How To Surf Without Getting Wet

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How To Surf Without Getting Wet

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Destination: Oahu
Jul 21, 2010

1. Stop by Nico’s at Pier 38, because a surfer has to fill up the tank for a good workout. If you’re up for the dawn patrol, order the fish and eggs. If you’re more of a late riser, go for the Furikake Pan-Seared Ahi with Ginger-Garlic-Cilantro dip. And you don’t have to hit the ATM before you head out. Prices are shockingly reasonable, especially for the portions and quality. Do I sound like a believer? I am.

2. Pull out the iPhone or GPS and type in “Bishop Museum” and “Honolulu.” The directions couldn’t be easier. Depart Nico’s and take a left on Nimitz Highway. Turn right on Waiakamilo Road and follow it under H-1 where it turns into Houghtailing Street. Turn left on Bernice Street. Drive .3 miles, and you’re there—Bishop Museum.

Founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in honor of his late wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, last descendent of the royal Kamehameha family. Today, the museum is recognized internationally as the premier natural and cultural history institution in the Pacific. If you want to learn about Old Hawaii, this is the place. I was once asked by a visitor, “Where are the Hawaiians?” I was a bit taken aback by the question, but as I walked the grounds of Bishop Museum last week, I realized—apart from canoe clubs and the ocean’s waves and Hawaiian music venues and all kinds of other places—today’s Hawaiian community frequents Bishop Museum. According to the museum’s website, “serving and representing the interests of Native Hawaiisn is a primary purpose of the Museum.” And it is.

Now through September 6, 2010, the museum presents, “Surfing: Featuring the Historic Surfboards in Bishop Museum's Collection.” As you would expect from a museum, this exhibit tends to focus on artifacts, including more than 25 historic surfboards, an examination of which illustrates the evolution of surfboard design and the sport itself—from 150-pound, rounded-bottom trunks to square-tailed flat-bottomed planks to hollow, “light-weight” board innovated by Tom Blake in the 1930s and weighing 56 pounds. Keep in mind, today’s professional-weight surfboard generally comes in at a mere 3.5 pounds, give or take an ounce.

Two modern-day surfboards—one longboard and one shortboard—are included in this exhibit, and, believe it or not, they are interactive exhibits—surfing simulators. I wanted to give it a go, but I would have had to elbow children and tutu—grandmothers—out of the way. I guess that’s the appeal of surfing—everyone wants to give it a go.

This exhibit also features an extensive collection of historic images, including the ones I posted to this blog of Duke Kahanamoku on July 17, 2010.

3. And that brings me to Duke’s Canoe Club, a restaurant on Oahu memorializing the “Father of International Surfing” with dozens of photographs and posters of the legendary surfer, his brothers, surfing friends and many local, national and international celebrities. It’s said that in his youth, Duke preferred an old-school board—a sixteen-foot, 114-pounder made from the wood of a koa tree. Later in life, he went for smaller and lighter boards but tended to stick with wood. Beachside, Duke’s Canoe Club overlooks the spot where Duke is famous for riding a monster wave—some say 30 feet; others day 35 feet—for one, 1-1/8 or 1-1/4 miles, again depending on whom you ask. Whatever the exact height and distance, it was spectacular enough to go down in lore.  And may I add that contemplating all this goes better with Duke's Canoe Club's own famous feat:  the Fish Taco Plate.

4. You have until the end of the month to head over to the Doris Duke Theater at the Honolulu Academy of Art for the 3rd annual Honolulu Surf Film Festival. The day I went, Gum for My Boat and Fiberglass and Megapixels screened. If the rest of their films are as good as these two, you’ll want to head over there pronto.

for the 3rd annual . The day I went, and screened. If the rest of their films are as good as these two, you’ll want to head over there pronto.

5. It may sound like a good excuse for a margarita, but the Honolulu Surfing Museum at Jimmy Buffett’s at the Beachcomber quite impressed me. Whereas Bishop Museum’s exhibit covers the early years of the sport, this display is more geared toward its modern rise. Both exhibits focus on the key piece of equipment for the sport: the surfboard. And when in Jimmy Buffett’s neighborhood, oh, heck, you might as well order a margarita.




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