I was in Hawaii a few months back and as always I’m impressed by the local Hawaiians. Most of us never see how the locals interact amongst each other, we’re too busy marveling at sunsets or checking when happy hour is for cheap MaiTais.
But there is a feeling of Aloha here, that isn’t in the greeting that the desk clerk gives you or the guy trying to sell you a time share on the beach in Ka’anapali, the real Aloha is much deeper than that, it’s often the gift of sharing or giving.
I witnessed this on Waikiki beach, on our second day in O’ahu. My wife had never been on an outrigger canoe to do a surf ride. These things are marvelous in the water. They can weigh over 2,000 pounds, but when an experienced Hawaiian oarsman is on the tiller, they can be made to ride the surf almost to the shore.
We found a captain, Dennis, who took us out on a 6 man outrigger with his crewman. My wife and I took in instructions as we dug our paddles into the blue water out to the surf break.
Then we waited with other surfers for a wave. Captain Dennis watched each wave come, and when he saw the right one, he yelled “Nalu,” in Hawaiian which meant wave. We dug those paddles in as hard as we could and then we could feel the waves pick the big boat up. With paddles raised high, we road that massive outrigger towards the shore.
I didn’t notice the old man on his surf board until we came out the second time. I’d seen him walk by us on the beach sometime before. He was thin, his skin an almost ebony with long grey hair and gentle face. He wore a simple swim suit that did nothing to hide his bony frame. I couldn’t tell if he was Asian, Hawaiian, or a Caucasian who’d been out in the sun all his life and just baked a hard and brittle brown.
Our second time out, Dennis said, “here comes a really big wave, you’re going to love this one.” We both waited, paddles raised for the command to dig hard. It never came, the big wave passed under our boat.
The old man paddled hard and caught the big wave and we watched him ride it like a magician towards the beach. He was light and masterful, his feet moved on the board as if he was playing music.
We caught another wave. I have no idea how big it was, but it was sufficient to move our big boat. We had another great experience. My wife loved it.
When we came back out for our third surf with the boat, we paused in the line of surfers. The old man was there, he called out to Dennis, “I thought you were going to take that big wave.”
Dennis said, “No, I left it for you.”
The old man simply said, “Thank you.”
And that was it. I witnessed this spirit of Aloha, and giving that happens amongst Hawaiians. Many of them have lost their land, and had to fight to retain their heritage, but here on the ocean, one Hawaiian could give the gift of a wave to another.
I learned later from a local who was renting a kayak to me in Ka’anapali that the truest form of respect is to give. This is the sincerest form of what Aloha means to Hawaiians.
I thought about this on my return flight back to Canada. Hawaii has so much to offer in it’s shops and classy stores. On Waikiki Beach you can purchase a Rolex watch or a special handbag for thousands of dollars.
But to give the gift of respect to and old man, to allow him the feeling of joy as he takes a perfect wave towards the shore…that is priceless.
I hope you enjoyed my little story. On my website, www.lylenicholson.com I have left the first three chapters of all my four books for your review. Thank you for reading my blog.