Catching up with the Kepiches August 12 2015 1 Comment
It's not everyday you find yourself waking up on another side of the world at a point break with a sibling.
Kim and Jill Kepich are sisters from Millstone Township, New Jersey who both fell in love with surfing at an early age and have turned it into a lifestyle. When not working or taking classes, the two sisters have been pursuing their dream of travelling the world to experience internationally known surf breaks in places like Fiji, the Mentawais and Bali among many others.
Kim is a 25 year old Ivy League graduate who has been surfing for twelve years and is usually the master planner of their adventures. Jill is 22 years old and has been surfing seriously for eight years. She studies Spanish online through Arizona State University and resides part time in Costa Rica, where she often competes on the National Circuit tour. Both girls are surf instructors during Jersey summers and volunteer at surf related events for good causes. Here is a glimpse into the sister connection and their adventurous lifestyle.
Photo: Fiji, 2012. Courtesy of the Kepich sisters.
What inspired you to start surfing?
Kim: I remember standing on my boogie board as a kid, saw guys surfing, and wanted to try! Once I stood up on my first wave, I was hooked! My cousins inspired me to surf everyday and get better.
Jill: Kim and I would spend every summer at the Jersey Shore and were always in the water. Kim got super into surfing first and I always wanted to do what she wanted to do so I started surfing and competing at a young age. However, it was not until I was 16 that I really got into the sport and truly fell in love with it.
What are the countries you have visited and points/breaks you have surfed?
Jill: My sister and I have been to 17 countries overall to surf, which include, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Galapagos, Fiji, Australia, Ecuador, New Zealand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Mexico, The Maldives, Barbados, Morocco, Singapore, and Taiwan. We have surfed surf breaks like G-Land in Indonesia, Raglan in New Zealand, Lohi’s in the Maldives, Soup Bowl in Barbados, Chicama in Peru, Bocas Del Toro-Panama, Santana in Nicaragua, A-Bay in Sri Lanka, Anchor Point in Morocco, and all over Costa Rica.
Nice snap! Kim this past April in Playa Hermosa, CR. Courtesy Jorge Russell
Do you have one or two favorite waves in the world of the place you have been?
Kim: I have two favorite waves in the world. As a goofy footer, I love long lefts. I was so stoked on Chicama, Peru, the longest left in the world, and Cloudbreak in Fiji!
Jill: Personally my favorite wave in the world is Cloudbreak, Fiji. It is such a fun and perfect left! I also love surfing my homebreak in Costa Rica, Playa Hermosa. It is by far one of my favorite places to surf in the world too
When did you start your business Surfing the Dream and what is your goal for this business?
Kim: We started Surfing the Dream three years ago after a lot of success with private surf lessons. We want to deliver the best personalized surf instruction to our students and help them progress! We want to keep meeting new people and spread the stoke of surfing. Our long term goals involve creating our seasonal surf lesson business into a lifestyle brand to inspire people around the world to surf and live their dreams. We would also love to run surf retreats internationally!
What is special memory you have from one of your travels?
Kim: A special memory from traveling was the first international surf trip I took with my family. We traveled to Costa Rica in 2005 and had no idea what to expect. From that point on, I was hooked on traveling and surfing around the globe. My parents are so supportive of our surf travels and I’m so thankful they brought me to Costa Rica to surf perfect waves!
Jill: When we were in Fiji a few years ago, we scored with waves! Kim and I surfed Cloudbreak for hours everyday for a week with only 5 other people in the line up. We had a blast! It was just one of those magical moments in my travels that I will never forget and one of the best weeks of my life.
Going vertical in Playa Hermosa, CR Courtesy of Jorge Russell
Do you have a particularly scary experience that you don't mind sharing?
Kim: When I was in Morocco, I got held under a 8-10 foot set at Anchor Point. I came up coughing water and I thought my lungs were going to explode. I was severely sick for 4 months following that wipeout and had to go through intensive testing. The doctors guessed that I had an amoeba from the water and we finally found the correct treatment to cure the symptoms.
Jill: Yes!!! It happened this past May at Playa Escondida, Costa Rica. The waves were super fun. After my second wave, when I was paddling back out, a big set rolled in and washed me right into the dry rock along the shore. I was pushed and tossed around on the rocks for several set waves. I was cut up along my whole body except my face and had instant bruises all over. Somehow one of the waves pushed me into the canal, I found my way back to the boat and ended my session after that with a very dinged up board!
What is the next stop on the Surfing the Dream adventure tour?
Kim: We (Jill and I ) will be going to Iceland to surf & adventure! It’s a very different trip but definitely a bucket list adventure. It’s going to be a challenge to surf in a 6mm on vacation but we look forward to visiting a new country and surfing new waves!
Kim volunteers at Sea of Change and teaches children with autism how to surf. "The events are amazing and I get so inspired by all the kids and their excitement from learning to surf!" Both girls also recently competed in Jetty’s Coquina Jam which raised money for families undergoing cancer treatments. The event also raised awareness for cancer research and treatments.
Jill and Kim in Bali, getting a fish foot pedicure! 2014 Courtesy of the Kepiches
To learn more about the Kepich sisters and their adventures Surfing the Dream, visit their website at www.surfingthedream.com and facebook page Surfing the Dream.
Jill, we look forward to seeing you back in Costa Rica soon :) To both, safe travels and happy surfing!
Kate is the owner of Pura Vida Board Gear, a surf brand that promotes surf and a quality, positive lifestyle. Currently living near Playa Jacó, Costa Rica. she enjoys connecting with the culture and diversity of the community. Connect with her on instagram @puravidaboardgear Find Pura Vida Board Gear on Facebook. Subscribe to email list here. Photo: Jorge A. Russell, Playa Jaco