Kanoe Pelfrey is a professional surfer, competitive snowboarder and full-time model from the Big Isle of Hawaii. Kanoe has a deep passion for traveling and likes to share her adventures through her blog at kanoepelfrey.com. Depending on the time of year, Kanoe might be based out of San Clemente (California), Kailua Kona (Hawaii), Breckenridge (Colorado) or Mt Hood (Oregon). You can follow Kanoe and her Golden Retriever named Kona on Instagram.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background including how you got into professional surfing and snowboarding?
I started surfing when I was four years old and then I started competing right around like six years old and just that’s where I spent all of my time doing. And then after I graduated high school I got to go on a snowboard trip to Windells.
And really wasn’t like supposed to get into snowboarding because I was so busy with surfing and then I just got really really addicted to snowboarding, couldn’t and then really loved the backcountry and couldn’t stay away from the backcountry with snowboarding.
What made you branch out into influencer marketing and when did your start having success as an influencer?
It started as like- with being an influencer I always did a lot of surfing campaigns and that’s what kind of got me into it. Really was I already had sponsors in surfing and from there other people were like oh I really like those campaigns. But with influencer work it kind of allowed more flexibility for me to be more creative without a brand specifically saying we have to shoot this here. We can shoot it at, you know, in the jungle or we can shoot it at a different location on the beach around lava rocks so that’s what I liked about influencer work is it really allowed for you to be able to do anything in that sense.
As a multisport professional, influencer, brand ambassador and blogger, how do you structure your average day so you can get the most accomplished while still enjoying a full life?
As full as schedules go I literally train – I wake up at like 6 am in the morning and I go all the way to probably like 2 or three in the day whether it’s surfing or snowboarding. For snowboarding it’s a lot longer than I would with surfing. But then afterwards – I’m actually a college student too so I have that going on. When I go home [i] do about two hours of homework and then probably go to bed somewhere around midnight as far as whether if it’s shooting or whether it’s whatever project is going on or blogging.
What would you say is your biggest achievement to-date as an athlete?
As crazy as it sounds I’d probably say at twenty-one years old I started learning how to surf fakie and I started learning on my snowboard and every since then as far as riding switch it’s kind of like riding the opposite way on your surfboard and snowboard. I think that would be the biggest highlight I would probably say of my career was learning that because it really just opened a new window and I started looking at things a lot differently when basically you had to learn how to just be ambidextrous
What advice do you have for other athletes who might be thinking about getting into influencer marketing but don’t know where to begin?
I would really tell them to kind of talk with their sponsors about things and try and see like “hey do you know of any other brands that are also looking for other people”. I think that would be a good way to go.
What has been your favorite brand partnership to-date?
Oh man. I would probably say Anon optics. I really enjoyed that campaign. That was a really fun campaign. I got to be on my snowboard and I don’t know it was so different. It was absolutely freezing up at Mt. Hood and that was a rare day for Mt. Hood, Oregon to be absolutely just horribly cold and I don’t know I was just having a good time.
My dog was there and I was there with my family and we were just kind of chilling and there was another photographer there and I had fun working with this photographer that I hadn’t seen in awhile. Yeah, it was a pretty great day.
What is the weirdest request you have received from a brand?
That could be really hard. The weirdest request I have received – I don’t know as much about weird ones I would just say more challenging ones. Like can you take swimming action shots or like specific underwater like poses and that’s really really challenging to go out and go do that. And especially have someone you know who can shoot those sort of photos. So I’d probably say some of the poses they sent me as far as mood boards and being like “hey we want you to go into this pose” they were kind of interesting I was like “okay that’s going to be really hard, you know, to achieve it but we’ll go out and we’ll go shoot it.
Where do you see influencer marketing in the next five years or so?
I really see influencer marketing actually really talking off into like YouTube probably some video platform we don’t even know about yet. And I kind of see it going in to like the vlogging or video direction so. Yeah, it’s going to be really interesting to see where that takes everybody in the next five years.
Note: Influencer spotlight interviews are edited for time and clarity.