5 Best SUP Spots on Oahu with Hawaiian Legend, Eric Keawe
Glide ambassador, and a true ambassador of aloha, Eric Keawe, and I talk about SUP, surfing, the best spots to surf and eat on Oahu, and life in general.
Eric with the Glide Retro
AJ: When did you start surfing?
EK: I started surfing at the age of 12 through a friend and mentor of mine at church, who loved making surfboards. I would stop by his home to watch him make boards. Even if I never surfed before, he offered to help me make one. We found an old tanker board that he stripped down and shaped into a size for me at my young age. He then taught me how to surf, and I became hooked. Our favorite surf spots were South Shore Ala Moana Beach, Diamond Head and Kewalo. On the North Shore, Velzyland was our favorite. We would often go very early in the morning and be back to Honolulu in time before school started.
AJ: How did you get into SUP?
EK: I purchased a SUP Board for my wife’s birthday in Sept. 2009 from a friend’s surf shop in Waianae, Hale Nalu Surf Shop. Although my wife enjoyed it, I seemed to enjoy it more and used her board a lot. I started paddling at Ala Moana Beach Park Alley lanes, then eventually took it out to the surf line and got hooked again.
-What is your favorite style of paddling?
EK: I love all styles of paddling, including canoe, one-man canoe, kayaking and stand up. Stand up paddling is really my favorite.
-How has paddling, surfing and the ocean affected your life?
EK: I have always loved the ocean since I was a child. Our family would often go to San Souci Beach aka Kaimana Beach where the Natatorium Memorial sits at the base of Diamond Head. We would go family camping at Punalu’u Beach and Bellows Beach in Waimanalo. The effect of being in the ocean, paddling and surfing has always been a part of my lifestyle. It is where we find peace and serenity, whether it would be early at dawn before sunrise or late in the evening during sunset. When I got married we would often go to the ocean. However, family and career slowed that a bit. Now that our children are grown and our careers have been established, we are able to spend more time at the beach surfing, running, walking and just appreciating sweet moments in our lives. The sport keeps us healthy and fit in body, spirit and mind. We also get to spend time with our grandchildren who also love the ocean very much.
Eric blowing the conch making SUP surf look easy.
-What are a few details you like about your Glide SUPs?
EK: Glide has been a great and exciting experience for me. I love riding the Glide boards, from the 7 Six, 9 Six and the 10’ All Arounder(Retro). These boards are made for Lakes, Rivers and Rapids. Since I live in Hawaii I wanted to test these boards riding waves at my favorite surf spots.
The 7Six SUP rocks! I love the immediate response on the wave ripping the lips and cutting back into the bowl. It is super active in competition with other brands at the surf line up.
The 9 Six is a very wide and thick board (approx. 5 inches thick). I’ve had a little difficult time with this board because the meat section (or the sweet spot) of this board seems to be a little off kilt. It is a bit difficult in catching waves and making turns. It seems to be better for paddling and exercise.
The 10’ All Arounder(Retro) board is made for paddling specifically, although not intended for the waves because of its size and weight. It holds its own against any other large board. The expert surfer will know how to maneuver a board like this. I always have fun on this board since it’s so easy to catch waves. I enjoy it very much.
Aside from the SUP’s, I’ve tested Glide’s shortboards. Quad 5’10” and tri-fin 5’9”. I use them as my workout boards to keep me young. I am happy that I can still ride these short boards at my age. It is an immediate responder in the water. I look forward to riding Glide’s long boards.
AJ: How is it being a Glide SUP ambassador?
EK: I’m grateful that Glide took a big step with me as their ambassador in Hawaii. I consider this an honor and a blessing on my part to be a member of the Glide SUP team to represent and share Aloha in this birth sport of Hawaii.
Shredding the Glide Retro on Oahu
AJ: What are your top 5 SUP destinations on Oahu?
EK: My current home turf is Ala Moana Beach (don’t want to name the spot) on the South Shore.
The other favorite spots are:
2) Waikiki (which ranges from Diamond Head and spots in between to Ala Moana Bowl)
3) Makaha Beach
4) Haleiwa’s Ali’I Beach
5) Sunset / Velzyland / Freddies
AJ: Top 5 apre SUP eats on Oahu?
EK: Rainbow Drive Inn (Edge of Waikiki)
Zippys (Island Wide)
Haleiwa Joe’s (North Shore)
Ted’s Bakery (North Shore)
Matsumoto’s Shave Ice (North Shore)