DUKE KAHANAMOKU: SURFER OF THE CENTURY

Despite its overwhelming popularity, surfing – a sport native to the Hawaiian Islands – is relatively new to America (and the rest of the world). What kind of ocean enthusiasts would we be if we didn’t take some time to recognize, praise and thank the man that brought the sport of surfing alive.

Duke Kahanamoku – Hawaii’s first “Ambassador of Aloha”, “the human fish”, five-time Olympic medalist, etc. – was the first native Hawaiian to bring he`enalu (surfing) to the United States mainland. Duke was born in 1890 in Honolulu to low-ranking nobles who were in service to the monarchy. His family moved to Kalia, Waikiki when Duke was three and his obsession with the water blossomed. At the tender age of twenty-two Kahanamoku, the once naked kid who would swim through shark infested waters at the Honolulu Harbor in search of silver coins, earned a spot on his first American Olympic Swimming team – the only native Hawaiian present.

Called “The Duke” by mainland sportswriters, Kahanamoku used his athletic notoriety to bring to light the ancient art of surfing – a sport almost unheard of outside of the islands – to mainland American culture. As Duke explains in his autobiography, surfing leaves “you rewarded with a feeling of complete freedom and independence while rocketing across the face of a wave”. Kahanamoku provided surfing demonstrations, with the help of his 16-foot koa wood board sin fins, to both mainland coasts in hopes to bring popularity to the art. He never attained his goal of surfing as an Olympic event, however, by the 60’s surfing had become an important part of everyday American life – popularized by films like “Beach Blanket Bingo”, “Gidget” and the music group The Beach Boys.

Though never consumed by his fortune or fame, Duke was a natural born business man and began lending his name for a generous profit to both Hawaiian and American surfing teams, competitions and gear. Surfer magazine pronounced him as the “Surfer of the Century”.

Duke passed from a heart attack in 1968 and was mourned as the swimming and surfing champion of two cultures. It has been said that the native Hawaiians viewed Mr. Kahanamoku as a fulfilled prophecy once declared by King Kamehameha that “before the native Hawaiian race died out, one man would bring it fame.”

From all those that enjoy the island life and the surfing culture, let us say Mahalo Duke for blessing so many people with your many talents.

If you’d like to surf some of the same waves that Duke enjoyed contact us for an unforgettable experience.

North Shore Beach Guide: The Top 6 North Shore Beaches to Check Out on Oahu

The North Shore of Oahu is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. In a recent survey conducted by The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, about three and a half million visitors make their way to the North Shore at some point in their stay. Below is a list of our favorite beaches on the north side, we hope you have the chance to check them out!

Ali`i Beach Park has some of the best surfing waves on the North Shore and was dubbed “Ali’I Beach” in the early 1900’s. It’s surf break hovers over a shallow reef which provides clean, yet dangerous, conditions. There is a lifeguard on duty and public restrooms, which welcomes lots of families throughout the year.

Haleʻiwa Beach Park is definitely family-friendly. With a nice area to picnic and play, and a space to wade in the water, Hale`iwa Beach Park is long, safe and sandy. It sits close enough to Ali`i Beach to see seasoned surfers and big waves without binoculars and a nasty current.

Laniakea Beach, otherwise known as Turtle Beach, is a popular stopping place for tourists. There are no parking stalls designated for this beach, however most visitors park along the adjacent highway. If traveling with children, beware of the oncoming traffic. In recent years, the everyday crowd has grown, most often to see a glimpse of the handful of turtles that visit the beach daily.

Waimea Bay Beach Park is the most popular of North Shore breaks. During the winter the waves can reach thirty feet. If visiting the beach park during one of these swells, be sure to stay clear of the water, but take the time to enjoy the breathtaking, awe-inspiring site. Though there is a parking lot at Waimea, it is almost always full, be prepared to walk a little bit before setting up your beach gear.

Banzai, Pipeline is located directly across from Sunset Beach Elementary School. “Pipe”, as the locals call it, is the longest continuous stretch of wide beach on Oahu and is home to some of the best surfing in the world. Parking is limited and lifeguards are on site.

Sunset Beach, known for its beautiful Hawaiian sunsets, may be the most famous of the North Shore beaches. Pack some water, food and sunscreen and plan to stay for a while – you won’t regret it.

If you aren’t already in Hawai`i, we hope that you plan the time to pay us a visit. We may be a little biased here at North Shore Explorers, but we’re pretty sure the North Shore holds the most beautiful beaches on O`ahu. Whether you live on the island and need a little help navigating your way around or are coming in from the mainland and need a lot of help planning a vacation, give us a call! Let us help you explore, it’s what we do!

Aloha,

The North Shore Explorer Team

Oahu Biking

Hawaii Business Magazine: Pedal Power

We were recently featured in Hawaii Business Magazine’s article entitled Pedal Power.  In summary, the article talks about the fact that there are more bicyclists on Oahu roads then ever before.  The article further discusses the biking options now available on Oahu and how the demand for biking has helped to grow many local businesses.  An excerpt of the article is below:

Thirty-four miles away, in Kahuku, Brett Lee has had similar success. Lee is the owner of Hele Huli Adventure Center at the Turtle Bay Resort. The one-stop center offers bike, moped, Segway and snorkel rentals as well as guided tours.

“Bike rentals have rocketed up to the No. 2 spot in overall revenue for my company,” says Lee, who started Hele Huli in 2009. He estimates that 500 to 600 people, most of them hotel guests, rent bikes from the center each month.

To meet demand, the resort opened a 3-mile mountain-bike trail in 2015, and plans to add three more miles. “There exists 12 miles of multi-purpose trails already, but it’s much more appealing to people when there’s a specific trail system for bikes only,” says Lee, adding that the center has also hosted racing events for kamaaina.

Lee says he also gets visitors, nearly daily, who rent his bikes to ride off-campus for lunch at one of Kahuku’s famous shrimp trucks, or to visit the North Shore’s renowned surf breaks. “Bikes allow them to make that trek and explore (the North Shore) in more intimate fashion,” he says. “Unlike in a car, you can take in all the sounds, smells. Your senses are more stimulated.”

To read the full article, please click on the following link:  http://www.hawaiibusiness.com/pedal-power/

Aloha,

North Shore Explorers

Stand Up Paddle Surfing: Then & Now

If you’ve noticed heavier crowds through Sunset Beach on Oahu’s North Shore it’s more than likely due to the 2017 World Tour Opener, Sunset Beach Pro, for Stand Up Paddle Surfing. The APP (Association of PaddleSurf Professionals) World Tour delivers live and post-produced coverage from the very best in the world battling it out year-round for Professional Paddle Surfing & Racing World Championship Titles across premier networks worldwide.

The Sunset Beach Pro opened February 11th and ended on February 24th. The contest featured Men, Women and Youth divisions. Consisting of both trials (open entry) and main event, with the top four trialists advancing to the main even in both Men and Women divisions.

Although SUP has more recently become an organized sport, stand up paddling in some form or another, has been around for thousands of years. Ancient cultures from South America to Africa used boards, canoes, and other watercraft propelled with a long stick to travel, fish and even ride waves. And while stand up paddling may have developed in various places around the world, the modern surfing tradition has undeniable Hawaiian ancestry. In the 1940s surf instructors in Waikiki, like Duke Kahanamoku, Leroy and Bobby AhChoy, would take paddles and stand on their boards to get a better view of the surfers in the water and incoming swells. From time to time they would surf the waves themselves using the paddle to steer the board.

Overtime the respect and popularity for SUP has grown tremendously. The sport has been found to provide a great core workout, as well as increased visibility both above and into the water, making it 2009’s single fastest growing part of paddle sports in North America.

The slower traffic through Sunset Beach may be less than desirable in these next few weeks, but take some time to appreciate the fast-growing sport for what it is. Park on the side of the road to watch a heat or two, you’ll be amazed at what the professionals do. If their skill sparks a SUP interest in you, be sure to stop by one of our three North Shore Explorers locations to get your hands (and feet) on one today.

Aloha,

North Shore Explorers