by Joann Shin
(KHNL) - It's a "must-see" attraction on Masa Nakamura's North Shore tour. "Every Japanese knows this sign!" said Nakamura who owns a tour company.
It's a sign that's meant to capture the spirit of Haleiwa. "The surfer was a no brainer because that's what this town is all about," said Carole Beller, the artist behind the sign. The town commissioned her to create three signs in 1996. "The bypass was going in and the merchants were afraid that no more tourists would come through the town," explained Beller.
But the signs attracted more than just tourists. "Two of the them were stolen pretty quickly," said Beller. The signs were also vandalized, until only one was left standing. The community even considered taking it down.
But Bill Barnfield wouldn't have it. He owns Barnfield's Raging Isle in Haleiwa and says the sign brings in business. "If we took those signs down now and no one knew what Haleiwa was or what the character of the town was, they'd just drive on pass," said Barnfield.
Barnfield helped bring Beller back. This time, she made a few minor adjustments, starting with the surfer.
According to Beller, "I got the wild hair to do a girl. You go girl!"
She also got welders to secure the sign to hopefully to keep it here for many more years to come. Beller said,