Chelsea Yamase, whether she knows it or not, is quickly becoming the Garden Isle’s Ambassador Princess.When she’s not adorning the cover of Kauai Magazine or various other periodicals, Chelsea is probably in her first home; the ocean. We at Outdoor Junkiez are very excited to have Chelsea on-board and welcome the opportunity to share her enchanting lifestyle. Here’s a little interview for you to get to know our newest ambassador and hopefully get inspired to get out and live like Chelsea. Aloha and enjoy!
OutdoorJunkiez: What inspires/motivates you to get out and free dive?
Chelsea: I’ve always loved the ocean. Free diving for me is exactly that freedom. In order to free dive you absolutely have to relax… the calmer you are, the more precise your movements, the longer you can hold your breath. So I find that it’s like a type of meditation and a chance to focus on just my body and immediate surroundings in a world that seems increasingly chaotic.
I was initially motivated by other divers, like the incredible spear-fisher woman Kimi Werner. Now, I’m addicted to exploring new things. Who doesn’t want to start their morning off by swimming with a pod of dolphins?
OJz: Where are your top 5 favorite places to dive (Kauai and or all time)
1) Sharks Cove
2) Electric Beach
3) Sheraton Caverns
4) Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
5) Moorea, Tahiti

Ko Phi Phi, Thailand. PC Eric via Flickr

OJz: What’s it like being a female free diver?
Chelsea: Sometimes I hesitate to consider myself a “free diver” since it never was my intent. I started out because I enjoyed swimming caves and naturally developed my breath hold from there. That being said, it is a mixed bag being a female free diver. At times it’s challenging to find gear that fits me and it isn’t something I can do with most of my girl friends or even most of my guy friends. Most guys are either in awe or mildly annoyed when you can go deeper or hold your breath longer than them haha.
OJz: What are your go to fins, mask, weights, etc?
Oama mama small

Chelsea at home with the fishes – North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii. PC Jake Marote

Chelsea: I don’t have a super elaborate set up like some people do. Most of the people I dive with are extremely into diving so it’s hard to compare. I use a Nadia low volume mask, simple snorkel, Omer rubberized weight belt with two or three 2 lb weights (depending on wetsuit), Hawaii Skin Diver fins “stiff”, fin socks and fin keepers. I have a hard time with fins because not too many companies make foot pockets in tiny sizes (I’m a women’s 6.5). I have a dive float and some other extra gear, but that’s what I dive with all the time.
OJz: Tell us about one of your favorite dives..

Chelsea: There are certain moments that I’ll never forget. Probably my most special dive occurred early one morning at Waimea Bay. My friend and frequent dive partner, Jake Marote and I swam out with not much happening. The day before had been really horrible for me and Jake was flying to the Big Island that night so we decided we wanted to swim just to clear our heads. We picked up some trash in the water, and were hoping some dolphins would swim in to the Bay. I was starting to get cold so we began to swim towards shore. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I was surrounded by thousands of Oamas and some Opelu. The Oamas were so docile they almost seemed like they were in a trance, just swaying together in the current. I would drop down and swim slowly through them and they would part just in front of my hands. It was so surreal that at times I completely forgot I was even holding my breath. I felt so blessed.

Chelsea and friends

There’s no feeling like this – North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii. PC Jake Marote

OJz: What’s it like calling Kauai home?
Chelsea: Having Kauai as a home is amazing. Yes, it’s slow paced at times, but it’s heaven for me. I only got into free diving really this last year and before that I did a lot of hiking, horseback riding, surfing, etc… Kauai has all of those things. Unfortunately, the water is murkier here compared to the other islands because we have so many rivers affecting the clarity.
OJz: What’s your favorite beer? While traveling, after a dive or in general?
Chelsea: Hahah that’s a funny one for me. I actually don’t drink beer or any alcohol for that matter. Never been drunk or high in my life. Maybe I’m weird, but I think I get enough endorphins from adventuring.
Stay tuned for more stories from Chelsea and the Garden Isle as we take a look at her surfing and growing up with deep sea fishing. Her photos are stunning, follow her on Instagram for outdoor inspiration like we do@chelseakauai
Liked reading about our ambassadors? Here’s another story from one of our Ambassadors, Liz the Raw Vegan.Think you’ve got what it takes to be an ambassador? Shoot us an email?boom.