GAVIN JAMES GILLETTE
NICKNAMES: Gare, Japbonjovi, Elko, Okinawan
BIRTHDAY: April 4, 1986
HOMETOWN: Kilauea, Kaua’i
FAVORITE TYPE OF WAVE: Scary Barrels, Rippable Waves
HOBBIES: Slack Key Guitar, Video Games, Fishing, Bowling, Cooking
FAVORITE FOOD: Burritos
AWARDS & ACHIEVMENTS:
Gavin has been no stranger to the ocean his entire life. Born at Kahuku hospital, his first house was right at Rocky Point. His dad a Santa Cruz surfer and mom a surfer from Palos Verdes came to the islands in search of waves and sun. His mom had him surfing big waves even in her belly.
Moving to Kilauea at 6 months, Gavin was able to grow up around the surf culture of Kaua’i where his young surfing career began. As a child, Gavin says he was hyper and always sunburned. Against the idea of giving him medicine to control his hyper behavior, his parents claimed to have put rocks in his backpack to slow him down, which in the end only made him stronger. On Kaua’i, Gavin was able to hone his surf skills amongst some of the greatest surfers and surf breaks in Hawaii, watching his idols like Bruce, Andy, and Barca pave the way.
His passion for competitive surfing and the moment Gavin knew he wanted to be a professional surfer, started at the age of ten when he competed in a small Pine Trees grom contest. In the fourth grade, he joined the Hanalei surf team, where he dove deeper into the competitive realm. During high school, Gavin competed in NSSA, and pro events like Pipeline, Sunset, and Haleiwa. He has been traveling the world since he was thirteen and been to six out of the seven continents.
After high school, Gavin took on the WQS full time. He would leave Kaua’i for more extended periods, spending a lot of his time on the North Shore of Oahu. Here, Gavin was able to perfect his barrel riding and big wave surfing, becoming a standout surfer at waves like Pipeline and Rocky Point.
Gavin has had a few set backs throughout his life that have changed and evolved his surfing career. His first major injury came at a young age. He was only 15 years old, when he pinched a nerve in his lower back putting him out for several months. His second major injury came during a crucial time in his career. At 23, he suffered an MCL tear in his left knee while traveling in Tasmania. This injury left him out for 6 months. Trying to gain his momentum back, he was hit with a another injury a year later tearing his MCL, LCL and Lateral Meniscus in his right knee. Resorting to surgery, he was out of the water for 8 months. Despite these setbacks, each year Gavin gets back in the water and continues to train hard and surf competitively on the WQS and in Prime events in hopes of qualifying for the CT.
When asked why he loves being a professional surfer? He says he enjoys competing, overcoming situations, and looking at how far you’ve come on this up and down roller coaster. He believes surfing has taught him that life is a dance and not a fight.