When Jeff Chang and Karen Lar Rieu—the brother-sister team behind Wet Feet Hawaii—aren't scrawling on the ocean's waves with their paddles, they're usually in their shop chatting with customers about their experiences. Behind their counter, they sell and rent gear, and orchestrate a team of paddleboard racers, an ocean conservationist, and water enthusiasts as they lead lessons and tours.
During the eco tour, a conservationist—who was the first woman to cross the Molokai Channel on a standup paddleboard—teaches the basics while leading tour members to conservation areas to expound on the problem of plastics in the ocean. On the downwind tours, some of Hawaii’s top standup-paddleboard racers guide and coach guests to tackle the infamous downwind runs of Oahu. With four different levels to suit all experiences and 5- to 12-mile runs, tour members can challenge themselves without challenging every dolphin they see to a race. In recognition of their service to the sport and the community, Honolulu magazine named Wet Feet Hawaii Best Standup Paddle Shop in Honolulu for 2010.
Big Wave Dave Surf Co.'s staff of experienced wave riders hits the shores of Waikiki Beach for private and small-group lessons in surfing, standup paddleboarding, and outrigger canoeing. Each instructor's résumé boasts at least 10 years of teaching experience, an extensive knowledge of first aid, and at least one semester as Poseidon's college intern. During classes, first-time surfers learn the basics on land before heading into the warm waters to hang their first 10, whereas advanced riders barrel out into the waves atop fiberglass and epoxy boards. Outrigger canoes recall ancient Hawaiians' exploration of Oahu's colorful reefs, and standup paddleboards combine an intense workout with clear views of the pristine waters below. The shop also offers daily and long-term rentals of equipment, with complimentary delivery and pickup from local hotels.
Spash! Hawaii has been outfitting swimmers in suits and accessories for more than 30 years. Amid the din of fine shops and restaurants at the outdoor Ala Moana Center mall, the brightly lit store teems with racks of sport and recreational swimsuits from top lines such as Roxy, Volcom, and Billabong, as well as from local designers such as Honey Girl Water Wear. Its mannequins display lacy beach cover-ups and casual apparel, and a rainbow of Havaianas flip-flops sweeps down its display stands.
Fighting against the profiteering of bigger ink sellers, Mr. Ink Plus locally reloads exhausted printers with discounted compatible and remanufactured cartridges and toners. Canon and Brother inks both come in compatible clones ($5.95+ and $11.95+, respectively), and remanufactured equivalents of HP and Epson ($19.95 and $11.95, respectively) quench parched printers after proving themselves in Mr. Ink's nozzle, circuit, and print test, and dominating a durability test in the spin-art Thunderdome. So confident are Mr. Ink's experts in their product that they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Nordstrom Rack houses a dizzying array of high-fashion brands—some of it from the Nordstrom shelves and some of it straight from top-tier designers—that it sells for as much as 70% off retail prices. Every store stocks an average of 25,000 pairs of shoes, a foot-feast featuring hundreds of designer brands. Gals can suit up for slick, soggy streets with a duo of Report 'Louise' faux suede convertible boots ($46.90), while guys can stylishly saunter in a pair of suede-overlaid New Balance retro running shoes ($39.90). Nordstrom Rack's extensive collection of designer jeans keep wayward legs from impersonating arms, and with a bevy of items for women, men, juniors, and children, Nordstrom Rack's expansive stock is sure to please the palate of any hanger-hungry wardrobe.
South Pacific Watersports' expert captains send patrons on thrilling aquatic excursions, promoting both watery amusement and the conservation of Hawaii's delicate oceanic life. Adventurers cling to a rollicking bumper tube with up to three other guests as it skims the wake of Koko Marina tethered to a zooming motorboat or a benevolent plesiosaur's neck. Up to five folks can then clamber aboard a boat to Maunalua Bay, where knowledgeable instructors lead a 20-minute course imparting the basics of standup paddleboarding before turning pupils loose on the tide. Perched atop provided boards, students draw lengthy paddles through the surf while soaking in views of the ocean floor's inhabitants and mermaid sock hops through the bay's crystal-clear waters. The 90-minute outing also doubles as a full-body workout as paddlers buff up arms against rippling waters and clench abs and quads to stabilize their balance.