Before opening their local shop for underwater adventurers and tourists, The Snorkel Store's founders spent months field-testing hundreds of different snorkel sets for comfort, effectiveness, visibility, and durability. Thanks to their tireless research and firsthand experience, the snorkel specialists equip amateurs and avid swimmers alike with high-end silicone masks, bodyboards, and fins for exploring the beautiful below-sea-level scenery of Maui.
On the windward side of Oahu, the majestic Mokulau Islands embellish the sun-drenched horizon that faces Kailua, a beach town nestled directly below the Koolau Mountains. Here the aptly named Windward Watersports makes its home, under the direction of Jeff Tobias, a professional kitesurfer who helped to pioneer the sport locally. He and his staff leave the region's fragile ecosystem undisturbed as they lead passengers in exploring it via kayak, kiteboard, standup paddleboard, or surfboard. Patrons can rent the vessels for self-guided adventures into a bay teeming with as many sea turtles as a marine biologist's bathtub, or follow guides on kayak tours to surrounding points of natural splendor such as the "Mokes," only 45 minutes away. Strategically located, Windward Sports takes advantage of year-round trade winds and a temperature perpetually hovering around 80 degrees. Kailua serves as the ideal spot for kitesurfing, standup paddleboarding, and surfing lessons. Jeff and his sporty employees craft lessons that cater to all abilities and focus on safe, fun recreation atop frothy crests.
Featured in Pacific Edge and Go Kailua Magazine for their trailblazing approach to crafting wine, Oeno Winemaking owners Marshall Zeigler and Bryon Crowther offer an eclectic variety of wines made with European techniques, and have recently added beers to their repertoire. The winery hosts wine-sampling sessions, which educate sippers on the nuances of aroma and body while imparting the skills of proper swirling, sniffing, and tasting. Patrons choose their favorite wine or beer, which is handmade and aged for six to eight weeks in a temperature-controlled cellar-type crypt. Customers purchasing barrels return with friends and family for a two-hour bottling event. Amidst their cache of bottles and corks, Oeno also stocks beer-making kits, which include materials for up to five gallons of homebrews.
Oahu endears itself to both visitors and locals with its truly breathtaking scenery. The Ko'olau Mountain Range slopes across the island with rolling green hills and steep peaks that overlook Kailua Bay. Off the sandy shore, the ocean plays host to an array of aquatic wildlife, such as sea turtles, dolphins, exotic fish, and kayakers. The last of these creatures comes from Twogood Kayaks, whose trained naturalists lead tours through the area's brilliant turquoise waters and offshore islets filled with natural coves and 12 species of seabirds.
In addition to garnering a reputation for making and selling some of the swiftest kayaks over the past 30 years, the staffers also train the next generation of competitors during camps and clinics.
At the base of the Ko'olau Mountains, Robin Petersen and her team of gardeners coax blooms from flowers as well as nourish vines, shrubs, and trees. They, and others, have contributed to the care of the 20-acre farm since 1978, when Robin's mother, Sharon, planted the first seeds.
Although the gardeners at Sharon's Plants often work with professional landscapers, they welcome beginning gardeners. They'll happily lead visitors through their inventory, and they can advise on topics such as which plants to use for privacy or what species of bamboo to serve at a panda wedding.
Big Island native Iwalani Isbell, the designer behind Pualani Kailua swimwear, spends her free time surfing and performing stunts on the water. She draws inspiration from those pastimes to create stylish swimwear that holds up against an active lifestyle. Her bikinis and one-pieces—available in array of prints and styles—are crafted from four-way-stretch fabrics and soft lingerie lining for a comfortable feel that won't lose shape. Beachy dresses and activewear transition bodies from the water to dry land.