From the moment I got the word that I was to start making plans for a trip to Hawaii I was hyped. I quickly got on the phone to reach our Hawaiian marketing rep Grant Fukuda to see exactly what this trip was to entail. After a short conversation about our agenda for the trip, I knew it was going to be a memorable one. Grant told me that he wanted us to come over and do a couple demos and just have a good time. Normally the words "demo" and "good time" are seldom found in the same sentence, so I was a bit apprehensive at first, but by the end of the call I had a good feeling about the trip. How bad could week in Hawaii really be? I quickly booked flights for Kris Markovich, Nilton Neves and myself.
From the moment we stepped off the plane you could feel the mellow vibe and easy pace of the island life style. We set off to meet up with Grant at his house in town where we were immediately greeted with cold Red Stripes and much aloha, the trip was already off to a good start. One of our local Hawaiian rippers Nick Yamasato came over to greet us, Nick is one of those guys that you like from the moment you meet him, so we were stoked to meet our new friend. After relaxing from the long flight and polishing off the Red Stripes we set off to the Ala Moana center to stop by and meet the good folks at the Blue Hawaii shop and grab some food. When we arrived at the shop we were greeted by the shop manager Rod Chmolack. Rod is one of the coolest guy's I've ever had the pleasure of meeting and to know we were here to help support his shop was a good feeling. After a quick walk around the shop the crew was getting hungry so Grant suggested we head up stairs from the shop to the Mai Tai bar for some food and drinks.
At this point we were already buzzed and I realized that Grant being the seasoned professional he is was already doing a great job of getting us wasted. We hadn't even been on the ground for four hours and we were already getting hammered. First off was the round of Mai Tai's followed by a drink called the Lava Flows, which would quickly become the theme drink for the trip. Luckily our food order arrived before the second round of Lava Flows did so we managed to stay somewhat coherent while trying to discuss business and details for the demos. Once we finished eating and drinking at the Mai Tai bar Grant suggested we cruise out to Diamond Head. The view from Diamond Head is incredible so we took a few minutes to stop and soak it all in while Nilton and I proceeded with our daily ritual while overlooking the beautiful Pacific.
When we got back in the van Grant suggested we go check out this hotel close by that has saltwater pools with dolphins and turtles. Little did we know it was the hotels bar that Grant fancied but as soon as we walked into the hotel it was straight to the bar for another round of Lava Flows. The hotel was amazing and very upscale, the looks we received from the hotel guests were probably more than what the dolphins receive. Grant said the president stays here when he comes to Oahu. We checked out the dolphins and turtles while drinking our Lava Flows. By the time we pulled out of the hotel we were pretty heated, all I remember was asking what was the name of that place again?
It had been a long day of travel and drinking and we started to fade so we decided to call it a day and make the one hour drive out to the country where we were staying. We rolled up to what would be our home for the week courtesy of OG pool ripper and ex pro surfer Peter King just before midnight. We entered the house and were happy to see what a nice place we would be staying at for the next week. It had been a long day so we all passed out just minutes after arriving.
Day two started off with some fun size waves just across the street from Peters house at a fun little spot by the name of Velzy Land which was named by a famous surf pioneer Dale Velzy back in the 60's. PK and I had the lineup to our selves for about an hour which is rare for the north shore of Oahu until some kook from Huntington Beach paddled out and claimed HB. That afternoon we went into town to the gallery where we would be hosting an art show/ party that night. Markovich would be displaying some pieces of art there for the party. Kris hung up his art while we sipped on more Red Stripe's from the bar. When Kris was done hanging his art we grabbed some lunch then went over to the famous Ala Park for a little afternoon session. Ala is the oldest and was the only park on Oahu for many years, This place has tons of history and was great to skate after seeing so many photos and video of it over the years. The session at Ala went off, a bunch of locals were ripping and Nilton went off with some crazy lines and banging tricks. Chris Awong threw down some solid tech tricks on the pyramid ledge and rail and Nick Yamasato ruled the session by gapping the entire pyramid to lip slide down the rail. That night the gallery party went off with all of Oahu's most well known people and skaters, like Jeff Harstel, Shogo Kubo, Bo Ikeda, Rene Mathisen and John Thomas all in attendance.
Day three was our first demo at the Hawaii Kai skate park. The turnout was huge for it being all the way out on the west side of town so we were stoked to see so many local skaters and people who came out to see the demo. Nick Yamasato and Nilton ripped the entire park while Chris Awong threw down some tech tricks and killed the main rail & euro gap. Another local shredder Joe Sancho blasted big fs 360's off the hip and I even managed to toss a couple airs off of the tasty teardrop. The Hawaii Kai demo was solid and we had fun skating with the locals.
Day four was our second and final demo for the trip at the Pearl City skate park. With another solid turnout crowd the demo went off. Nick Yamasato ripped the entire park with big speed lines and some large transfers, Nilton also ripped the transitions with a combination of speed lines mixed with some tech tricks while Chris Awong killed the main rail, euro gap and pyramid ledge with style. Joe Sancho also ripped the entire park with speed and style. We busted out the BBQ and grilled up burgers and dog's for everyone and finished off the demo with a massive product toss which sent everyone home with a smile on their face and something new from Hurley.
Aaron Astorga-Fs Air
The next three days of the trip were spent on the north shore chilling on the beach in the morning and skating in the evening. We skated this gnarly concrete ghetto bowl called Graveside as it's right next to a real graveyard. Some of the local north shore shredders built this spot with their own time and money, it's really hard to ride and super rough but the locals kill it and after two sessions Markovich and Nilton threw down some good tricks. We also were treated to a few sessions at Cholos bowl, one of Dreamlands latest creations. We blew out Cholo's one afternoon with Jeff Harstel, Mark Partain and all the local bowl rippers, it was a memorable session and a great time. If you ever have the chance to make it over Oahu I would highly recommend it. The scene and the people are amazing, big mahalo to Rod and everyone at Blue Hawaii, Grant Fakuda, Cholo Steve, Peter King for putting us up in his house for the week and to Hurley for sending us on a trip of a lifetime.