Monday, April 8, 2013


My father was the Idea Man.  He'd have an idea, then recruit others who were better suited to implement it.  Often he got the credit.  He had a lot of ideas related to surfing and canoe racing.  He had been involved in at least one international surfing competition before he left Southern California.  It was 1953, 14 years after he arrived in Hawaii, before the first Makaha International Surfing Championship was held.  The annual competion was his baby for a good 20 years, still going strong after I left home to first attend a mainland college, then marry and spend most of my adult life in California.

The competition was always held on a holiday weekend.  I don't remember which winter holiday -- I just remember my father leaving immediately after  breakfast, not to be seen again for a couple of days.  He'd come home physically tired and sunburnt, but on an emotional high from the time spent on the beach, in the surfing community, serving as announcer for the tournament.  His absence on holidays was just a part of the growing up experience. 

So it was with bittersweet memories that I set out this morning to visit friends who are spending time at their timeshare condo on the beach at Makaha, just one bay away from the famous surfing beach. 

My first reaction was to the road -- freeway with an unheard-of-in-Hawaii 60 MPH speed limit extending past Kapolei, formerly known as Barber's Point, and Ko'Ilina and the Aulani resorts, built near the beach my mother camped on as a child and knew as Brown's Beach.  Beyond the freeway the road is 4-lane highway through the ahapua'a (that is the plural -- there is no "s" in the Hawaiian language) of Nanakuli, Lualualai, and Waianae.  Where the land between the highway and the water is narrow, it is parkland, no longer busy with tent cities of the homeless.  Where there is more space, there are homes and businesses on the maka'i (towards the ocean) side reflecting the ambiance of these heavily Native Hawaiian communities.  This is the dry side of the island, so looks very different from the lush and overgrown jungle-like growth of the windward side.   Not even sugar grew out here.  Geographically, the last plantations were at Waipahu and Ewa, both on the west shore of Pearl Harbor.  I remember this area as dust, kiawe trees, dramatic ocean, rocky coast alternating with  sandy beaches ... and lots of Hawaiians. 

Nancy and Bob told me to watch for the 15-story building on the beach.  "You can't miss it!" they said.  They were right.  I stopped at a stoplight, looked up, and -- you can't miss it!  It must be at least 6 stories taller than anything around it!   Check out Makaha on Google Maps and go to street view.  You'll soon find the Hawaiian Princess condo, even without really knowing what you are looking for,  and will understand why you "can't miss it". 

Here's the building from the beach, posted to Panorama by cbrolaw. 


The condo is lovely, the beach is spectacular, and it was really wonderful to see Nancy and Bob again. The sand visible in the surf is a lesson in how the ocean moves sand around from one part of the beach to another.  You quickly learn to recognize the shape of the honu (sea turtles) in the surf.  There were at least three playing in the water today.   They have a beach a little farther up the coast where they like to go and bask in the sun after time swimming and feeding in the ocean.

Bob says on weekends there are more people, but crowded is not a word one would use to describe this beach.

Here is the view looking north towards Kaena Point and the Makaha Beach Park where those surfing tournaments were held -- just on the far side of the nearest point of land. 

I went around the corner of the  lanai to take this photo looking south, towards Diamond Head.  This is rougher water than I would be comfortable swimming in, but that doesn't make it any less inviting a place to spend a day.  This is Hawai'i at its best. 

Give thanks for old friends and long friendships.  Give thanks for warm days and sparkling oceans. 
Don't forget to pray....

1 comment:

  1. Bonnie - I love your blog. You're a good writer and an easy read. Thanks so much for sharing. I have a funny story to tell you about the Mekaha surf championships. Maybe something to share if I get to see you this fall. Best to you always... Diana


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