Danny Hawes adventuring in Hawaii

In case you haven’t been following me or my adventures (www.makemyskate.weebly.com), I have now been in Hawaii for a little over a month. I came here to escape the harsh Finnish winter and try to get my skating back to the level it used to be, as well as accomplish some other goals I have been sitting on for a little while.
Hawaii has lived up to every expectation I had and a whole lot more. I have been crashing with Ethan Lau who is a Sector 9 rider, who has grown up on the Island of O’ahu, as well as his girlfriend Nellie. The people here have been amazingly welcoming, always with smiles on their faces and this is certainly a trip I will remember for a very, very long time. I still have until the end of January here but I thought I would share some highlights with you early on. So, grab a beer, take a pew, pretend we are sitting in a pub telling drunken skating stories and enjoy!
I know you are all into your longboarding and getting sideways and shit and I am too, we will get to that I promise.
I wanna start with what was probably the biggest goal I had before I came here: I was dying to attempt to ride a backyard pool. Not be the best or master it (if that is even possible?) but just to ride it and feel it under my wheels.
A few weeks into the trip, Ethan made that dream come true. We drove out to a nameless suburb and parked the car. Ethan had said that we need to be ninja and stealthy to get into this place. We pulled up alongside a ditch that most likely runs from one of the mountains to the ocean and hopped a fence from the sidewalk down to the bottom. Being the natural that I am, I decided to drop my board down first. Of course, this made a whole lot of noise which one of the neighbours detected, so we had to wander around the ditch for a while pretending to be looking for fruit and stuff before old mate stopped watching us. First hurdle and I almost blew it!
When the coast was clear, we began walking down the ditch, there were houses above us on either side so we had to be pretty stealthy. I think I probably stepped on every crunchy leaf along the way. Finally we got beneath the yard we were heading too. The wall up was built out of a rough stone and stood around 7 feet tall or something like that. Ethan, the monkey man scaled it like he had done it a million times before (which he probably had). I on the other hand, spent the next 30 minutes cutting my forearms, hands and knees to ribbons trying to get up the damn thing. After a while I was so exhausted, my hands and arms were shaking and dripping blood. Ethan eventually had to come down so I could use my board as a ladder to get up, he then passed my board up and scaled the wall again with ease.

Skating pools was every bit as hard as I had thought. I can skate most bowls at a skatepark with relative ease, nothing fancy, just pumping around and hitting coping with my back truck. This pool was something else though. Very little transition before shooting up to vert. Tall, tight, blue, stone coping and just so steep that words cannot describe. The other thing with pools is that they normally come with a time limit. This one has a time limit of between 10 and 20 minutes before we have to scram. The spot hasn’t been busted before and of course, the locals would like to keep it that way. If we could learn to skate hills in the same way as pool skaters ride pools, downhillers would see a lot less of the boys in blue.
Unlike a skatepark, where you can linger all day and try the same thing over and over until it is dialled, the pool has little to no warm up time, get in there, do your thing and get out. I am the kind of person who likes to try something a million times before he gets it, though if we keep skating these things I am sure I will learn to learn fast… If that makes sense. There isn’t much else I can write that will give the subject justice. At this stage I am riding over the light in the deep end backside. Today for the first time I made it over twice in one ”run”, though I still can’t get up the walls in the shallow end. Frontside has always been my worst enemy so that is the next thing to work on. I hope to be able to do a full figure of eight by the time I leave. Today I learn’t the importance of the shallow end and how without it, there really is no speed or flow. The shallow end is everything.

OK, OK, I know. You are all into riding hills and going fast. Getting sideways and carving shit. The local mountain here in Honolulu would be right up your alley then. It takes forever to drive up and from the top you can choose to go down one side (long straights, sweeping corners, buttery surface, ends by taking you through suburbia) or the other side (rougher surface, 1 corner is always wet, lots  of hairpins etc.) Either way is super fun.
The locals prefer to skate at night if it is possible. Skating down a jungle road in pitch black is the kind of thing that feels so wrong in the beginning but once you get to the bottom, you realise how right it actually is. Some folk (like myself) use head torches to help (all it does is light up a few cats eyes in front of you to tell you which way the road is going) and others don’t. The head torch is no guarantee of making it though. A couple of times I have found myself half way into a right hand corner without realising that the road is actually turning right. The huge plus side though, is that you know about on coming traffic miles in advance because of the head lights.
Most of the locals use their knowledge of the road though, as well as gazing up to where there is a gap in the jungle canopy above the road. They ”simply” follow the gap all the way to the bottom. That sentence could be taken in a couple of ways now that I read it back…
Dark or night, there is fun to be had on the local mountain for sure. The council are now putting sandbars on some corners to help deter drifters getting sideways on their way up. These are just patches of loose sand in the corners which makes skating through them very interesting. What else can I say? The roads are dope.

One of my favourite things to do over here is sidewalk surf. Living in a valley, all roads go down. When I first arrived I spent most of my riding times on my Rayne Vandal riding the road. After a while, I threw some soft wheels on the Rayne Renegade and stuck strictly to the sidewalks. The driveways here are perfect for surfing in and out of as well spooking dogs. Slowing down on a sidewalk is different than on the road, speed checks have to be super quick and precise, like riding a bowl you need to know where and when to pump and where and when not to pump. Cracks and bumps go from being a hazard to regular features and certain dogs in certain yards become fun to mess with as you skate past too. If you don’t have a mini or a double kick, grab yourself one, throw some soft wheels on and stick strictly to footpaths for a day. There are things to learn and fun to be had for sure!

One of my other goals before coming here was to meet and greet Jay Adams. The man has always been a hero of mine and he is one of the few ”celebrities” who I would genuinely like to meet and buy a beer for. I heard that he was living here, chasing big waves and what not, so it seemed like it might be possible, even if it was just bumping into him at a skatepark or something.
Sad to say that he has apparently left O’ahu and headed back to California so I most likely won’t be meeting him. Tough shit I guess. I was lucky enough the other day though to skate 2 purpose built pools in the backyard of his old house. The house is still owned by a skater (who I haven’t met) so there is no fence jumping or anything like that. I have often dreamt of owning a house with an empty pool or a big bowl in the backyard and this one had both! One huge bowl and one small, tight little pool. Both were fun, both were a little tough to skate but still fun. There was some sort of Sector 9 shoot going on so I sat back for most of it and checked out the Sector team as they flew out of hips and ground the tiles for days! It was really rad to see and skating Jay Adams old backyard, felt like I had accomplished as much of that goal as I could have which was sweet.
Surfing, beaches, waves, chicks in tiny bikinis. Of course I am no surfer, that I know. Firstly, you have to wake up to early in the morning to surf. Secondly, you have to be a strong swimmer and thirdly you can’t be afraid of sandbars, rocks or reefs (which I most certainly am). There is a beach here named Sandy’s. It has mega waves, some people surf way out the back but for the most part the waves are really close in to shore and break over a sand bar so body surfing and skim boarding is the thing to do there. It is probably one of my favourite places to be. The waves are super fun, even when you get smashed it is like being in a washing machine theme park ride and you get barrelled all the way back in to shore. Surfing is something different though. I have been out twice, both times within close proximity to sharp rocks which have cut my feet and made me squeal like a little girl. I have a constant fear of getting on the board, surfing into shallow water, falling off and landing straight onto rocks or reef. If surfing is your thing, you will love it here though and it is a whole lot of fun to watch when it’s being done right!
There is so much to tell, I guess lastly would be the jungle and the huge abundance of fruit. You name it, it grows here and you can eat it for free if you know how to get it. Bananas, Mango, pineapple, oranges, avocado, coconut, passion fruit, guava… The list is endless and it’s all free! Generally we spend all day snacking on fresh fruit and then eat one solid meal at night followed by more snacking.  Asian culture is very abundant here, mix that with the huge amount of seafood available and you can eat like a king or queen here. The rainforest is friendly enough to walk through barefoot all day. This ain’t Australia, the only thing here that can bite you is mosquito’s and centipedes. The only centipede I have seen so far is one that Ethan sniffed out running about my room. It was a terrifying ordeal trying to get him outside I tell you what! Other than that, you are free to feel the mud between your toes, climb trees, slide down embankments or whatever you want. There are also water falls you can swim in and jump into from great heights. Jumping really is a must, even if you are afraid of heights, it must be done.

There are so many more things I could tell you about but my beer is now empty and there are more important things to be done (avocados upstairs with my name on them!). All I can tell you is that Hawaii is a good spot to be, if not the spot to be. If you live in America and you don’t live in Hawaii, you’re blowing it. Hands down. Blowing it! If you’re in Europe, freezing your ass off in the snow, I feel for you but you too, are blowing it. Come to Hawaii, check the place out. I have only been to one Island so far and there are a whole lot more of them I am yet to see. New things to see and do everyday and generally, just a whole lot of fun to be had. If you wanna see more photos, videos and stuff then check this page out as well as www.makemyskate.weebly.com
Catch you next time hey? Can you pay the tab this time, I forgot my wallet. Cheers, I owe you.
A MASSIVE shout out to Ethan and Nelly for all that they have done for me during my stay. I could never repay you but I hope you come to Aus and visit my Island one day. Then you will be the howlies! All the Hawaiian crew who absolutely shred and put me to shame, thanks so much for your hospitality and for including me in the sessions! Rayne Longbaords for hooking me up with planks to ride over here and Orangatang wheels for giving me some thane to shed. You are not taken for granted and I thank you for all your support from the bottom of my heart! 

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