Honoring Hawaii's Beach Boys

Woody Brown
Woody Brown
Caroline Yacoe
Caroline Yacoe
Sam Rodrigues
Sam Rodrigues

WAIKIKI (KHNL) - On the Martin Luther King holiday in Hawaii, not only was it a day to head to the beach, it was also a time to reflect on history.

But many may not realize there is also quite a bit of history at the islands most famous beach.

A history involving the Waikiki Beach Boys. But now there's an effort out to show everyone the importance and history of these longtime watermen and women.

On a sunny day in Waikiki, business is booming for busy Beach Boys. Canoe paddling, surf lessons and boat rides for tourists and locals alike.

"We're giving them a point of view from the ocean. Looking at the island is a lot different, showing them things they don't see from the land," said Beach Boy, Woody Brown.

But this work from sunup to sundown wasn't always "just" a job.

"When they first got started, it was a 24-hour-a-day party," said Caroline Yacoe, a local documentary filmmaker.

The Beach Boys got their start in the early 1900s, helpers for the Alii, who in turn helped visitors to Waikiki. Who would spend months at the beach, all wanting to have a good time, including the beach boys.

"In the old days, some would come half day work and get enough money for beer, poke and poi," said longtime Beach Boy, Sam Rodrigues.

For the Beach Boys, nowadays it is not just about boards and boats, but also about sharing the unique history of Hawaii.

"We try to show them a lot of Aloha and some of the history here in Waikiki," Brown added.

The story of Hawaii's Beach Boys is one that many do not know, but a local documentary is changing that by showing how these Ambassadors of Aloha helped shape Waikiki into the popular playground it has become.

"They're unique to Waikiki, and for many it's a dream of a lifetime to come here and surf and the Beach Boys make it happen," said Yacoe.

The documentary Waikiki, Riding the Wave of Change will be shown Tuesday evening at Chinatown's Red Elephant.