When educator Nicole Kealoha set out to enrich her community, she harnessed the vibrant power of hip-hop and urban culture to captivate young people. Her nonprofit Diverse Art Center, launched in 2008, seeks to foster connections between youths and the community via enriching and engaging instruction from professional artists. The accomplished teachers and artists—including leading local art figure Shaun Castro and award-winning dancer Josh Skittle—strive to instill positive values and self-esteem in their pupils as they shepherd them through the many mediums that comprise hip-hop culture, including dance, music, and the visual arts. No fewer than five area schools participate in the center's fitness-focused Healthy Hip-Hop program, and daily urban art instruction includes tutorials in hip-hop lettering, break dancing, and beatboxing with inner-city kangaroos.
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.
At Hawaii School of Photography, a symphony of clicking shutters and flashing lights fills the various classrooms during digital, traditional, and professional photography classes. As a school devoted to commercial photography, the company offers classes on DSLR basics, how to create lighting, and how to advance a career as a professional photographer. Courses are held in the studio or on-location, and the website also offers online course and free lessons. The school and studio is helmed by award-winning professional photographer and lighting expert Dr. Stephen Dantzig, whose work has appeared on 22 regional and national magazine covers and who's published many books and articles on the art of lighting.
With its pink sails filling with ocean breezes, the Island Magic Catamaran carries passengers out to sea in search of painted sunsets, playful humpbacks, and salty sprays. During sails, the crew carefully handles the 30-passenger vessel, allowing it to float lazily on glassy water or race against the island's fast-flowing swells. In addition to cruises, the team leads snorkeling adventures near Turtle Canyon, where sightseers can splash among green sea turtles before they finish hatching into boring, shell-less lizards. Sunset cruises depart 1.5 hours before the sun dips below the horizon, allowing passengers to admire the waves as they catch the last few bits of sunlight.
The enthusiastic wave-tamers at Hawaiian Surf Adventures infuse students with their waterlogged passions for surfing and standup paddleboarding along the southeast shore as well as Hawaiian canoeing . With access to areas such as the uncrowded waters of Maunalua Bay, instructors give their students the space needed to learn how to balance atop a board while riding the backs of white-crested, aqua-blue waves or vacationing Loch Ness monsters. Whether paddling surfboards, hanging ten, or navigating a Hawaiian canoe, the team makes adventures easy for beginners and informative for more seasoned watersports enthusiasts.
Endless rows of machines, friendly staff, and two locations give the no-frills sweat shop a comforting neighborhood feel. Expect to find eligible, state-of-the-art machines, intensive and expert fitness coaching, and a bevy of classes such as yoga, power sculpt, abs and flexibility, and cardio hip-hop.