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  • August 26, 2016

    Celebrate `Ohe –Hawaii’s Annual Bamboo Festival

    OK A vigorous grower, `ohe or common clumping bamboo, a giant flowering evergreen perennial member of the grass family, is one of the most conspicuous and abundant plants in Hawaii’s rainforests. `Ohe or Hawaiian bamboo is also one of nature’s most useful. In celebration of bamboo’s diverse roles in Hawaii, The Hawaiian Chapter of The American Bamboo Society (HCABS) will host the annual Bamboo Festival to be held September 11, 2016, at Nani Mau Garden in Hilo, Hawaii. Artists, growers, and lecturers will be featured, offering visitors an opportunity to view plants, ask questions and talk story with Hawaiian bamboo growers, collectors, and enthusiasts. A silent auction is planned.

    All About `Ohe

    Did you know that due to a unique rhizome-dependent system, bamboo, a relative of corn and sugar cane, is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world? After only two months of growth, the hardy and tenacious bamboo plant is the size it will remain for its lifetime.

    Individual clumps of both types of Hawaiian bamboo flower at various times. While bamboo does flower, it is a rare event; occurring only once in the plant’s maturity, anytime after the plant is about sixty years old. Bamboo lives for up to 125 or more years. Once bamboo flowers, it dies.

    Early Polynesian settlers introduced `ohe to the islands. Bamboo was a much need survival supply, known for its diverse array of uses including holding fresh water, as a food source, to provide materials for building or household use. `Ohe Puhi Ahi was a common tool used by ancient Hawaiians to kindle fires. The tool is a slender bamboo tube used to blow air to fan the embers. In sacred Hawaiian religious ceremonies, a traditional knife carved from bamboo was used to cut the umbilical cord of a newborn.

    The ancient Hawaiians, to irrigate taro fields, cut `ohe into half lengthwise and after removing the middle of the node walls, utilized bamboo to direct water to flow through the troughs from the mountain streams into the taro fields staggered down the hillsides below.

    Bamboo is also used to craft musical instruments. Nose flutes and stamping drums were made from `ohe. Used in hula accompaniment, the three-holed nose flute, `ohe hano ihu, is crafted from the straight, hollow stem of thin-walled bamboo. Percussion instruments, including the pu`ili, a split bamboo tube approximately two feet long that rattles when pounded, are made from larger diameter bamboo. Percussion rhythms are also drawn from the `ohe ka `eke`eke, blunt tubes of the thick-walled bamboo, with closed nodes on the bottom end. `Ohe ka eke eke are alternately struck on the ground to make tones. Another instrument using Hawaiian bamboo is the `ohe kani, a type of lap harp.

    High on Maui’s Haleakala’s slopes, above Keanae, is a sacred grove known as Waikamoi. The old stories tell of the Polynesian Goddess Hina planting a stand of `ohe carried by canoe from Tahiti to the sun-blessed mountainsides of Maui.

    As a “canoe” plant, bamboo is today cultivated for greenery in lei and floral arrangements, as a “green privacy screen” and living fence, and more recently, as a sustainable building material. As a construction material, bamboo also known as “vegetable steel” or “miracle grass” has more compressive strength than rock, brick, wood, concrete, and exhibits the tensile strength of steel.

    It is a strange phenomenon that while bamboo is an incredibly strong and durable building material, fabric woven from bamboo fibers is amazingly soft, breathable and comfortable to wear in Hawaii’s tropical climate, or to use as soft and silky smooth bed sheets.

    There are two main types of bamboo found in the islands. Green ‘Bambusa vulgaris’, the larger and most common species mainly used as a timber source, that grows a strong, straight trunk up to three inches around and up to fifty feet tall, and ‘Schizostachyum glaucifolium’ which grows from thirty to forty feet tall and is a more slender plant.

    Hawaiian tropical timber bamboo or clumping bamboos are fast growing, high-oxygen producing, and non-invasive. Hawaiian bamboo is readily propagated by rhizome sections, or culm starts. Integral to the agricultural integrity of the islands, bamboo is a highly treasured renewable and sustainable natural resource. Useful for control of soil erosion, bamboo flourishes in a nutrient-rich moist volcanic soil, in a sunny location.

    New shoots emerge from the ground in the same size diameter as the mature plant stem. As these new shoots appear, they never grow in diameter as they age, but instead grow stronger in the first 3-to-7 years at which point it is a harvestable crop. Tender new shoots are harvested as a food source.

    Whispering Winds Bamboo, located on the Big Island in the rainforest about 12 miles from Hana, Hawaii, advises, “Bamboo is sustainable agriculture. Bamboo is a perennial plant offering a sustained annual harvest, which eliminates the need for yearly re-plowing and re-planting. Once established, a bamboo grove will minimize wind and soil erosion and maximize water retention.” For more`ohe information, or to arrange a tour of the farm, visit

  • August 12, 2016

    The Hawaiian Lei – Symbol Of The Aloha Spirit

    ©istockphoto/Sarah Holmstrom ©istockphoto/Sarah Holmstrom

    The intriguing history of Hawaiian lei making dates back to the arrival of the original Polynesian explorers in roughly 750 AD. For centuries, the Polynesians of the South Pacific paid homage to the gods of land and sea by adorning their bodies with intricately woven strands of leafy greenery, flowers, fruits, feathers, and vines. When the Polynesian settlers made landfall in the magnificent islands, known today as Hawaii, they brought with them the staples of survival including plants useful for building, medicine, and food. Also, they carried fragrant ginger (`awapuhi) for its culinary value and to provide flowers for decorative adornment.

    During the time of settlement, which lasted through the 1300s, style and design of the lei remained fairly consistent throughout all of Polynesia and Asia. Perishable, fragrant lei of ferns and flowers such as ginger and green maile (Ti plant) vine were favored as were non-perishable lei crafted from shells (puku), seeds, nuts, stones, feathers (Hulu manu), shark tooth, and walrus or whalebone (niho palaoa).

    When lengthy exploratory ocean voyages declined, the islands slipped into a period of relative cultural isolation lasting until 1778. During this period, the rich historical heritage of the lei persisted, with Hawaiian artisans designing and crafting a more diverse variety of lei than that found in any other region of Polynesia.

    The wearing of a distinctive type of lei represented rank, royalty, and wealth. Chieftains, with lots of loyal subjects to pick and craft the hundreds of tiny blazing orange Ilima flowers required to form a single lei strand, donned multiple wreaths, each boasting dozens of strands of the fragrant blossoms. For these warriors, wrapped in a cloak of fiery foliage, there was no question amongst their peers which man or woman deserved respect.

    Other lei designs were based on geography, vocation, religion, or hula. During ancient times, lei exchanged between warring chieftains as a token of peace, goodwill and friendship, the entwined vines symbolic of a new, and hopefully happy, relationship.

    Some lei had particular significance and subtle meanings. A hala lei, encasing the delicate yellow fruit of the Pandanus tree, given as a celebration of the New Year is meant to signify fine fortune, a new beginning and an abundance of good luck. A hala lei is also appropriate to commemorate the opening of a new business venture or to wear to funerals. In the Hawaiian culture, if a hala lei is given at any other time or for any other reason, it is given as a curse of bad fortune. Hala lei are available year around.

    The choice of floral color for lei design represents a wide range of emotions. White, pink, or red flowers represent love. According to ancient stories, the brilliant fire flower (Lehua flower) is the favored flower of the Volcano Goddess Pele. Today, Lehua lei are still cast into active lava flows on the Big Island of Hawaii as an offering of appeal and appeasement to Madame Pele.

    The ancient Hawaiian adorned their bodies with their own unique lei design to distinguish their individuality. Proudly worn by chiefs (ali’i) and commoners (maka’ainana) alike, lei, an integral component of ancient Hawaiian tradition, symbolizes a lifestyle that recognizes that everything in nature is sacred.

    The gift of lei imparts special significance to any occasion. Traditionally the giver of the lei bows slightly before placing the floral wreath around the recipient’s head. The giving and receiving of lei require a loving heart and a gracious spirit. If presented with a lei, never refuse. To do so is the height of bad manners. It is also considered very bad form to remove the lei from around your person in the presence of the gift giver. When a fresh wreath withers and fades, never throw it in the garbage. To do so brings very bad luck. The lei are to be returned to the sea or tossed on the ground to return to the soil.

    According to legend, Frangipani, also known as Plumeria, is a highly fragrant Hawaiian native wildflower that flourishes on grave sites, perfect for a lei of welcome, but considered very bad luck for anyone in poor health. Never, ever, bring an armload of Plumeria lei to a hospital.

    In the 1800s, Hawaiians bearing floral lei as a gift of greeting and warm welcome heralded visitors to the islands arriving by ship. Ancient myths and legends imbue the lei with mighty good fortune. Kamaaina (Hawaiian residents) advise, "When visitors depart for home if they throw a lei into the azure sea, and it floats towards the shore, they, like the fading flowers, will someday return." Even today, when a departing cruise ship clears the harbor, hundreds of lei are seen floating on the waves of its wake.

    Lei adorn all aspects of everyday life from sacred rituals, ceremonies, celebrations, luau, the workplace, and to the beach. It wasn’t until the development of commercial tourism that lei became synonymous with Hawaii to people all around the world. Maile leaves, Pikake blossoms, orchids of every description, gardenias, and Plumeria are but a few of the favorite types of flowers commonly used in Hawaiian lei crafting.

    Today, a leu, representing one’s abiding affection and respect for another, compliments Aloha attire worn to weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, public ceremonies, court dates, and backyard luaus. Just about everyone is Hawaii wears a lei, a symbol of friendship, love, honor, congratulations, and recognition. Lei is worn in the hair or draped around the neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, and ankles. Given as a gift of warm welcome or fond farewell, a fresh lei of vibrant native flowers and fresh greenery embodies the Aloha spirit of Hawaii.

  • August 5, 2016

    A Playground In Paradise – The Big Island

    OK2 Hawaii, the magical “Big Island” as the Hawaiians call it, is the perfect playground for people of all ages. Arguably the most majestic, diverse and exciting island in the Hawaiian Island chain, the Big Island showcases the aspects, amenities and “Aloha Spirit” of all of the islands in one “perfect” place.

    Extreme Outdoor Adventure

    The dramatic size scope of the largest Hawaiian Island creates an impressive microcosm of environments and activities. Across the Big Island’s vast tableau, you’ll discover everything from extravagant resorts and incredible golf courses to charming bed and breakfasts, local town shops, art galleries, museums, churches, local music venues, and welcoming sidewalk cafes.

    Pedal a charming coastal section of the island on a country road that winds through fragrant eucalyptus groves and ancient banyan groves. Swim in a soothing thermal hot spring at the ocean’s edge. The Big Island features a full spectrum of fun recreational opportunities for young and old: biking, hiking, swimming, snorkeling, surfing, sailing, and memory-making.

    From the always warm and sun-blessed Kona coast, to the dense rainy jungle areas of Puna, to the live volcano, to the spectacular cliffs and beaches along the Hakamua Coast, and finally to the magnificent snow-capped mountains of Manna Loa (the highest mountain in the world), the “Big Island” is an intriguing composite of the best of everything the Hawaiian Islands have to offer.

    Visit treasured Hawaiian historical sites, from the sacred birthplace of King Kamehameha I to Hawaii’s first missionary church in historic Kailua Village located in Kailua-Kona. With so much to see, it’s best to experience the island in small portions. Larger than all of the 146 islands in the Hawaiian Island chain put together, “there’s plenty room” on Big Island for your return. Aloha!

    Not To Miss - Ahalanui Park - Ahalanui Beach

    Visitors exploring the eastern portion of Big Island can take a break from volcano viewing to have a soothing soak in the volcanically-heated hot springs of Ahalanui Park. Ahalanui Beach on the Big Island is not one of the typical beaches one might imagine when you think of Hawaii, with its many miles of white sugar sand beaches and gentle surf lapping at your feet.

    Ahalanui Park and Beach features a man-made thermal lagoon that was constructed with help from federal funds after lava flows from Kilauea destroyed the famous Kalapana black sand beaches on this stellar section of the coastline in the 1990s. Although there are other natural hot ponds in the Puna District, Alalanui is the most accessible.

    Located on the eastern coast of the Big Island, the brackish-water thermal lagoon, known locally as “Warm Ponds”, is volcanically heated to approximately 90 degrees. A small inlet connecting the pond to the ocean accommodates a diverse array of brilliantly colored tropical fish and other marine life that dart in and out of the corals and swim through the opening to the sea.

    Safety First

    When bathing in Warm Ponds or any other natural ponds, use caution and don’t soak with open wounds or cuts. Runoff from heavy rains causes the freshwater overflow to carry bacteria into the ponds, flooding the thermal lagoons with rainwater cascading down from the hills above. In all of your adventures, put your safety first. The reward is worth it.

  • August 2, 2016

    Singing Snails – Jewels Of The Jungle

    ©istockphoto/Tomas_Handfield ©istockphoto/Tomas_Handfield

    At one time in Hawaiian history, it is said that if you shook any tree in the forest, a rainbow of brightly colored tree snails would rain down upon you. Exhibiting beautiful shells, Pupu Kani Oe, "the shell that sounds long." or kahuli, as Hawaii’s tree snails are known, have long been described as the “jewels of the jungle” so mentioned in countess traditional chants, songs, and poems.

    Early naturalists in their exploration of the islands were so enchanted by the beauty of Hawaiian terrestrial snails and their mysterious radiation, that it strongly influenced their impressions and beliefs about evolution and island biogeography. Enamored by the beauty of the shells, collectors from around the world contributed to the decimation of the snail population by collecting thousands and thousands of the tiny mollusks. Kāhuli tree snails are endemic, unique to Hawai‘i, and now found only on the island of O‘ahu.

    Just imagine, you are walking through the tropical rainforest and you hear a faint song carried on the wind. Where might it be coming from you ask, the ferns, the trees, the grass? As you move along the trail, the sound seems to fade, while you can’t help but notice the array of different snails, serenely munching away on the forest foliage. Some are a brilliant yellow stripped with chocolate brown, some are ivory white with cascading blue and tan swirls, yet others are shaded of peach-tinted white with pink or purple stripping.

    Hawaiian folklore records that the sweet song is the sound the snails singing as they slide up and down the trunks of the trees. Doubters and disbelievers say tiny crickets living deep in the vegetation of the forest floor more likely produce the sound.

    Species Radiation

    Hawaii’s terrestrial snails at one time accounted for a significant portion of the forest fauna. Aside from cultural significance, aesthetic appeal, and their integral role in elucidating theories of island biogeography and evolution, tree snails once made up a significant portion of the forest canopy terrestrial fauna. Isolated in lush valleys and on high mountain ridges, the Hawaiian terrestrial tree snail population exploded in a diverse array of colors, shapes and sizes. Born live, emerging from the parents shell as “miniature” adults, baby snails are ready to graze the nutritious spores and fungi that cover the forest tree leaves. In a symbiotic relationship, the snails do not eat the leaves, but rather the harmful fungi that feed upon them.

    Greater than 750 species of terrestrial snails once inhabited the Hawaiian Island chain. Scientists sadly report that more than 90 percent of snail diversity in the islands has been lost, representing a stunning and senseless example of one of the worst species losses in the entire world. You may ask why are Hawaii’s snails slipping away to oblivion? There are a lot of areas to place the blame.

    Manmade air pollution, acid rain, volcanic organic gases (VOG) which originates from Pele’s activity on the Big Island and blankets the other islands when carried on the prevailing winds, and extensive habitat destruction from introduced ungulates including goats, pigs and deer have degraded vast amounts of forest vegetation and fragmented snail populations. In a sad act of poor stewardship of the land, the predatory rosy wolf snail, rats and carnivorous Jackson’s chameleons, introduced to the islands, all feast on Hawaii’s native snails. It’s no wonder snails are dying faster than they can reproduce.

    Tree Snail Population Recovery

    Today, when terrestrial tree snails are found in the forest, it helps scientists define areas less impacted by habitat destruction and the activities of introduced species. The mere presence of snails is a sign of recovery and hope. Several species of tree snails have proved beneficial in increasing nutrient cycling of the forest floor, other species of terrestrial snails benefit host plants by munching on algae and fungus that grow on plant stems and leaves.

  • July 30, 2016

    Is The World’s Largest Active Volcano About To Blow?

    OKv Pele is restless, with Mauna Loa, the world’s largest active volcano, displaying signs of unease. Over the past several months, seismologists have recorded as many as 40 earthquakes a week. The tremors are noted as more than four times the norm.

    In late May 2016, concerned scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory elevated the mountain’s Volcano Alert Level from “normal” to “advisory”. The USGS monitors the potentially devastating threat, noting that since the alert upgrade, activity continues from three to seven miles below the earth’s crust. Using GPS beacons, researchers have recorded activity of consistent frequency beneath the summit and along the Upper Southwest Rift Zone.

    Currently, the USGS advises Mauna Loa is not erupting. However, earthquake activity beneath the west flank, in the south caldera, and the Upper Southwest Rift Zone continues. GPS readings indicate deformation related to inflation on the magma reservoir with the activity occurring beneath the summit and the rift zone.

    Erupting 33 times since the 1843 eruption, Mauna Loa’s recent earthquake activity mimics that of the 1984 and another eruption in 1975. Scientists project that the next eruption will begin at the summit, rather than one of the radial vents on the flanks of the majestic mountain. No one knows when that eruption will occur, but researchers and observers speculate that “it isn’t a matter of if, but rather a matter of when” Pele will hurl firebrands into the night sky from the heights of Mauna Loa. Locals, living in the shadow of the world’s largest active volcano ask, Is Mauna Loa about to blow?

    For the latest information and updates about Mauna Loa, visit the official Hawaiian Volcano Observatory site operated by the USGS.

    A Massive Mountain

    The largest active volcano on the planet, Mauna Loa gradually rises to 13,681 feet (4,170 meters) above sea level. A massive mountain covering half of the Island of Hawaii, Mauna Loa’s long submarine flanks descend into the deep an additional 3-miles (5 km) to the ocean floor. Beneath Mauna Loa, the seafloor is depressed 5-miles by the volcano’s mass, positioning Mauna Loa’s summit 56,000 feet (17 km) above its mighty base.

    Big Island Volcanic History

    The Big Island of Hawaii, so named because it is bigger than all the other islands

    In the Hawaiian chain combined, is comprised of five different volcanoes; Kohala and Mauna Kea are dormant while Hualalai, Kilauea, and Mauna Loa are active. Kohala last sent explosions of lava to the sea more than 60,000 years ago. Mauna Kea last erupted 4,500 years ago. Hualalai was last active in 1801. Kilauea is presently spilling molten lava across the land. The first documented eruption of Mauna Loa occurred in 1843; the most recent in 1984.

    Volcanoes National Park

    Volcanoes National Park, located 30 miles southwest of Hilo offers visitors an opportunity to view the “primal process of creation and destruction” unfold. The Park is one of the most popular destinations in all of the Hawaiian Island Chain and a sacred site for Native Hawaiians. August 1, 2016, marked the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Park. A diverse array of USFG park staff, government officials, local musicians, artists, crafters, food vendors, and visitors celebrated the milestone event.

    Encompassing 333,000 acres from the top of Mauna Loa to the sea, the Park features more than 150 miles of groomed hiking trails that wander through scalded deserts, volcanic craters, lush rainforest retreats, a walk-in lava tube, historical petroglyphs, and the two active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Recognized in 1980 by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve and again in 1987 as a World Heritage site, the extraordinary beauty and diversity of the Park attract visitors from around the world.

    Kilauea, the Big Island’s most active volcano, has been erupting continuously since 1983. In 2015 Pele threatened to eradicate the sleepy rural community of Pahoa. However, the lava slowed and stopped just outside of town, and the village was spared. Today, Kilauea continues to pump out between 250,000 to 650,000 cubic yards of molten lava per day, enough to pave a 20-mile strip of two-lane highway daily. Currently, three separate rivers of lava are flowing into the sea. Since 1994, Kilauea has added 491 new acres of land to the Big Island. Scientists note that the current eruption may continue for another 100 years; Pele is a bit unpredictable.

  • July 25, 2016

    Hawaii Hiking Safety Tips

    OKhi Many of Hawaii’s hiking trails are challenging to even the most seasoned trekker: the trails are slippery, narrow, difficult to navigate, with many at elevations to which your body may not be acclimated. Many trails are high on mountains ridges with sheer drop offs on either side of the path. The spectacular seaside cliffs, the deep valleys, waterfalls, and magnificent mountain streams are indeed beautiful beyond belief, but they can be dangerous and deadly.

    Know The Difficultly Level Of The Trail

    The hiking trails of Hawaii wander along the shore, through deep valleys, and across high mountain ridges. Know the difficulty level of any trail you attempt to hike before you trek out on an adventure. Do the research. Find out the distance and difficulties, rest areas, parking areas, and location. Do not overestimate your abilities or experience. Stay alert and focused. When hiking near steep inclines or earthen embankments, watch for falling rock. Be especially aware when near waterfalls or after a heavy rainfall.

    Be Aware Of The Weather

    Fierce winds and torrential rain can pop up suddenly with no warning. Avoid hiking on narrow muddy trails after rain; they are often slick and dangerous. Trails can become hazardous in a heartbeat with the chance of mudslides, flash floods, and falling rocks. Flash floods can turn a benign, gentle stream into a raging torrent.

    Note The Time Of Day

    Darkness falls quickly in Hawaii due to its location near the equator. Once the sun starts to sink beyond the horizon, it disappears before you know it. You do not want to get caught on the trail when darkness falls. Always practice safety first and, flashlight or not, never attempt to hike in the dark, and if need be shelter in place until daylight.

    When planning any hike, keep the time of day in mind and made sure to allow plenty of time from departure to make it to your destination by nightfall.

    Do Not Depend On Your Mobile Device

    Once you leave the trailhead on any hike, you may or may not have a wireless signal. No matter if you are walking/hiking with your family or a group always let someone reliable, who is not going on the hike, know your route and when you expect to return. It is prudent to carry your cell phone; you may be able to reach out to family, friends or, in the case of an emergency, to first responders; but don’t count on it.

    Stay Hydrated

    Be sure to drink lots and lots of water in the days before your hike to ensure your start out well hydrated. Carry the water you require with you on the trail. Stay hydrated and remember to drink as often as possible. Never drink from waterfalls or mountain streams. The water may appear crystal clear, but do not drink unless you boil it first. Frequent rainfall flowing over rotting organic materials carries Leptospirosis, a bacterial disease, into ponds, lakes, and streams. The nasty bacteria manifest symptoms like the flu, and you may not feel the effects of the illness for as long as two weeks. When it hits you, you will regret not carrying enough bottled water.

    It Gets Hot Out There

    Hawaii is blessed with lots of sunshine. You will feel its effects even on a cloudy day. Carry plenty of sunscreen and use it generously. It gets hot out there. You are active and sweating. To prevent heat exhaustion avoid hiking during the hottest hours of the day. Wear a hat and sunglasses and loose clothing. If you feel faint or fatigued, seek shade, hydrate, and loosen binding clothing.


    Many island trails explore mountainous regions, where the temperature is considerably cooler than it is at the shore. On the Big Island, in a single day hike, you can trek through 11 different climate zones. As the elevation increases, the mercury drops. Make sure you have rain gear and the appropriate amount of layered clothing for comfort. It can get mighty cold, especially on the slopes of Mauna Kea.

    Play It Safe

    Never attempt to hike a potentially treacherous trail in beach shoes, sandals, or running shoes. The trails in Hawaii demand the best in extreme outdoor adventure footwear. Choose a sturdy hiking boot with a superior tread for traction.

    When hiking, wear bright colors, preferably safety orange. There are hunters that use these trails as well.

    Prepare To Be Amazed

    To enjoy your trip to its fullest potential, be sure to bring a camera, maybe a pair of binoculars, plenty of water, snacks, insect repellent, and a first aid kit. Hawaii’s hiking trails will take you well off the beaten path to experience the “real” Hawaii away from modern conveniences and city traffic.

  • July 22, 2016

    Why Buy Sandals With Arch Support?


    Arch Support without Orthotics

    According to some orthopedists, the arch is the single most important structural component of our feet, and therefore our whole body, and can withstand up to 300,000 pounds of stress per mile as we walk and move throughout our active days.

    Like our fingerprint, everyone’s arch is different, varying in height; but unlike a fingerprint, our arches change as we age and over time as we use and abuse our body.

    See a Doctor

    If you haven’t already been advised by a doctor or shoe fitting specialist about whether or not you have flat, medium or high arches, simply stand in front of a mirror and observe how much of the sole of your feet rests on the floor. Or, walk with wet feet on surface where you can leave an impression. Even take a barefoot walk on the beach and see what your footprint looks like in the sand. Low arches (flat feet) will make a larger print with less curve from the heel to the big toe; while high arches will leave a small strip of a print. A physical therapist or podiatrist can help provide a professional recommendation for your particular needs.

    No matter what you were born with, arch support is important, along with strengthening your foot muscles and practicing proper body mechanics.

    What is Pronation

    Arch shape also leads to what is commonly referred to as pronation. High arches lead to underpronation, where the foot rolls outward. Flat footed individuals with lower arches tend to overpronate, where the foot falls inward.

    Pronation generally causes misalignment of the knees and hips and because the body is a system, ultimately affects the back, shoulder and neck as well. Common injuries from excessive foot rotation include bunions, shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, all types of knee pain, lower back pain, and more.

    Staying Active on Your Feet

    Arch support is especially important for sports and those with an active lifestyle, promoting proper knee alignment and power transfer through the arches and muscles of the feet. A cushioned footbed, in addition to moderate arch support, can go a long way to preventing pronation.

    Maintaining a healthy body weight, strengthening the bare feet, stretching, and staying properly hydrated and exercising regularly can all contribute to healthy arches, and a healthy back, as well.

    So Why Sandals? 

    People often associate arch support with active footwear like running or hiking shoes. That same level of support, however, is just as important in everyday wear. We spend a lot of time on our feet, and deserve support through every step. We take our sandals off when we get to the beach because we love the way the sand cradles our feet. Let that feeling follow you onto the concrete, to work, to the trailhead — wherever your favorite pair of OluKai sandals take you.


  • July 20, 2016

    Kauai Beach Adventures

    ©istockphoto/Mark Skerbinek ©istockphoto/Mark Skerbinek

    A Hawaiian beach adventure is a delightful outing for all types of visitors. Be sure to take the necessary precautions: check the local weather and surf advisories before venturing out into the ocean, be wary of riptides and rocky shore lines, especially at high tide. Many of Kauai’s beaches are prone to giant shore breaks and strong undertow. Remember to slather on the sunscreen. The sun may be a lot stronger than you realize and it’s easy to get sunburned, even on a cloudy day.

    While some of the island’s beaches are more dangerous than others, it is wise to remember that they are all dangerous and deadly. Hawaii watermen advise that visitors only swim in locations with a lifeguard, and only to go in the water after you have reviewed current advisories and have asked the lifeguard which portion of the beach you should be using, as conditions vary daily.

    Kee Beach State Park A favorite of visitors and locals alike, Kee Beach, where the road ends on the North Shore, is a delightful beach blessed with reddish-gold sugar sand, almost too beautiful and pristine to be real. Kee Beach is located at a reef-protected cove at the base of massive fluted volcanic cliffs. While it is safe to snorkel and swim inside the protected reef, outside the protection of the reef, North Shore currents can be deadly. Kee Beach has a channel to the open ocean, and if you go beyond the reef, it is easy to misjudge the strength and size of the waves, and rip currents can pull someone hundreds of yards down the coast without notice. If this happens, there are no beaches nearby. Even if a person could make the swim to shore, they would only find sheer cliff faces.

    Net Beach Located in Kilauea on Kauai’s North Shore, Net Beach is the island’s unofficial nude beach. Don’t forget the sunscreen.

    Polihale Beach Listed by Travel and Leisure Magazine as the world’s finest secluded beach, Polihale Beach has seven spectacular miles of shoreline, sand dunes up to 100 feet tall and a broad, sugar sand beach. Although it is not easy to get to, necessitating a 30-minute drive on a washed out sugarcane road to reach the shores, the remote beach is well worth the trip. Polihale Beach has no lifeguards, public services or cell phone service.

    Kehena Beach Kehena Beach is another beach where clothing is optional. However, it may not be for everyone. The path to the beach is steep, and the ocean presents strong currents. The beach is popular as it secluded with dense foliage. While it may be a great place to sunbathe, the currents make it a dangerous place to swim or snorkel. There are no lifeguards or public services.

    Lumahai Beach Although the waters of Lumahai Beach appear serene, this beach does not have a protective reef, which leaves the coastline exposed to the open ocean. Strong shore breaks, riptides, and high surf make it one of most dangerous beaches on Kauai. While the scenery is spectacular, visitors are advised to stay at least a 100 feet from the shoreline.

  • July 19, 2016

    Live Aloha!

    photo-1465152251391-e94453ee3f5aFor persons pursuing the path of Pono (good and godliness), or those fortunate enough to live in the Hawaiian Islands, “Aloha” is a word commonly voiced. We use it as a welcoming hello, a heartfelt farewell, or to express affection and love. However, when visitors come to Hawaii, Aloha is a word often bantered about, misunderstood, and misused. Many visitors to the islands feel compelled to say “Aloha” whenever they meet someone, and every time they say goodbye, which trivializes the word. The word Aloha should not be taken literally. Aloha is so much more than the sum of its multiple meanings.

    What Is Aloha?

    To the ancient Hawaiians, Aloha meant ‘God Within Us.” The authentic meaning of Aloha in Hawaii is one of compassion, sympathy, pity, mercy, kindness, peace, and love: a guideline for life. Living a life of Aloha means a heart full of gratitude and love for life, overflowing with joy, sharing the “Aloha Spirit” with others.

    “Aloha is being a part of all, and all being a part of me. When there is pain, it is my pain. When there is joy, it is also mine. I respect all that is as part of the Creator and part of me. I will not willfully harm anyone or anything. When food is needed, I will take only my need and explain why it is being taken. The earth, the sky, the sea are mine to care for, to cherish and to protect. This is Hawaiian, this is Aloha!”

    – Translated Ancient Hawaiian Proverb

    History Of Aloha

    Long before whalers, traders, and missionaries “discovered” the island chain, the first people to inhabit the tropical paradise known today as Hawaii embraced a strong spiritual belief system with defined values and sacred practices in place. The ancient Hawaiians shared an intense awareness of “Self” connected to everything, with teachings and practices focused on oneness, self-awareness, self-development, and self-greatness.

    The Hawaiians of long ago lived their lives guided by an internal moral compass that reminded them that they were one with all men, the sea, the sky, the land, and all creatures. Goodwill and kindness to one is goodwill and kindness to all. To harm anyone or anything is to harm and wound everything.

    The deep and abiding connection to "Oneness" also embraces those persons departed from the physical dimension, family and friends who have crossed the rainbow bridge from human to spirit-wholeness. Souls who made the transition from the physical to the spiritual world continued their journey, often serving as spiritual guides.

    The ancient belief system is based on respect for others, goodness (pono) always for one’s self and others, and living a life in alignment with universal laws and one’s true identity. Through stories, songs, and chants, Hawaiian children learn early the lessons of Aloha so that the Keiki (children) might be a living example to others in how to live a life of Aloha. Kupuna (elders) use the practice of Mo’olelo or storytelling to teach Aloha’s life lessons.

    • A - ala: watchful, aware, alertness
    • L - lokahi: working with unity and understanding
    • O - oia'i'o: truthful, honest, forthcoming
    • H - ha'aha'a: humility, grace
    • A - ahonui: patience, perseverance

    Aloha profoundly impacts the Hawaiian culture. For enlightened Hawaiians living a life of aloha, the “Aloha Spirit” personifies a unique way of living: the ultimate lifestyle, the secret to a rich and satisfying life.

    Today, with the help of surfing and it’s laid back approach to life, the well-known expression travels the world, adopted by multiple languages and earning Hawaii the nickname of the “Aloha State.” “To have or not have Aloha is the meaning of life.” Live Aloha!

  • July 14, 2016

    OluKai Sandals With Arch Support

    OK3 So many people in all types of climates love wearing sandals every day. The comfort, convenience, and casual style of sandals can’t be beat.

    And it’s a common misconception that a sandal won’t have arch support. A very unfortunate misconception indeed. Let’s begin to dispel this myth. Enter OluKai.

    These aren’t your run of the mill, rubber thongs or flips you buy from a corner store on vacation. OluKai sandals with arch support are legitimate performance footwear, and these sandals are especially important for those folks who have been told by a doctor, or have discovered themselves through trial and error, that their feet and body need arch support to function at an optimal level.

    In the beginning, OluKai wanted to create footwear that combines durability, the ocean lifestyle, and to create a brand rooted in style, comfort and craftsmanship.

    And this includes making open toed shoes and sandals that aren’t just inexpensive flip flops – but are a serious performance play and fashion-forward for every activity, that still provide a real level of arch support underfoot.

    Many OluKai sandals feature anatomical, compression-molded EVA midsoles.  Others are endowed with innovative lightweight, injected TPU performance chassis, and a soft molded anatomical ICEVA footbed with wet traction surface design.

    The brand’s vegan friendly footwear, of which many of OluKai’s sandals with arch support fall into, offers durability, traction and support, while using 100 percent high­-quality synthetic materials with no animal products.

    OluKai sandals with arch support also feature non-marking rubber or gum rubber outsoles with molded siping (tiny razor-like cuts) for traction.

    OluKai’s water resistant sandals feature lightweight, quick drying, breathable and durable materials for use in and around water. Synthetic sandals feature water-resistant, man-made materials designed to look and function like leather, such as in the Hokua. The women’s I’A (ee-ah) also features arch support in a three-point sandal with a Hawaiian Boxfish strap pattern, delicate laser-etched footbed detail, and a soft nylon toe post.

    Once you know where you can find high quality sandals with arch support, you’ll never go back to your old plastic flip-flops again.

    Follow this link to even more OluKai sandals with arch support…

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