Paddling out into the Queen’s lineup during a recent session, I could feel the mana. Maybe it’s because it was the break where I had learned to surf so many years ago that I could feel it. Perhaps it was because the sun was beginning to sink below the watery horizon, transforming the sky from a deep blue to a glorious explosion of orange and yellow and red. It could have been the fact that given the time of day, the lineup was quickly thinning and a 2-4 foot swell was continuing to vibrate through the area. Though it was likely all the above, and more.
As I slid down fun-size, slowly breaking walls of water, I continued to take in the mana, glancing at Diamond Head and imagining all those who had gazed upon the volcanic cone. Like Hawaiian royalty. Duke Kahanamoku and the lineage of Beach Boys, too. And all those who have come from the corners of the earth to see the idyllic paradise for themselves.
After riding back to back waves, I paddled out and took a moment to rest, staring at the multi-storied buildings that lined the horizon. I thought about this contrast created from Diamond Head and the Kalakaua Avenue strip: historical and timeless and vintage clashing with the modern and the technology and the now.
But it’s not just Queen’s where you feel this surreal and contrasting experience in quality waves. In this issue, dedicated to Town, we break down four locales that offer both high performance opportunities and the chance for mellow longboard sessions, intertwined with fascinating historical aspects: Queen’s, Bowls, Kewalos and Sandy Beach (page 34). We also examine a cast of characters that make the South Shore lineups so interesting, like a profile on Arthur “Toots” Anchinges, who is regarded as one of the most stylish longboards at Queen’s today (page 50). We also talk story with a close-knit crew of wahines who call Queen’s their home break (page 60): 11-year-old Sophia Culhane, 12-year-old Kelis Kaleopaa, 13-year-old Haley Otto, 13-year-old Keani Canullo and 14-year-old Samantha Rust.
After catching a few more waves, the darkness had turned my wave selection into a guessing game. I caught one more wave in, sliding towards the city lights. My feet touched sand, and after a quick rinse at the beach shower, I stepped onto the street, walking amongst a thick crowd of tourists and locals. The mana gave way to a sensation of a city bustle, two feelings that – when mixed together – exemplify what we call Town.