Giving back to your community can be fun and rewarding for your team!

Giving back to your community can be fun and rewarding for your team! 

The Waikīkī Community Center

 hosted the 32nd Annual Duke Kahanamoku Beach Challenge on Sunday, May 7, 2017. We bought a team sponsorship and asked our ohana (staff) to come and compete against some other very good companies. We were sandwiched between two powerhouses: Hawaii Electric and Hawaiian Airlines. We ended up making it to the semi-finals in the outrigger canoe race. It was an enjoyable hands-on day of showcasing our teamwork and highlighting Hawaiian values.

This annual event draws both locals and visitors for an exciting day of team canoe races, stand-up paddle races, and kayak races at Duke’s lagoon and beach fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikīkī Beach Resort. The day’s events include community teams competing in classic Hawaiian watersports. The outrigger canoe race is an open-ocean, quarter-mile competition open to all skill levels. Teams also participate in the stand-up paddle race in Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon where paddlers race from the makai end of the lagoon and finish at the mauka end. New this year, teams also had the opportunity to compete in a two-person kayak race in the lagoon. 

As Hawai‘i’s greatest waterman, Duke Kahanamoku brought great honor and dignity to Hawaiian watersports through his stellar achievements as a surfer and Olympic swimmer and through his love for the ocean. Each year the competition honors those who, in the spirit of Duke, made a significant contribution to Hawai‘i’s watersports culture. The annual fundraiser supports the multi-generational services the Waikīkī Community Center has been providing to the community for the last 39 years. In addition, visitors could browse the craft fair on Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Great Lawn featuring local crafts, goods, games and activities for the keiki. Some of Hawai‘i’s finest entertainers also performed during the event. This year's event honored John Clark, a waterman, writer, and historian who has done much to perpetuate the stories and culture behind Hawai‘i’s surf spots and coastal landmarks. Clark is the author of “Hawaiian Surfing: Traditions from the Past,” “Hawai‘i Place Names: Shores, Beaches and Surf Sites,” “Hawai‘i’s Best Beaches,” and more.

Even though we didn't win any prizes, our ohana got to engage in friendly competition with members of our community, as well as enjoy time with each other. The rewards for their efforts was a complimentary beef stew plate lunch and some hard-earned beers; most importantly, they got to cultivate and strengthen their bonds outside of the workplace while enjoying all the advantages living in Hawaii has to offer.