Hawaiian Teen Subiono Brothers Take on Miami
The Smith brothers, twins Sydney and Brooke Wells, and a plethora of other sibling duos have shot up the competitive leaderboards over recent years, and this year, teen Hawaii-natives Elijah, Kā’eo and Kulani Subiono are competing alongside each other with nearly 10 years of CrossFit training already under their belts.
Rose and Keoni Subiono, the boys’ parents, opened CrossFit East Oahu in Hawaii in 2011, and as it often happens with small businesses, the kids grew up in the gym. The oldest of five, 17-year-old Elijah was just around five-years-old when the gym opened.
- “Everybody has their first day in a CrossFit gym, they have that experience, we didn’t really have that,” said Elijah. “We just grew up with it. It’s what we do.”
Elijah’s younger siblings, now 15-year-old Kā’eo and 14-year-old Kulani, started CrossFit around the same time as their older brother. When the CrossFit Games introduced the teen division to the 2015 Games, all three decided this was the sport for them.
- “We saw Angelo Dicicco in a CrossFit video,” added Elijah, “and that was cool for us to see. Those guys kind of paved the path for all of us, and we were very inspired by that. Back in 2015, that’s when we decided we wanted to compete in this thing, and it was kind of just our destiny.”
Six years later, both Elijah and Kā’eo made their Games debut in 2021, with Elijah taking sixth in the 16-17 division and Kā’eo placing ninth in the 14-15 division. Younger brother Kulani was too young to qualify but will take his first shot at the Games in the 2022 CrossFit Open. Between the three of them, the Subiono brothers have big goals for the next season – for all three to make the 2022 NOBULL CrossFit Games.
- “I think we can,”said Elijah, “since we’re all pushing each other. I don’t see why we can’t do it.”
The brothers agree they have a training advantage, putting in work alongside each other every single day growing up. For the younger two, watching their older brother compete provided some useful learning opportunities.
- “It’s something special, it’s cool to have an older brother,” Kā’eo said. “It almost feels like it’s expected of us, to follow in his footsteps. And if he can do it, we can do it.”
Of course, the brothers admit to getting annoyed with each other often and are quick to get in a competitive jab at each other.
- “We can do it better than (Elijah) did. He didn’t make his first year, but I did. . .” Kā’eo said.
- Kulani: “It’s kind of an advantage to be able to see where he made mistakes and learn from what he did.”
Now in Miami for Wodapalooza which all three Subiono siblings qualified for in their respective divisions, each has separate and specific goals for the weekend. Kā’eo is quick to state his goal as winning the entire 13-15 division, which is stacked with 50 percent of the division having competed in Madison last summer.
One common thread within the trio is the yearning to learn through the competition:
- Elijah: “My main goal is to learn so I can make mistakes now, learn, and gain experience.”
- Kulani: “I want to learn what it’s like in such a high-skill environment against such high-skilled people.”