Stab Magazine | If You Lose 50 Pounds, You're (Probably) Gonna Surf Better

If You Lose 50 Pounds, You’re (Probably) Gonna Surf Better

How to shave liters off your surfboard and inches off your waist with Keoni ‘Burger’ Nozaki. 

style // Jul 10, 2020
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The “good life” is riddled with negative consequences. 

Whether it’s an aggrieved spouse, an unforeseen addiction, or an equatorial waistline, no man can indulge incessantly and walk away unscathed.

In the case of Keoni ‘Burger’ Nozaki, an extended trip to Indonesia resulted in the Hawaiian’s 5’2 frame taking on a rather pear-ish shape, the scale reading 180 pounds (82 kg) at his ripest point. 

Upon returning home, Burger decided enough was enough. He put down the nasi goreng and, with the help of Hawaiian sweat sultans Billy Kemper and Kahea Hart, picked up a medicine ball. Over the past nine months, Burger has lost just under 50 pounds, gone down 4-5 waist sizes, and shaved 3 liters of foam from his surfboards. 

Below, Burger discusses how this transformation occurred and the effect it’s had on his physical form, mental health, and most importantly, his surfing. 

Stab: Hey Burger. What have you been up to? 
Keoni ‘Burger’ Nozaki: Not much, just trying to surf as much as I can and avoid all the bullshit 

We just saw your post the other day and we’re pretty amazed at your transformation. Do you want to tell me a little bit about that?
Well, I just came back from Bali and I was pretty overweight. I was just having a little bit too much of a good time over there [laughs].

How long were you in Bali? 
That was last summer, and I was there for like four or five months hanging out with Pete Matthews, the …Lost crew, and Mason and everyone. It was pretty fun. 

And what, you just did a bit more eating and drinking than surfing? 
Yeah. I did a lot of surfing too, but you know, when you’re just having a great time with so many amazing people, you’re going to get a little carried away. And that’s part of, you know, living, I guess. But you got to have moderation on it. That’s what I’m trying to realize.

What were your biggest indulgences? Are you a beer and burgers kinda guy? 
Yeah, I mean beers and plate lunches. Basically just carbs. Pure carbs. And then, you know, McDonald’s and other fast food. Who doesn’t like fast food? You wait five minutes and you get the fucking whole meal for $9. In Bali it’s like $5.  

Is that where your nickname comes from? 
No, actually my nickname came from Mason’s mom. It’s one of those things I hated as a kid, but next thing you know, everyone’s calling me Burger. At a certain point, it’s like, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. 

Okay, let’s come back to late 2019. So you get back to Hawaii, and it’s coming into winter, and what? Did somebody to tell you, like, “Burger, you’re not looking too good, dude. You gotta get it together.”? 
Nah, nobody told me anything. But it just came down to me not having a schedule in my life. You know, I got to work, surf, hang out with all me friends. I was enjoying life the best I could, like anyone would. I’m in a blessed situation, but I just realized I was overweight and just wanted to change my lifestyle. 

And that was in November? 
That was October 11th, I think is the exact date. 

Okay. October. So then what? How did you make the change? 
I changed pretty much everything, from my diet, my lifestyle, and the people around me. I just started to take it a little more serious and kind of be conscious about my health and everything in life in general—you know, how to treat people, how to be a better version of myself and just everything. Just drop all the negative, cut all that negative shit out. Positive, positive, positive, positive, positive thinking, positive fucking attitude, positive movement, positive everything. That’s pretty much it. 

It’s amazing how much a person’s psychology can affect their physical form. 
Yes. I agree with you a hundred percent on that. 

But you’ve also been training though, is that right? 
Yeah, I’ve been training with Kahea Heart and Billy Kemper for a while. I’ve been training five to six days a week, but often twice or three times a day. ‘Cause we’ll hit the sauna, but I suppose the third one is more like recovering. Not really training. 

And what about diet? What have you been eating lately? 
I try to eat more veggies and good stuff, but the main thing is eating smaller portions. I also quit drinking. That’s made a huge difference. I quit June 1st, so it hasn’t been that long, but I can already feel the effects. 

And weed?
I definitely love to smoke my herb here and there, don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to hide that because I support it a million percent. 

Well, whatever you’re doing is working. You lost 50 pounds, which is a big number for anyone, but especially a person who started at 180. Are you having to ride different size boards now? 
Oh fuck yeah. Thank God for all the guys at …Lost. They’ve been helping me out since I was a fat little kid. I think I’ve had to reorder my boards like three or four times throughout this process. I feel kind of bad, but I do the trade-in, I get the boards back [laughs]. I even help around the shop and make sure the boards get resold. I do my part. Sometimes you gotta fucking put in the work. 

So what were you riding back then, and what are you riding now?
I was riding 26 liters, all stock dims. My standard shortboard would be 5’8 x 18.5 x 2.3 x 26L, maybe more. But now I dropped down to a 5’7 x 18.25 x 2.25 x 23L. 

Screen Shot 2020 07 09 at 3.22.51 PM

Guy is so light he can’t even keep his foot on the pad. Photo: @jon.reiter

And do you feel like you’re surfing better now? 
Fuck. Yeah. I definitely feel lighter. Faster. Yeah, for sure. 

And what about waist size? Where did you start and where are you at now? 
I was wearing like 32 or 33. Now I’m at 28s, and they’re even starting to feel a bit big for me. Do they even make 27 or 26 in men’s? Am I gonna have to go to the kids section?

[Laughs] I don’t know, man. That’s tiny! Maybe drop by McDonald’s on your way home from training… 
Hahahaha. Yeah, I probably deserve a cheat meal, don’t I?


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