At dawn, with the sun rising over Diamond Head, I paddled across Mamala Bay with the Kam brothers. They were my “uncles” that day, both native Hawaiians. Watermen.
On the paddle back we stopped and just sat on our boards. Dolphins swam around us. The water was super glassy and calm, with gentle swells breaking on the reefs closer to shore.
“You gotta get sand,” George said.
“Right here,” Kent said, laughing, and pointing down. Beds of sand glowed white between the darker bands of reef. It looked at least 20 feet down there. I tied to slow down my breathing.
You can usually feel when moments are about to happen that you’ll always remember. It’s as if they’re broken out of linear time, like you’re there in the moment but also watching it from someplace else–perhaps looking back at it from some future point in your memory. Or maybe you were always building up to this moment only you didn’t recognize it until now.
2. Returning to the source
For the last year and a half the handful of sand sat in a small grey nylon bag I used to keep tent stakes in. I had it pinned above my desk, and every once in a while I’d notice it up there and think about Mamala Bay. I wondered when I could get back and return that sand to where it belonged.
When the invitation to come back to Hawaii came, I knew I wanted to share something about Aloha. Something that George and Kent taught me when we were out there, something that I felt more and more as I spent time in Hawaii. Like all raw feelings, it’s difficult to turn into a story, to “media,” but my hope was that capturing people’s voices, faces–hearing the rhythm of the music and the feel of being out there on Mamala bay–viewers could feel a bit of Aloha themselves, and learn a bit more about what it means.
Video shot 100% on GoPro Hero 3+, all on location in Oahu
Special thanks to the following who sponsored me on this trip: