The familiar Olukai booth and banner are always a draw a SUP events around the globe. We expect the team with great smiles, customer service and community-giving stories are actively preparing for Battle of the Paddle (BOP) this coming weekend. I was thinking about the most recent Olukai team member I met, Julissa Downing from Washington who manned the booth at the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge. I had my cool orange Olukais “hanging ten” as I paddled Elk Lake on the last day of summer.
Julissa had joined the Olukai team just a few months before. We hadn’t been talking more than a few minutes when the Olukai Ho’olaule’a Maliko event become the topic. Julissa exclaimed, “Oh, I hope to get to that event and participate in some of the community projects that we’ll be doing there. I love the giving back to community that’s an important part of Olukai. There are so many choices and chance for participating”
It is that spirit that enhances the superior quality and design of the Olukai products. It’s pretty easy to be a fan when their culture so aligns with that of paddlers, ocean-loving, island loving folks. Perhaps I did go a bit off to the extreme before my first down winder in the Columbia River during the 30-40 mph winds and intimidating surf – I decided I needed a symbol for luck and safe passage.
The symbol of the Makau, or bone hook, is present on every Olukai product. It is the traditional Polynesian symbol worn for strength, good luck, and safe passage over water. Since no shoes would be joining me on the 8 mile race from Viento to Waterfront Park I took Sharpie marker in hand and went to work. The result was a temp-tattoo that made me feel happy.
If you have been a part of any of the Olukai community events, or have been the recipient of their good work like the Pa’ia Youth and Cultural Center, please send us your story or comments. To jog your memory, here are some photos from recent team efforts. When we say a company has a true culture and heart, THIS is what we mean!