“Aloha is this universal concept that no matter where you travel and no matter where you go, you’re always going to find those people or those places that so embody that same spirit.”
San Francisco may be metropolitan, but it’s also a place where mauka and makai live in close harmony. From surfing Dead Man’s to hiking the soaring vistas of the Marin Headlands, adventure is never far away. Intrepid waterwomen Susan Hoff and Chelsea Yamase also share a connection to both land and sea. They met in San Francisco to trade stories of growing up with nature as their playground.
San Francisco is home to Susan, by way of the Midwestern horse farm her family restored when she was a child, and the Outward Bound sailboats that took her all over the Atlantic after college. She unites those experiences in her creative pursuit – a line of bags that gives retired sails and vintage horse tack a new life. And she draws on the perspective she gained from teaching sailing every day. “Being at sea, you’re forced to really look at yourself and your life. It becomes a journey on the inside. And that’s an experience that I draw on constantly.”
Chelsea also knows her way from mauka to makai, having toured the Hawaiian seas with her fisherman father and trekked the ridgelines of Kauai with her mountaineering mom. Seeing the future from both rocky horizon and fragile reef has given her a deep appreciation for the natural heritage of the islands – and a drive to protect the ecosystems that sustain us. She puts her passions to work as surfer, adventurer, spearfisher, backyard gardener, and ambassador of aloha. Being in San Francisco – and meeting Susan – reminded her that aloha really is everywhere. “I’m 3,000 miles from my home, and I’ve just met Susan, but we’re looking around and getting inspired by the same things: the sunset, the sea lions, the ocean views. Aloha transfers all of that. We connect with each other, we inspire each other, we explore together. That’s a beautiful thing to me.”