Maui muralists hope artwork on lifeguard towers honors island’s water warriors

On Maui, lifeguard towers are usually all business but some towers are now works of art.
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 7:14 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 6, 2022 at 7:33 PM HST

MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lifeguard towers are usually all business — practical platforms for rescuers. However, some towers on Maui are now works of art.

Three artists, each born and raised on Maui, were given three lifeguard towers apiece to showcase their work. They say it’s a tribute to the island’s water warriors.

“They save lives literally every day,” said Maui artist Bailey Onaga.

“We honor them,” Maui artist Matthew Agcolicol said.

“We wanted to do our very best,” said Jaclynn Sabado-Eitel, also a Maui artist.

Sabado-Eitel hopes her mural at Hookipa Beach Park highlights the beauty of Maui. Her mural shows a surfer, a fisherman, a honu, and a windsurfer.

“It’s just such an awesome beach, such a great place for keiki,” she said. “Now, being a mom, it just brings me back to just being a kid here on Maui and playing in the sand and just what a beautiful spot it is really.”

For Agcolicol, he hopes his mural at Kamaole Beach Park II honors the first responders of the ocean.

“I got a lot of inspiration from seeing the pohuehue crawling on the mounds of sand, the naupaka anchoring on both sides of the tower,” he said. “I saw hanging on the tower a lifeguard rig... and to me that kind of symbolizes that they’re always ready.”

Down the road at Kamaole Beach Park 1, is artist Onaga. The Kamehameha Schools graduate said her mural pays tribute to ocean safety rescuers for their sacrifices.

“I don’t consider this my painting in any way, this is their home, this belongs to the community,” Onaga said. “It’s also to deter vandalism and not invite other pilau things.”

Maui County Ocean Safety South District Captain Kekai Brown said the artwork is “amazing.”

“Thankful and appreciative that they took my vision of being standardized and professional and combined it with their talent,” Brown said.

The Ocean Safety Division falls under the Maui Fire Department. Maui Fire Chief Bradford Ventura said the goal was to bring attention to the towers.

“It’s important to recognize our ocean safety officers for all the work that they do and the life-saving measures that they take every day,” he said.

The Maui muralists hope this sets a trend for lifeguard towers around the world.

Lifeguard tower at Kamaole Beach Park II by Maui muralist Matthew Agcolicol.
Lifeguard tower at Kamaole Beach Park II by Maui muralist Matthew Agcolicol.(Hawaii News Now)
Lifeguard tower at Hookipa Beach Park by Maui muralist Jaclynn Sabado-Eitel.
Lifeguard tower at Hookipa Beach Park by Maui muralist Jaclynn Sabado-Eitel.(Hawaii News Now)