“The ocean is a huge factor in my family. My grandfather is a surf legend, and my father and uncles are all talented surfers. Instead of taking us to the park, the beach was our playground.”
On the Oregon Coast you find your aloha in a steaming cup of coffee and a surf check from a pine tree covered ridge, not a cup of shave ice while peering to the outer reefs. Where the Pacific meets the Northwest is a place of uncompromised natural beauty. It’s all moss covered tree trunks, misty hilltops, and secret coves. This is a place where having a local guide is a gift.
Ha‘a Keaulana hails from one of the most respected watermen families on Oahu. She’s the granddaughter of Buffalo—one of the original big wave pioneers, the first lifeguard at Makaha, and the best bodysurfer of his day. Her father is responsible for the the modern water safety techniques that keep big wave chargers safe. Ha‘a’s earliest ocean memory is being paddled out on the nose of her grandfather’s board for the opening ceremony of the Eddie Aikau Invitational. “The ocean is my place of zen,” said Ha‘a. “If I’m feeling happy, I go there. If I’m angry, I go there. It’s where I’m at ease, and peace and my heart is so full.”
Ha‘a met up with Bend, Oregon native Lisa Sheldon to explore a rugged and completely unfamiliar coastline. Ha‘a is more accustomed to bikinis than hooded wetsuits, but she couldn’t resist paddling out into one of Lisa’s favorite breaks at Short Sands. Their mutual love of the ocean was an instant bond. “Ha‘a and I, our families are both so connected to the ocean, it doesn’t matter that she’s from Hawaii and I’m from Oregon,” said Lisa. “The ocean may feel different but it’s something that we both relate to.”