Hawaiian Plate Escape

Approximately 2,228 miles off the coast of California lies an island chain known as Hawaii. This chain has eight islands with some of the most breathtaking nature you’ve ever seen. Everything from active volcanoes, crystal-clear blue water, black-sand beaches, exotic waterfalls, and the most enchanting and mesmerizing sunsets to ever hit the ocean. This destination has to be the perfect place for relaxation, but for us, it was all about skateboarding.

The crew¿Ricky Oyola, Rob Gonzales, Steve Olson, Ryan Kenreich, Jim Menscer, Jesse Paez, Kirk Dianda, Chris Ortiz, and I¿met at LAX at 7:00 a.m. Everyone was unsure of what to expect; we all knew Hawaii was a place of paradise, but what kind and how much skateable stuff it had was questionable. Ricky’d heard from friends there wouldn’t be many things or places to skate, but everyone was so excited to be traveling it didn’t seem to matter. We boarded the plane, put on our headphones, and anxiously awaited our arrival.

Upon landing in Honolulu, I looked around at our crew and saw a general look of excitement. We could hardly wait for everyone on the plane to get their luggage out from the overhead compartments and exit the metal beast. At the terminal we met up with Jeff Oshiro and Jerrald (our tour guides, both born and raised on Oahu). Right away we could feel the aloha spirit oozing out of this volcanic island. Before long, our baggage retrieved and the van loaded up, we were on our way to Waikiki. Located on the south shore, Waikiki is the biggest tourist area of all of the islands and brings in a large percentage of Hawaii’s income.

We drove downtown to our condo and could see money being spent¿Japanese businessman, European tourists, American vacationers, all gladly paying inflated prices for food, souvenirs, and anything else local businesses could screenprint the word “Hawaii” on. The funny thing was that everything is so laid-back no one seemed to care about the “all mighty dollar.” Our people-watching ended as we pulled up to our new home for the next two weeks: The Aston Sunset Waikiki.

As we checked into our suite, everyone started to get really hungry. I asked Jeff where we could get a Hawaiian plate lunch. The plate lunch is a standard meal in Hawaii. It consists of your choice of meat, chicken, or fish, two scoops of sticky rice, and macaroni salad. Of course, Jeff knew exactly what was up. He took us to a place called the Rainbow Drive Inn. This was the spot for an O.G. Hawaiian meal. After filling our bellies, Jeff drove us a to a shop called Local Motion where he outfitted us with some swim trunks, and a couple of the guys got aloha shirts. Everyone at the shop was super cool. We all gave thanks for the gear and headed for the beach.

Swimming in the ocean was insane. The water was crystal blue and about 78 degrees. The ocean is so buoyant there¿it was like swimming in milk. After an hour of swimming, we were ready to skate.

The first spot we checked out was Ala Park. Besides Wallos, when you mention Hawaii to a skateboarder, Ala would be the first word out of their mouth. The park was actually built in the 70s for roller skaters. It’s shaped like a running track with six-foot concrete banks at both ends that start with relaxed transitions and escalate over a vert lip. The surface is smooth with a grindable lip. Jerrald and the Ala Crew set up a flatbar and funbox a few nights a week. They’ve got a good crew of people who session over there. We skated with everyone for a couple of hours, until it started raining. Then we headed back to the condo to relax in preparation for the days to come.

In the morning everyone seemed to migrate toward the ocean¿morning swims became a standard ritual. After a good breakfast and a little organization, a few of us went back to Ala for a warm-up session. We skated for an hour or so before heading to a bump in downtown Honolulu¿the spot was okay. With a lot of traffic, you had toime your runs. A bus almost hit Jim Menscer. Five minutes after that, we got kicked out by some guy who took photos of our mini-van. We told him what we thought of him and broke out.

Later that day, Steve went downtown to look for a health-food store. He returned with Kale Sandridge. We were amped when we saw Kale and so was he. He told us he’d show us all the spots, especially Wallos. After hanging for a while, Kale had to meet up with some friends at the House Of Flys in Waikiki. He told us to cruise down later and chill.

When we arrived at the House Of Flys, Kale and the boys had cold beer waiting. The store had a good vibe¿music blasting, people dancing, balance boards, and a pool table. Oyola was psyched on the pool tables. After a few games of pool and some balance board shove-its, we were ready for Hawaiian nightlife. Our first destination was Mardi Gras, a small club wih a DJ spinning hip-hop. There were a few people on the dance floor and more filling up at the bar. It was cool. The club started to get crowded, and I could see everyone getting in the mix. A few of the guys decided to check out another club called The Wave. Rob and Kirk bailed out and went back to the hotel.

The next morning the sun shone through the curtains and woke me up with thoughts of a tropical swim and breakfast overlooking the beach. It was Friday, we’d skate Kapahulu Park that night. Kapahulu, run by Kevin Buckley, is open only on weekends. Kevin sets the park up every Friday and disassembles it every Sunday. Kapahulu is located under a bridge just on the outskirts of Waikiki, across the street from Lazy Bones skate shop. The park has everything from lips, ledges, banks, and pyramids, to flatbars and a wallride. The scene there is super-chill. The kids were hyped to watch some pros skate their local park. There were no lights, but of course we skated anyway.

Up at dawn the next day. Chris, Kirk, and I had talked about going to Hanama Bay all week¿we decided it was the day. We loaded the van with snorkels and masks and headed to the southeast side of the island. As we pulled up, we realized this was one of the most incredible places in the world. Hanama Bay is a giant cove with live corals reefs, schools of every kind of fish you could imagine, sea turtles, eels, etc. The best part is you get to swim with all of this natural beauty¿a truly amazing experience.

After leaving Hanama Bay, we went back to Waikiki where we met up with Kale, Jeff, Jerrald, and Kevin. They’d been waiting for us to go check out Wallos. Yes, Wallos from Powell-Peralta’s Animal Chin video. As everyone set up new equipment, we felt the excitement brewing. Everyone’d seen photos or videos, but could only imagine how Wallos really was. We hopped into three different cars because the posse was so big. Kale, Grinch, and Rick drove all the way to the top, while the rest of us parked at the main section.

We jumped out of the van and slipped into a canal that eventually opened up to Wallos. Our first sight was hundreds of yards of banks lined with gardens. We noticed grapefruits, coconuts, and oranges the size of volleyballs. It felt so tropical. Jesse, Jim, Rob, and I cleared a path and started drawing lines. Both Jesse and Rob were snapping huge ollies, while Kevin and I took more of a carving approach. We must have skated for 45 minutes, before we realized Rick and Kale had not bombed the hill down to us, so we grabbed our gear and walked toward the top.

Most people don’t even know about the very top of Wallos. It’s sort of a square reservoir with steep banks about twenty feet tall, with a lava rock gap about twelve feet wide that hips into the smaller downhill section. As we reached this point, we saw Kale and Rick playing with the gap. Kale snapped off and landed midway through the gap, but managed to hammer through lava. Then Rick snapped a huge ollie over the whole gap, stomped it down, and proceeded to haul ass down the entire run. He went through rocks, branches, and whatever was in his way. It was sick.

While the rest of us tried to figure out the steep bank, Rick climbed to the top of the next mountain. He wanted to take a photo of Wallos from the top. We all watched Rick climb this lava mountain to the top. That’s when we lost him. He couldn’t climb down the way he went up, so he had to find a new route¿45 minutes passed before we even saw Rick again. He was tired and pissed.

It was time to relax. Kale was on the same wavelength. We stopped off for some beer, then went to Spitting Caves to watch the sunset. It’s a 69-feet-tall cliff overlooking the ocean. At the base of the cliff, there’s a cave that spits out water 30 yards into the ocean. Kale is crazy. Right as we got there, he decided to jump off the cliff with a running start. It looked crazy watching him run through the air ’til he hit. There’s no way I’d do that. But Jim Menscer was down for it; so he jumped, too! It was seriously insane.

Another day and more spots to check out. We went to Kaiser High School which was really good. It had rails, stairs, gaps, and a sick eight-stair ledge. Everyone was hyped. Olson wrecked the ledge with kickflip boardslides and 180 nosegrinds, while Rob ollied over flatbars and gaps. The school reminded me of the San Diego scene¿enough of that though. We were in Hawaii¿the most beautiful place on earth to relax on the beach, hike to a waterfall, swim with the fish, or maybe even ride our skateboards. So if you’re thinking about going on a trip, go see the islands, and I bet you’ll find what you’re looking for.

went through rocks, branches, and whatever was in his way. It was sick.

While the rest of us tried to figure out the steep bank, Rick climbed to the top of the next mountain. He wanted to take a photo of Wallos from the top. We all watched Rick climb this lava mountain to the top. That’s when we lost him. He couldn’t climb down the way he went up, so he had to find a new route¿45 minutes passed before we even saw Rick again. He was tired and pissed.

It was time to relax. Kale was on the same wavelength. We stopped off for some beer, then went to Spitting Caves to watch the sunset. It’s a 69-feet-tall cliff overlooking the ocean. At the base of the cliff, there’s a cave that spits out water 30 yards into the ocean. Kale is crazy. Right as we got there, he decided to jump off the cliff with a running start. It looked crazy watching him run through the air ’til he hit. There’s no way I’d do that. But Jim Menscer was down for it; so he jumped, too! It was seriously insane.

Another day and more spots to check out. We went to Kaiser High School which was really good. It had rails, stairs, gaps, and a sick eight-stair ledge. Everyone was hyped. Olson wrecked the ledge with kickflip boardslides and 180 nosegrinds, while Rob ollied over flatbars and gaps. The school reminded me of the San Diego scene¿enough of that though. We were in Hawaii¿the most beautiful place on earth to relax on the beach, hike to a waterfall, swim with the fish, or maybe even ride our skateboards. So if you’re thinking about going on a trip, go see the islands, and I bet you’ll find what you’re looking for.

CATEGORIZED: Magazine