What do you think of when you think of Hawaii?
For me, it is white sandy beaches, long summer days, bikinis, beach boys surfing from dawn ‘till dusk, Hula Dancing capped off with vibrant sunsets that light up the balmy sky.
But as I found out since arriving here… It’s so much more.
Captivated by the Aloha Spirit in Oahu, Hawaii
As soon as we touched down in Honolulu on the island of Oahu, Hawaii we are welcomed by the ‘Aloha’ spirit. It is undeniable in every person we meet, not only from the locals, but the tourists alike. It’s almost like you pick it up when you arrive at the airport.
“The Aloha spirit is all about genuinely giving and not expecting anything back, about having a generous heart and being at one with this beautiful land.” These are the words of Moses Paskowitz – from one of the islands most well known surfing families. His father, Dr Dorian Paskowitz, is one of the original beach boys!
Spending a day with Moses at the Hans Hedemann Surf School where he teaches was honestly one of the best afternoons I can remember. His love for the place is infectious. With the sun on my back, and a Malibu under my feet, he took me a million miles away from my day-to-day life. “If I do nothing else, I am going to get you standing up on a board today”, he says, with his big gorgeous smile.
As I am sure you can imagine when you are filming a travel show on the world’s most famous beach of Waikiki, there really is a fair bit of pressure on me to be able to actually stand up!
So our cameraman Gary sets the surfboard up with the GoPro on the nose. He will film from the beach and Clint is out in the water alongside me with his own camera.
“Just focus Jen… You are a little warrior”, Moses keeps saying. “And you’re an Aussie so you were born to be able to surf”, he says.
First try, I am up for about two seconds, and fly straight off the board…
Second try, my legs are too close together.
“Come on, Jen, you are a little warrior”, he reminds me…
Third attempt, I manage to stay up for maybe five seconds.
And then all of a sudden, I block out the world and I focus on the palm trees on the shoreline. Gary and Clint were no longer there in my mind and neither was Moses.
The wave comes and I am up. It feels like it’s in slow motion. I’m surfing. I am gliding on the most perfect wave for me, one that feels like it goes forever.
“Welcome to Hawaii”, says Moses with his gorgeous smile. With that, let our adventure begin!
Staying at the Aqua Waikiki Wave, just a block from the beach, over the next few days we discover the island of Oahu, Hawaii, from it’s incredible shopping district along Kalakaua Avenue, to walking through the lush rain forest to the Manoa waterfall, and taking the emotional journey through one of the most popular and significant tourist attractions in the United States – Pearl Harbour. We join the millions of people who have paid respects to that fateful day on December 7, 1941 when the Japanese launched a surprised attack on America.
Our time in paradise in Oahu, Hawaii ends at Paradise Cove Luau! With a lei around my neck and a Mai Tai in my hand, before I know it, I am playing traditional Hawaiian games on the beach, laughing so hard my face hurts and chatting with fellow travellers from all over the world. Chrisanne is here from San Diego on a girls’ trip and invites me to join their table. Before I know it, we are up on stage swinging our hips attempting the Hula, lapping up the Aloha Spirit and passing it forward.
If you’ve ever visited Oahu, Hawaii and were equally impressed by the Aloha spirit, feel free to share your experiences in the comments below!