Vacations & Travel - - Tried & Tested - By Carla Gros­setti

It’s while sit­ting at the stern of an out­rig­ger ca­noe as it rushes down the face of a three-foot wave off Waikiki Beach in Hawaii that I gain more of an un­der­stand­ing of the Hawai­ian pas­sion for moana (ocean).

Although the sin­gle-hulled ca­noes were orig­i­nally cre­ated for liveli­hood and trans­porta­tion around the South Pa­cific, to­day they are used to in­tro­duce tourists to the thrills as­so­ci­ated with the wa­ter sport, which re­mains an in­te­gral part of Hawai­ian in­dige­nous cul­ture.

Faith Surf School in­struc­tor Isa­iah Moniz ob­serves the wa­ter whip­ping my face and laughs: “You just re­ceived a Hawai­ian bless­ing.”

While my maiden foray glid­ing to­ward the shore feels like a joy ride, the Poly­ne­sian con­nec­tion to the boats made from na­tive koa hard­wood is a lot more pro­found. “The Poly­ne­sians per­formed great feats of nav­i­ga­tion in the wa’a (ca­noes), sail­ing the ocean us­ing the stars, wind and cur­rents,” says Isa­iah.

Isa­iah’s fa­ther started Faith Surf School in 2000 and the busi­ness is now Hawaii’s largest and most pop­u­lar surf school.

These an­cient Hawai­ian pas­times are some of the in­dige­nous cus­toms that Out­rig­ger Re­sorts ac­tively pro­motes in order to en­cour­age trav­ellers to ‘Es­cape Or­di­nary’.

This year, Out­rig­ger cel­e­brates its 70th an­niver­sary, hon­our­ing the le­gacy of its found­ing mem­bers – Roy and Estelle Kel­ley – and the story of a brand that has mor­phed from a sin­gle Waikiki ho­tel into a global port­fo­lio of some 37 prop­er­ties dot­ted around Hawaii, the Asia Pa­cific and In­dian Ocean.

While Out­rig­ger Waikiki Beach

Re­sort cel­e­brates the Aloha State’s

‘lo­cal beach and surf cul­ture’, sis­ter prop­erty, Out­rig­ger Reef Waikiki Beach Re­sort in­tro­duces vis­i­tors to Hawai­ian tra­di­tions such as hula danc­ing and strum­ming a ukelele.

Here, at Out­rig­ger Reef, ‘am­bas­sador of aloha’ in­struc­tor Luana Mait­land shows us how to fol­low the ka­holo,

a four-beat pat­tern for our feet, and to move our hips like palms start­ing to sway. Luana’s moves are se­duc­tive, and her soft singing, which rises and falls in vol­ume, helps us get a feel for the sim­ple moves in The Huk­i­lau Song.

Luana says while vis­i­tors to Oahu are ini­tially en­ticed to its sandy beaches, world-class surf and the sil­hou­ette of its ma­jes­tic Di­a­mond Head moun­tain, they of­ten leave the is­land State feel­ing blessed after learn­ing more about the lo­cal cul­ture. She says she is very happy to be the ‘am­bas­sador of aloha’ for Out­rig­ger Re­sorts as she gets to de­vote time each day to re­viv­ing as­pects of the an­cient cul­ture. “Be­ing Hawai­ian means al­ways be­ing sur­rounded by mu­sic and dance. Grow­ing up, noth­ing was ever doc­u­mented. What we were taught by the chiefs and our kahuna was so we would un­der­stand our cul­ture and be able to pass it on,” she says.

“It’s very im­por­tant to me that

I get to share the cul­ture that was taught to me by my fam­ily. What

I teach you is not what I learnt from a book. Hula is the lan­guage of the heart and ev­ery­thing in Hawaii comes from the heart.,” Luana says. •

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