Sporting lifeIn the lab
with Cliff Kapono
Meet pro surfer, journalist, and PhD scientist Cliff Kapono, cofounder of MEGA Lab in Hilo, Hawaii. This nonprofit environmental community of scientists, athletes and artists uses research and storytelling to help protect and preserve the local reefs—and we’re proud to have made a donation to support their efforts. Scroll to learn more about MEGA Lab, and see Cliff in our new Spring Collection (sustainable swim trunks included).

I grew up in Hawaii, and the more time I spent on the ocean, the more I realized I wanted to dedicate my life to it.
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“MEGA Lab is a collaboration between my good friend John Burns and me—we share a desire to protect and play in the ocean. We liked the idea that we could be surfers and skaters and still have advanced degrees.”
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You don’t need to climb a mountain or surf a big wave to experience the outdoors. Walking in the park or listening to birds outside your window are easy ways to connect with our shared environment.
A quick Q&A
with Cliff
Tell us a little more about MEGA Lab.CK: We use technology to bring the ocean to people around the world, and to engage community members in our research—like showing students how to use a microscope or a drone, or making sure local youth have good surfboards to ride. We want to be supportive of ocean accessibility and exploration for all.
What’s the MEGA Lab underwater camera?CK: It’s a 24/7 live feed that monitors a small patch of reef in Hawaii. With minimal human disruption, we’ve been able to identify many types of reef animals already. Algae will grow on the camera, so we dive down and clean it off to nurture ongoing discovery.
How can we all contribute to preserving the environment?CK: The best way to support nature is simply to spend time in it. The physical, mental and spiritual benefits that the outdoors provide us are hard to articulate, so experiencing it firsthand is essential.
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“I pursued pro surfing while getting my PhD and my cofounder became a professor. MEGA Lab allows us to create new technology and provide it to those who need it.”
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My surroundings and style go hand in hand. In the MEGA Lab, we’re serious about ocean research but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We are comfortable in our own skin and in our style. In a place as beautiful as Hawaii, it’s hard not to be.
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Follow @themegalab
and @cliff_kapono
on Instagram
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