.
How does Redd fuel your unconventional, uncompromised lifestyle?
ZKS: My lifestyle may be a little hectic for most people.. Never being in the same time zone or country for more than a week, living out of a suitcase, constantly translating the stress of training and pressure of being a target into motivation towards the relentless pursuit of my dreams including continuing to hold the world title as The Ultimate Waterman and the ISA World Champion.
With a jam packed training schedule and travel calendar it’s hard to keep up with my eating, nutrition and basic health needs. Whenever I can prepare my own food and pack a lunchbox to keep up with my InZane lifestyle and in my lunchbox I always have a few Whole Food Plant Based Redd Bars!!! Whether it's slamming into my muscle nutrition after a training session because I have to run straight to my next task on my list of things to do for the day, or whether I prefer to skip airplane food for a healthy meal replacement bar like Redd-I'm never uncompromised!
What advice would you give to younger generations looking to excel, both in sports and in life?
ZKS: Be relentless in the pursuit of your dreams and live life to the fullest! Learn from your past, live in the present and manifest your future!
Dive deeper into Zane's past adventures in his self-published book, Instagram to keep up with his wild journey!