Meet Kalei Akiona '23: Co-Founder of the Beachgoers & Surf Enthusiasts of UC Law SF

Kalei Akiona ’23 co-founded the Beachgoers and Surf Enthusiasts of UC Law San Francisco with three fellow law students in Fall 2022.

There’s more to law school than going to class and taking tests. At UC Law San Francisco, dozens of student organizations bring together classmates over shared interests and activities. One of these groups is the Beachgoers and Surf Enthusiasts of UC Law SF (BSUCLSF), which takes advantage of the school’s proximity to Bay Area beaches.

Meet Kalei Akiona ’23, who grew up on the island of Oahu and cofounded this organization with some friends.

Q: What is the Beachgoers and Surf Enthusiasts of UC Law SF, and why did you cofound it?

A: I, along with Emma Jones ‘23, Lauren Richards ’23, and Christian Ruano ‘23, founded BSUCLSF. We established the organization in Fall 2022 to provide a relaxing gathering space for law students who are passionate about surfing or visiting the beach. Our goal was to create a separation from other academically-oriented groups with specific interests. We believe that having a place to unwind and connect with peers is crucial for maintaining a healthy mindset during law school and wanted to provide a platform to do as such. I enjoy being a part of BSUCLSF because it offers opportunities for students to bond around campfires at Ocean Beach, make s’mores, and have fun.

Q: Talk about your journey to law school. 

A: I grew up in Kailua, on the island of Oahu, listening to Maoli, a popular Hawaiian band, and going to Sandy Beach. My aunt and uncle, who practice law together on the Big Island of Hawaii, influenced me with their wise and honest character. Growing up, I would often visit their practice and could never tell when they were “working” or not. My aunt and uncle, who genuinely love their work as lawyers, serve as a model for me to emulate in counseling others.

Q: How does beachgoing and surfing mix with law school?

A: Our mission, “for the love and perpetuity of waves and beaches,” is a reminder to align my career and personal actions with the goal of creating a better world for future generations. The beach inspires me to share its beauty with others, including those who will come after us. This requires responsible stewardship for protection, access, and preservation. I hope to continue bringing together like-minded individuals to further our mission.

Q: What plans do you have after graduation?  

A: After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in tax law. I have always enjoyed helping people with arcane matters. Even amongst attorneys, tax is one of the most common ways that everyone interacts with the law. Prior to law school, I looked up to attorneys, including William Richardson for his work in cementing public access to beaches through his opinions as Chief Justice of the Hawaii Supreme Court. He was also trustee of the Bishop Estate, which provided for my education and many others through its beneficiary, the Kamehameha Schools. In Hawaii, we have a word called pono, which is similar to trust, but goes further. To me, pono means doing what is right even when no one else is watching. I want to work in a field where being pono is valued and appreciated – where one’s moral character and reputation mean something.

For more information on BCULSF or to sign up for updates on upcoming events, email and follow the group on Instagram: @beachandsurfuch