Waikiki Classic Gives Girls A Chance To Connect With Surf Culture

The Waikiki Classic is June 8-9
Tom Servais

Next weekend, on June 8-9, the third annual Waikiki Classic surfing competition will take place on Queens Beach in Hawaii. The event, which is sponsored by Roxy, will feature some of the biggest names in women’s surfing today, including World Longboard Champion and Waikiki native Kelia Moniz, pro-surfer Rosy Hodge and four-time world champion, and surfing legend, Lisa Anderson.

For two days these ladies will get the opportunity to show what they can do on the water, riding the big waves with skill and finesse. But that isn’t the only thing that makes this event so special. As a lifestyle brand for active and adventurous young women, Roxy also hopes to make the sport of surfing more approachable for anyone who would like to give it a try. With that in mind, the Waikiki Classic is actually open to all female surfers ages six and up. Registration is even free, removing yet another barrier to entry.

The Classic will give those taking part in the event the opportunity to experience the thrill of competing in a big time surfing competition, complete with cheering crowds, even if they are amateurs that are new to the sport. There will be prizes and awards up for grabs and the event even serves as an ASP Longboard Pro qualifier, giving someone the opportunity to earn a spot on the World Tour. And for those in attendance on the beach there will be plenty of activities as well, including prizes, games, autograph signings and more.

As an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys action sports, I love that this event takes such an active stance on giving young women an opportunity to get involved with the sport. Anything that encourages young people to become more engaged with outdoor activities is a good thing as far as I’m concerned and I applaud Roxy and the organizers of the Waikiki Classic for making the event so accessible.

The local flavor of Oahu: Hawaiian shave ice

The recipe for Hawaii’s signature dessert is simple: fill a cup with a mound of finely shaved ice and then top it off with a sugary syrup of your choice. If you want to get creative, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or azuki bean paste at the bottom of the cup, or top it off with a “snow cap”-some sweetened, condensed milk drizzled over the top.

Although the recipe seems like a piece of cake, there’s actually much more to the Hawaiian shave ice. The treat was actually introduced by Japanese immigrants working on sugar plantations, who would shave fine pieces from large blocks of ice using Japanese swords that were family heirlooms. The tradition actually goes back even further to the turn of the first millennium in Japan, when ice would be brought down from the mountains in the winter and stored in caves. Eating the flavored ice was a luxury reserved for royalty only, but in Hawaii it became commonplace.

When first introduced to Hawaii, shave ice was sold solely on Sundays-the only day of the week immigrants rested. Now, its available pretty much anytime and anywhere in touristy areas-but don’t be fooled. Not all shave ice is created equal.

With some tips from locals (and after much debate), we’ve culled together a list of five of the best places to get shaved ice on the island of Oahu.

Matsumoto Shave Ice
: This classic shave ice stand in the North Shore of Oahu has been dishing out colorful treats since 1951. On sunny days, the shop sells around 1,000 cones of shave ice to surfers, locals, and happy tourists.
66-87 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa; 808-637-4827

Aoki’s Shave Ice: In a little red shack down the road from Matsumoto is Aoki’s, a family-run business that has been serving shave ice for over 25 years. Although the line is typically long (especially on hot days), the wait is well worth it-and there’s plenty of mom-and-pop kitsch to look at to kill time.
66-117 Kamehameha Hwy., Haleiwa; 808-637-7017

Waiola Shave Ice: If you can’t make it to the North Shore, Waiola is a little piece of shave ice heaven in Honolulu. The store can be a little difficult to find, but once you get there the shave ice is cheap, they have a wide variety of flavors, and the ice is deliciously fine-like powdery snow. With a delectable melt-in-your-mouth texture, this place comes with my personal “severe brain freeze warning.”
2135 Waiola St., Honolulu; 808-949-2269

Ailana Shave Ice: Also in Honolulu, Ailana Shave Ice has a mission to serve “fresh and tasty homemade syrups” to the masses. Try some of the local flavors-lychee, melona, or haupia-or stick to classics like blue Hawaii, pineapple, strawberry, or the ever-popular rainbow. This place also serves plate lunch on weekdays.
1430 Kona St., Honolulu; 808-955-8881

Shimazu Store: Tucked away in Honolulu’s Chinatown is this neighborhood convenience store that whips up some mouthwatering shave ice. Lots of flavors-including red velvet, root beer, and crème brulee-are on the menu, and the portions are larger than most other shave ice places. If you’re feeling up for the challenge, there’s an oversized option called “The Larry” that is extra, extra large.
330 N School St., Honolulu; 808-371-8899

(All photos by Libby Zay)

Top ten overrated U.S. travel destinations/attractions

Whether or not you’re an American, there are certain places that are on almost everyone’s must-visit list. Some tourist traps, like the Grand Canyon or Disneyland, are worth joining the masses and ponying up the entrance fee (although I just checked the Magic Kingdom’s website, and Mickey and friends are bilking the parents of children under nine for $68 a pop).

Other much-lauded, highly anticipated hot-spots are simply not worth the time and expense. This is, of course, highly subjective: one man’s Las Vegas dream vacation is another’s Third Circle of Hell. It can also be fun to visit certain craptacular or iconic landmarks.

The below list is a compilation of my picks, as well as those of other Gadling contributors, in no particular order. You may be offended, but don’t say you weren’t warned.

1. Hollywood
Unless you love freaks, junkies, hookers, crappy chain restaurants and stores, and stepping over human feces on the star-inlaid sidewalks, give it a miss.

2. Las Vegas
I understand the appeal of a lost weekend in Sin City, really. And I will not dispute the utter coolness of the Rat Pack, Vegas of yore. But in the name of all that is sacred and holy, why does the current incarnation of glorified excess and wasted natural resources exist, especially as a so-called family destination?

[Photo credit: Flickr user Douglas Carter Cole]3. Times Square
A dash of Hollywood Boulevard with a splash of Vegas and Orlando.

4. South Beach, Miami
At what point does silicone become redundant?

5. Atlantic City, New Jersey
The poor man’s Vegas

6. Orlando
Toll roads, herds of tourists, shrieking children, an abundance of nursing homes, and tacky corporate America, all in one tidy package.

7. Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco
It’s hard to hate on San Francisco, but the once-glorious Wharf is a shadow of its former self. Hooter’s, Pier 39, seafood stands hawking overpriced, previously-frozen Dungeness crab cocktail, aggressive panhandling, and vulgar souvenir shops kill the mood.

8. The Washington Monument
The nation’s preeminent phallic symbol is admittedly an impressive piece of architecture. It’s also possible to get a great view from the car en route to other, more interesting historic sites and tourist attractions.

9. Waikiki
There is so much more to Hawaii, including beaches that aren’t man-made.

10. Mt. Rushmore
Faces carved into rock. Moving on…

[Photo credits: Times Square, Flickr user Falling Heavens; Waikiki, Flickr user DiazWerks]

Beach-bound? Head to these best beaches on the west coast

Hanging 10 in Hawaii? Settling along the California coast? If the West is your destination this summer, don’t miss a day at one of these fabulous west coast beaches. Not only are they free, they offer plenty to do if a day in the sand gets dull (although, we can’t imagine it would)!

Kaanapali Beach – Maui – West Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach is undoubtedly is easily accessible by a concrete path. Here you’ll find Black Rock, along with some of the best snorkeling on the island. Entering right from the wide stretch of golden sand, you will be transported into an underwater world teeming with tropical fishes, a turtle or two, and if you are lucky you’ll spot a few eagle rays. At sunset, you are treated to a free torch lighting and cliff diving ceremony right off Black Rock.

Makena Beach (Big Beach) – Maui – South Maui‘s Makena Beach is a State Park, meaning there is no man-made development. Visitors concentrate on body surfing, snorkeling, or enjoying a picnic with the views of islet, Molokini, in the distance. There are no resorts nearby so there is often ample parking.

Poipu Beach – Kauai – Unlike most beaches in Maui which can get quite rough for timid swimmers, Poipu Beach’s protected area is a great option for beginner swimmers and snorkelers. With lifeguards on duty everyday and a relatively calm environment, it is considered one of the safest beaches in Hawaii.

Lanikai Beach – Oahu – Bypass the more famous Waikiki Beach for the more secluded and postcard-perfect Lanikai Beach. Divers and snorkelers alike will find delight in the reefs. As the sun sets, you could almost swear that Don Ho is strumming his ukulele in the distance. Carmel Beach – Monterey Coast, California – Anyone who has ever been to quaint Carmel-By-The–Sea along the Monterey Coast would have experienced firsthand the beauty of Carmel Beach. The best part? This beach is perfectly pet friendly! Owners and their canine companions can frolic freely on the white sandy beach, play in the water, or throw around a Frisbee.

Huntington Beach, California – Located in sunny Southern California, Huntington Beach has some of the best and most consistent surf in the U.S., making it the ideal site of the annual world surfing championships. Those hesitant to try the surfs firsthand can channel their Karch Kiraly and practice their beach volleyball skills at one of the famous stops on the renowned AVP Beach Volleyball tour.

Coronado Beach, California – Fronting the famed Hotel Del Coronado, Coronado Beach has something for everyone. With the widest stretch of sand in San Diego County, it offers plenty of space to fly a kite, fish, or explore the tide pools. It is an excellent location to swim or body board or bike along the path south of Hotel Coronado.

Pismo Beach, California – Located in California’s Central Coast, visitors can walk down the 1,200-foot Pismo Pier to try their hand at catching their dinner or just catch a beautiful sunset. Beach wheelchairs from Wheel Fun Rentals are even available free of charge to visitors.

Half Moon Bay, California – Northern California’s Half Moon Bay offers dozens of beaches along the Pacific Ocean. With its spectacular sea cliffs and beautiful shoreline, Half Moon Bay has some of the best vista points for spotting the annual gray whale migration and elephant seals, and its sandy shores are perfect for horseback riding right on the beach.

Joyce Zee is a Seed.com writer.

First Marriott Edition hotel to open on Waikiki Beach

The first new brand of Marriott hotels, EDITION Hotels, will debut in Waikiki Beach this October. The concept, conceived by Ian Schrager in partnership with Marriott, will create a hotel brand that provides a “personal, intimate, individualized and unique lodging experience.”

EDITION will debut in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii, this fall, and and will also open a property in Istanbul later this year, according to a company press releaes. Planned openings are also scheduled in Mexico City, Barcelona, Bangkok, and other major metropolitan cities around the world.

The concept of EDITION is focused on the business traveler. According to the press release:

“Each highly stylised hotel will function as a “home away from home” for leisure and business travellers. In addition, each hotel will cater to the modern day business traveller by offering functional, technologically sophisticated working environments that provide the comfort and ease of actually conducting business in an “office away from the office”.”

All of the hotels in the EDITION group will have completely different looks and designs, offering a unique feel to each property. The design of each hotel is derived from the hotel’s location and capitalizes on the mood and spirit of the city. As for the first in its family…

  • The Waikiki EDITION will offer:
  • A restaurant by world-renowned chef, Morimoto
  • The exclusive Crazybox nightclub
  • Sunrise Pool with landscaped gardens
  • An exclusive Private Sunset Beach with its own lagoon and imported sand from the neighboring Hawaiian islands
  • An intimate Lobby Bar hidden behind a secret passage
  • A bar at the Sunrise Pool and Bar at the Private Sunset Beach
  • Custom and individually designed Surf and Bikini Boot Camps, complete with custom vegetarian and organic spa menus.
  • A full service spa
  • An outdoor movie theater
  • Retail shop, and much more.

Doesn’t sound like such a bad place to do business…

[Read the entire press release here]