Just as the legend Duke Paoa Kahanamoku surfed the epic waves of Waikiki, our Waiākea surf team took to the waves last week and made history!
Surf legend Michael Ho returned to Queen's beach and surfed the waves that began his journey in professional surfing 60 years ago at age 6. In a talk story moment with him he shared, “This is where it all started. I’ve got chicken skin [goosebumps] being back here surfing again”. Being able to witness him not only surf like the legend he is, but to make our younger surfers who are on their way to becoming legends of their own feel like a family was such a highlight.
Joining Uncle Mike was the incredible Nique Miller, Ēweleiʻulaikalaniākea Wong, Tara Sachi, and Matthew Vasquez. Each a talented surfer and an amazing person, who embody Waiākeaʻs foundational value of living aloha. They were stoked to jump in and catch some epic waves!
To accompany these epic surfers, our team hit the beach with a goal to keep all of Waikiki hydrated throughout the week. Connecting with the community through wai [water] is so rewarding and a way for us to put a face behind the bottle. Our surfers caught the giveback bug and took to handing out water on the beach in between their heats.
Not only did they have fun (which was the goal) but they were able to bring home the win. This was the first year we entered a team and we only dreamed of this outcome. This win signifies more than just a trophy; it marks an emotional full circle for Uncle Mike Ho and a nod to the legacy he has built over decades.
The entire week was such a profound feeling of aloha that flooded Waikiki. We could never do this alone and want to mahalo our amazing partners.
Bottles4College is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit Organization spearheaded by Genshu Price, a 15-year-old Hawaii kid, on a Mission to collect recyclable bottles and cans to pay for the college tuition of Hawaii kids who want to go to college. Genshu and his ʻohana provided us with recycle bins, large recycle bags, and arranged pick up for all of the recycling that we collected throughout the week. Recycling is such an important part of all of our events and having partners like Bottles4College that use our Oceanplast Bottles to give back to the community is the best!
We also partnered with Hawaiʻi Literacy, whoʻs mission is to empower Hawaii’s children and adults with essential reading, writing, and lifelong learning skills, to do a book drive on the beach! To our surprise the community came out in full force and donated over 200 books for keiki in their community! Hawaiʻi Literacy accepted the donations and will be sharing them with keiki across the island of Oʻahu.
Our ambassadors are the best partners we could ask for and so many of them joined us at Dukeʻs Oceanfest this year. Our amazing team consisted of Aaron Kai, Brianna Cope, Dillon Pakele, Kamalani Dung, and Kaitlyn Leary Malaney. Aaron Kai brought his art to the keiki of Waikiki through a painting workshop right on the beach. The kids painted his iconic wave and had the best time! Who wouldʻve thought painting on the beach would be so much fun!
We had such a great time this year at Dukeʻs Oceanfest and we canʻt wait for next year!