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January 4, 2012



by flykitesports

In 1988 I went to Hawaii for the first time with my then boyfriend and now husband, Packy.  Packy had some wild concept that I was indestructible so our first ocean swim was at Pupu kea (up current from Pipeline) in monster huge surf.  After extracting myself from the scariest 45 minutes of my young life I declared I need something a little less life threatening to make my first Hawaiian Holiday memorable. The following day my husband’s dear friend, Ka’au  picked us up for an ”epic” surf session at Ku’aloa, near Chinaman’s Hat on Oahu.

I had never surfed before so Ka’au kindly brought a boogie board and some Churchill fins for me.  We started out with very long paddle out

Ka'au and Packy drinking hot tea on the lift at Big Sky.

to the waves the boys wanted to surf for old times sake, they were 23 years old and high school was old times.  The day was beautiful, I laughed with joy each time I caught a wave or paddled over one.  Ka’au was kind and helped with my “land lubber’s” attempts at boogie boarding.  This was the beginning of many adventures with Ka’au.  As I learned to surf, in the following years, Ka’au would join us, we spent weekends at a friend’s beach house with Ka’au and his family, attended parties and went to special dinners to hear his mother, an amazing Hawaiian musician sing.  My husband helped Ka’au work on a canoe in his workshop and sailed on the Ho’kulea with him.  Ka’au took me on my first sailing canoe ride from the Outrigger around Diamond Head and smiled his gorgeous smile the whole way.

Ka’au was also the reason my husband learned to kite.  Packy was tired of too many days spent looking at great waves when it was too windy to paddle out on a surfboard. Ka’au suggested Packy get a kite but wisely declined to teach him the sport. Ka’au finally visited us in Montana several years ago and we took him on his first and only snowkite adventure. It was a flawless sunny day, perfect for Ka’au.

Ka’au passed away, tragically, this spring shortly after our annual trip to Oahu.  My husband was able to attend Ka’au’s private memorial with

Ka'au kiting in Yelowstone Park before it was outlawed.

Ka’au’s family and other high school friends, I had to stay in Montana.  I have realized how often I think of Ka’au, the other day when I met a stranger from Hawaii on his first snowkite adventure Ka’au came to mind.  Two days later I was listening to “A Prairie Home Companion” (there is not much else to do on a Sunday evening in Montana) and Ka’au came back to me again.  My eyes filled with tears when I heard the tribute played by Danny Carvalho, Kaaumoana.  So many people loved, respected and admired Ka’au.  Please listen to this song it is a wonderful tribute and another piece of beauty inspired by Ka’au’s beautiful life.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 10 2012


    I am sorry it looks like the link has been deactivated by the folks at Minnesota Public Radio. If you go to the following: you can get an MP3 file of the performance. It must have been a disappointment not to have heard the song when you attended PHC. I cried when I heard it.

    I do feel fortunate that I got to see Ka’au on last time when we were in HI last spring. At a barbecue at a friend’s house Ka’au brought quickly became the Pied Piper of all the kids when he used an i-pad with a star finder ap to teach the kids about the stars. I still laugh when I hear certain country western songs as when the boys pulled out their instruments they commenced to play some pretty silly songs about the truck being broke, the girl being gone and the dog getting kicked.

    Take care and thanks for letting me know the link had been removed,

  2. Emily Williams
    Jan 9 2012

    Aloha, I tried the link to hear the song but it didn’t work. We are family friends of the mckinny’s and attended the second taping of prairie home companion with them but didn’t get to hear Ka’au Moana. Mahalo


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