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 Beaches

3 Ways The Ocean Boosts Your Well-being

Here at North Shore Explorers we consider the ocean an honorary member of our family. The ocean has a way of making people feel like relaxed and we can’t get enough. Many people will visit the beach to unwind, escape and engulf themselves in paradise.

Marine Biologist and NY Times Best Selling Author, Wallace Nichols, has conducted several studies on how the water (in our case the ocean) does the brain good. Nichols says, “we all naturally have a ‘blue mind’ which is a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.”

We’ve put together some of Nichols’ work to bring to you 3 ways the ocean boosts your well-being. Keep reading to learn more.

  1. The Ocean Relaxes Our Brain

The ocean stands as a sort of vacation for our mind; it gives it a break. For most of us, our days consist of technology coming at us in all directions. Our brains are also typically swamped with information from the outside world – everything we see, hear or touch works our mind.

Just like any muscle in your body needs to be rested after repetitive stress, so does our brain. The sight and sound of the water is much simpler for your brain to process than the city noises and tv screens we associate with on a day to day basis.

All in all, the ocean allows your brain to work less.

  1. The Ocean Inspires Us to be Better

The relaxing and introspective influence that the ocean has on your brain allows you to take a step back and experience a state of amazement. The vastness of the ocean also increases your feeling of reverence towards life and the beauty around you. This helps your brain to essentially switch gears from the perspective of “I” to “we”.

When we can separate ourselves from an egocentric attitude and join a more universal mindset we heighten our empathy and connection to others. Can you imagine for a second what the world would be like if everyone lived in a home with a view of the ocean? Dare I say world peace?!

  1. Exercise by the Ocean Proves Beneficial

It is no secret that exercise is a natural (and healthy) stress-reducer. Whether you’re in it or your toes are in the sand next to it, top that experience with an extra boost from the ocean. Dr. Nichols says that “exercising out in nature, especially by [the ocean, creates] a different environment for your brain than being inside a gym where there is loud music playing, tv screens, and loads of people.”

We feel so blessed to be able to share our love of the ocean and our passion for adventure with others. We encourage all who are able to experience the beauty that is Hawaii at least once in their life. Here at NSE we offer it all – surfing, scuba diving, kayaking, paddle boarding – the list goes on. Give us a call, let us help you make adventure happen!

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

Lucky We Live Hawaii

“Lucky We Live Hawaii” is a saying you see often in the Aloha State. You may spot it on hats, tshirts, bumper stickers and surfboards. Some would even say the local phrase epitomizes the seize the day lifestyle of Hawaii and the idea that life is meant to be relished, not squandered. Hawaii residents are hardly impressed by your salary or the size of your home. Instead, they’re more concerned with how you live, and it’s one of the many elements that makes our humble cluster of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean one of the least stressed, most happy states in the United States. In Hawaii, the quality of life is measured by taking your child out for his first surf session, catching the set of the day at your favorite surf spot or beating your best time to the top of Koko Head Crater to make it for the sunrise.

Below are five examples of how the people of Hawaii embrace the Aloha lifestyle – grabbing life by the seashells and truly living for the moments that take their breath away:

Stay In Touch with Nature. It is well-known that fresh air and sunlight are beneficial, but knowing that we must also make conscious efforts to be apart of nature is hard to do when living in urban communities. In a recent study written in the Bioscience, journal people who live near areas that encourage recreation are less likely to experience depression, stress and anxiety — and Hawaii is overflowing with recreational opportunities. It is truly a place where it is impossible to step out your front door without wanting to embrace and indulge in the beauty that Hawaii has to offer.

Seek Adventure. We know chronic stress can be a bad thing, research has even found it to be related to a higher risk of dying from stroke; however, not all stress is alike. In the midst of immediate stress, the body’s adrenaline hormone is what takes over, helping us to take action. According to Men’s Health Magazine, “activities that are physically and mentally stressful help your body react better to stress in everyday life.” While some may say swimming with sharks is dangerous, we think it’s the perfect avenue to get your adrenaline kicking (after you take all the necessary safety precautions, of course!).

Seek Silence. In a world where technology has become a sixth sense, it’s sometimes difficult to find alone time; but, silence and solitude allows us to relax and renew our minds, which in turn aids us into being more productive. Additionally, some experts at Psychology Today claim that carving out some time alone may actually improve your relationships with others by helping you discover yourself!

Place Family First. For most people, the challenge of balancing work and family often turns into an ultimatum and sometimes forces family members to make impossible choices. In Hawaii, however, the concept of Ohana holds a sacred place – encouraging those who live an “aloha” lifestyle to place their families above all and to always give their family the highest of priorities.

Understand and Embrace Your Place. It can be easy to not stop and smell the roses in life. The simplicity of life on the islands paired with the never ending scenic landscape compels its residents to often take a step back to enjoy the distance from the rest of the world.

However you choose to live the Aloha spirit, we welcome you to join our ohana down in the North Shore of Oahu.  We promise to show you the best of the island all while embracing the beauty that surrounds us.  We’ll catch you on the North Side \m/

Aloha,

The North Shore Explorers Team

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