Kailua windsurfer dreams of being Dominican Republic Olympian with a heart from Hawaii
He dreams of representing his native country in the Olympics in a sport that helped lift him out of poverty... and be an ambassador of the islands that he now calls home.
Kailua-based windsurfer Sammy Perez Hults is originally from Cabarete, Dominican Republic, and was selected to be his country's candidate for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
"Going back home and seeing the kids who I taught how to windsurf and now I'm competing against them. For them I'm the hero. I'm the guy they learned from!" Hults says. "I feel good to see them growing fast and keeping themselves away from doing other things in the street and being on the beach and in a very beautiful environment."
Hults needs to rank in the qualifying event in Miami, Florida this January, which won't be easy. Only 25 windsurfers will get to compete in Tokyo.
Hults has spent more than half of his life as a competitive windsurfer but not in the Olympic class.
He moved to Hawaii a decade ago with his wife Kim and built a watersports school in Kailua out of his passion.
"My wife is my other coach and she keeps pushing me hard so whenever she feels like 'I think you didn't do enough, maybe we should do a little jog to start off your day,'" he says.
He practices daily at Kailua Beach and is working with top coaches and teams across the world.
He is self-funding his journey to the Olympics and is touched and thankful for all the support he's received. Inspiring future generations is what keeps the wind in his sails.
"It feels good to say I'm also representing Hawaii," he says. "Of course the flag is Dominican Republic, but my heart is here."
To find out how you can help Hults on his Olympic journey, visit his Facebook page.