Puka is at least twenty years old, having been first found by surfing enthusiast Victor shortly after he failed to conquer a large wave, "Humungadunga" (Japanese: ビッグ・チューズデーBig Tuesday). Victor was trying to emulate a feat achieved by his surfing hero Jan two decades ago. Puka looks noticeably older and larger than Ash's Pikachu, with wrinkles beneath his eyes. His ears have a different shape, similar to mini-humps, while most Pikachu ears are straight and pointy. His eyes are blue, while Ash's Pikachu's eyes, as well as most Pikachu eyes, are dark brown. Puka can sense big waves coming to the Seafoam Island beach where he lives, causing his eyes to glow. Incidentally, he does not use any Electric-type attacks throughout the entire episode, even when captured by Team Rocket it is Ash's Pikachu that attacks. Whether Puka can in fact use any Electric attacks is up for debate, since his cheeks do not spark during the episode either.
Puka was rescued by Victor after Team Rocket's submarine was attacked by a group of angry Gyarados. At that moment, Humungadunga made its scheduled appearance, twenty years after Victor first fell to it. Ash and his friends watched from the beach as Victor, with Puka on his surfboard, successfully rode the big wave and planted a flag atop the rock, right next to where Jan first placed his flag forty years earlier. Puka and Victor returned to shore to be greeted by Ash, Misty, and Brock, as well as by young children looking up to Victor in awe. In a similar fashion to what his hero did after riding the big wave, Victor encouraged two young surfers and gifted them Jan's surfboard.
Personality and characteristics
Puka was shown to get along with Victor very well ever since the time they first met.
Puka's English name comes from Puka shells, which are pieces of a shell belonging to a snail. They are used to make jewelry, and are very popular in Hawaii. "Puka" is also somewhat similar to "Pika", as in "Pikachu".
Puka's Japanese name, along with Victor's Japanese name (Vincent) and Jan's name, are a reference to Hollywood actor Jan-Michael Vincent, the lead actor of the movie Big Wednesday, from which their episode takes inspiration from.