Friday, October 21, 2011

2011 Standup Paddling Awards

Jenny Kalmbach: 2011 Female Paddler of the Year
Standup Paddling (SUP) is a relatively new sport that's really taken off in Hawai‘i and around the world. Here at Holualoa Inn, our very own Jenny Kalmbach was recently crowned the world's top female paddler at the 2011 SUP Awards held in California last month.

If you happen to be staying at the Inn, you can easily recognize Jenny by her broad, strong shoulders — no surprise since Jenny is one of the most accomplished long-distance paddlers in the world. Last April, Jenny paddled across all of the major channels in the Hawaiian Islands, charting 300 total miles. Her amazing 82-mile trek from O‘ahu to Kauai took a grueling 16 hours to complete.

One of 15 wahine paddlers nominated for Female Paddler of the Year, Jenny said the award took her by surprise. "It was very exciting and very much of a shock. I just want to be a positive role model in the community and represent the sport of standup paddling the way it should be represented."

Jenny surfs Pavones in Costa Rica.
Jenny has traveled to places like Holland, Germany and Costa Rica to compete in SUP events. Her next adventure takes her to Canada, where she will paddle through a proposed tanker route while raising awareness against a pipeline slated to be installed in British Columbia. You can keep track of Jenny's SUP activities on her website: She's also on Facebook at

Beach clean-up
Active in environmental issues, Jenny says standup paddling offer participants a whole new perspective about the ocean. She thinks it's awesome that so many people are trying the sport. "The more time people spend on the water, the more they want to protect what they see."

Kona offers excellent places for beginners to learn standup paddling. Jenny recommends the pier area in Kailua Village, where Kona Boys provides boards and paddles for rent. Our Holualoa Inn ohana will also give you tips and advice on other great places to visit during your stay at our romantic Kona Hawaii inn.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Artists of Holualoa

The historic village of Holualoa is also a vibrant arts town, home to many of the Big Island's most acclaimed artists. Located within walking distance of Holualoa Inn, a wonderful array of art galleries and studios beckon visitors to experience the creative energy of Holualoa.

Just around the corner from the Inn, Woodworker Cliff John's gallery showcases fantastic pieces by  woodturners, sculptors, painters, photographers, Hawaiian drum makers and furniture makers. In fact, it's one of the only galleries on the Big Island that displays the work of woodworker Holualoa's own Tai Lake, whose famous koa furniture is collected worldwide. On any given day, you might find Cliff demonstrating woodturning or painting on the front porch, or chatting with fellow artists who've dropped by to say hello.

Across the street, the Shelley Maudsley White Gallery features this Holualoa-based artists' wonderful watercolors that depict everything from vibrant florals and native birds to barnyard animals like chickens and roosters. For the last 35 years, Shelley has created a name for herself on the Islands, creating iconic images known throughout Hawai‘i.

Fine furniture-maker Gerald Ben owns Dovetail Gallery and Design, which also features contemporary and abstract art, wood works and jewelry from a variety of local artists. For handcrafted ukuleles, Holualoa Ukulele Gallery presents beautiful koa instruments, and offers classes in ukulele making. A little way up the road, the Ipu Hale Gallery unveils amazing designs on gourds decorated in the traditional Ni‘ihau style.

Sunny Pau‘ole conducts art workshops at the Inn.
Guests of Holualoa Inn can book an art lesson in painting or drawing with artist Sunny Pau‘ole, who has been a familiar face in Holualoa for many years as a gallery owner. Ask our Holualoa Inn ohana for details about the workshops, which take place at the Inn and incorporate beautiful botanicals from our gardens. A small portfolio or canvas is yours to keep.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tips for Watching Ironman

Each year in October, Kona is transformed by the arrival of elite athletes from around the world. The prestigious Ford Ironman World Championship takes place this coming Saturday, October 8, providing the biggest forum for professional and amateur triathletes to compete on the world stage.

If you are visiting Kona during Ironman, there are many ways to enjoy the event. Some visitors volunteer to become part of a "Kokua Crew," working at aid stations along the route that provide water, hydrating sponges, or in the case of late-night finishers, glow sticks for safety after dark.

The race starts at Kailua Pier at 6:30 in the morning with the 2.4-mile swim that spans to the Royal Kona Resort and back. Arrive early in Kailua Town to find a place to park. Easy parking can be found up Palani Road near Hilo Hatties, or up Walua Road near Royal Kona Resort. The swim is one of the most exciting occasions in sports, with 1,800 competitors in the water vying for position. Spectators can get a good vantage of the swim anywhere along the seawall in downtown Kailua.

Once they complete their swim, competitors return to the pier to commence the bike portion of the event, a 112-mile trek from Kailua-Kona to Hawi and back. After most of the field is gone on their bikes, things become a lot more low-key in town. This is a good time to grab a bite to eat at any number of great restaurants, such as Thai Rin, Splashers, The Fish Hopper or Lava Java.

Starting around noon, the top of the field begin returning to the pier on their bikes, where the transition to the run portion of the event takes place. The 26.2-mile run begins at the bike transition at pier and heads south along Ali‘i Drive to Keauhou and back down Ali‘i Drive to Palani Road, up to the Highway to the Natural Energy Lab by the airport and back to town. Now is the time for spectators to find a spot anywhere along Ali‘i Drive, settle back in your beach chair with umbrella, and enjoy cold beverages and snacks while watching the runners go by. Helicopters track the top male and female runners. When you see a helicopter approaching, you know that one of the leaders is fast approaching. As 2 p.m. approaches, you might want to head back to the pier for the exciting result of the first-place finishers. Town is packed with cheering people from around the world waving flags, clanging bells and slapping inflatable cheersticks and other types of noisemakers.

Even after the top athletes have finished, there's still plenty of Ironman action to enjoy, as amateur competitors continue pour into town up until midnight. Some of the most emotional Ironman moments can be witnessed long after the top winners have been determined. Wheelchair athletes, competitors with disabilities, older competitors and local favorites all have personal stories that inspire.

Located just a five-minute drive from downtown Kailua-Kona, Holualoa Inn is the ideal place to stay during Ironman. Our Big Island bed-and-breakfast inn provides a relaxing setting on a 30-acre coffee estate overlooking the Kona Coast. Ask our friendly ohana for more tips on watching Ironman, or how to avoid the crowds if you have another itinerary in mind.

Innkeeper Holualoa Inn