In the early 80s, people didn’t really worry about their kids like they do now. Our parents would let us roam the beach and neighborhood freely, and didn’t worry about us returning home. They knew that when we got hungry, or it got dark outside, we would be back.
After school between the ages of five and ten, my older cousin Lionel would pack me home on his bike. There he and his younger brother Richie would torment me and then make it up to me by taking me to the beach with them. Their backyard was a five minute walk to the ocean.
We grew up on the North Shore of Oahu, a place famous for huge surf and shore breaks. When you stepped into the water, you had to make sure to time your entry with a retreating wave. Otherwise, you could get pulled into the shore break and pounded into oblivion. This is something that happens to every kid growing up in Hawaii. You get pulled in, rolled around a few times, and then learn that if you don’t want to drown or be cleaning sand out of every orifice of your body, you need to read the ocean.
This respect for the ocean is fundamental to living in Hawaii. We are literally surrounded by water, and for centuries it has helped sustain us. Keeping our oceans and beaches clean is just common sense. Kaimana, “the power of the ocean,” is no joke. So stay safe out there and Malama Ka Aina, take care of the land.
Photo: Bryce Lowe-White, surfermag.com