PAKALA VILLAGE — Carrying off surfboards and bags filled with swag, keiki from Anahola to Kekaha, and some from Ni‘ihau visiting family, bustled with wide smiles Thursday and Friday afternoons.
Boards, fins, wet suits and other surf gear were dispersed across the island in a follow-up to last year’s Keiki Surf Giveaway that allowed over 100 kids to receive gifts leading into the Christmas holiday.
The crew of organizers and volunteers, led by Sam Martin, included Makana Keaweamahi, Billy DeCosta and Kaimi, Pualehua and Makali‘i Kaneholani.
Last year, Martin put out a call to the community asking for surfboards to giveaway to the youth, making stops all around the island with mini giveaways. In 2020, Martin counted around 50 surfboards, 22 bodyboards, nine pairs of fins, hats, masks, sunscreen and more from over a thousand donors to amount in about $25,000 in donations.
Friends and community members remembered what he helped lead last year and wanted to see if he was going to make it happen again.
“It was short notice,” Martin said. “Last year, we planted the seed. This year, the fruit was falling.”
Looking out at the final giveaway in Anahola on Friday, Martin estimated a value of $80,000 in new and used surfboards and other gear. About $11,000 of that was monetary donations.
It’s not just an effort that no kid gets left behind during the holiday season, but to make sure the entire island has access to gear.
“Our goal is to get our kids in the water,” Kaimi Kaneholani said Friday, Christmas Eve.
Following their first stop at Pakala Village on Thursday, the group made their way to Waimea and then Kekaha, finding kids along the way.
“We got a call that this family wasn’t going to have any gifts this year,” Martin recalled.
Martin hopes to set up a website and donation site in the future, expanding the program to not just the holiday season.
“I want people to know that nobody forgot about you,” Martin said.
Martin thanked sponsors Tamba, ‘Ohana Shop in Hanalei, Kalalea Juice Hale, Green ‘Opihi Home Brand, Smile Be Nice, North Shore Preserve, Palladium Architectural Designs, Wishing Well Shave Ice, Kayak Hanalei, Hanalei School of Surfing, Blak Bear Surf and Mark White Lures, as well as individual and family cash donations from the Normans, the Freys, Thomas Kilroy, Walker Hart, Bobi Rey, Elizabeth Keane, Bennette Goldberg, Sam and Laurie Ainslie, Boby Galchutt and the Brolaski family.
“This is as close to aloha as you can get,” Beau Marchino said. Early next year, Marchino hopes to get a Boogie Board competition up and running in Anahola, which Martin would like to donate to in the future.
Source: The Garden Island