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The Kokua Initiative: Honoring Boogie Kalama

A crew member on the double hulled outrigger canoe, The Hokule'a, that voyaged from Hawaii to Tahiti in 1976, George "Boogie" Kalama was known as a man of the Land and Sea. He was said to be deeply spiritual and a great comfort to those around him, truly embodying the essence of "aloha." He was well known in the Big Island community as someone who cared and gave to anyone in need.

Boogie Kalama founded the Uncle Boogie's Surf Classic at Pohoiki Beach Park that gave young surfers an opportunity to gain exposure in front of potential sponsors. As participants entered Pohoiki Beach for the contest, he repeatedly told them, "aloha kekahi i kekahi," meaning "love one another." His aloha spirit ensured that love was flowing through the beach on that day –everyone treated each other like their Ohana.


Eight years after his passing, this surf contest tradition continues and the Waiakea team was so stoked to be a part of it and lend a helping hand. This surf contest, held every year in honor of Boogie Kalama brings ocean and land awareness to the community in Hilo, builds a relationship for our resources, and keeps Hawaiian culture alive. 


For March's Kokua Initiative event, some members of our team volunteered to help set up events, chaperoned the keiki beach cleanup, labeled trophies, and picked up any trash left behind afterwards. The acts of service among all volunteers keeps Kalama's spirit alive, honors him, and ensures that we continue to treat each other and our 'aina with love. Waiakea also donated water for all participants, staff, and volunteers!


"It was nice having the security of drinking water where this is absolutely no running water {here at Pohoiki Beach}. Having Waiakea volunteers help with setup and other things was nice and enabled us to give our other volunteers the ability to detail other areas." -Krystal, Boogie Pohoiki Bay Surfing Classic employee


This event means much more than a surfing contest to the community in Hilo – it represents family, aloha, and true Hawaiian culture. We were honored to lend a helping hand!