Waikiki literally translated means “spouting waters”. In ancient times, Waikiki consisted mostly of marshland that ran along the coast. The ancient Hawaiians converted much of the wetlands into taro farms and fish ponds connected to the ocean and bordered by coconut tree groves. The fertile reefs off Waikiki Beach provided an endless supply of fish and even lobster, but the waves of Waikiki were reserved for the nobility, called the Ali’i.
Standing on shaped planks of native wood, the Ali’i would ride the waves of Waikiki Beach as the first surfers on Earth. Challenge matches would arise as young Ali’i struggled to ride the largest waves, demonstrating their bravery and prowess. Often, those of highest rank did best because they had first rights to the best waves and usually had the best surfboards. The royal waves still roll over the ancient reef at Waikiki Beach, but today they are available for the enjoyment of everyone.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village is located in a 23-acre area of Waikiki once known as “Kalia.” Kalia means “waited for,” and legend tells of a Hawaiian Chief who lived in Kalia that waited patiently for the return if his wife who had been wooed away by a rival chief on Maui. Today, all of Kalia is occupied by the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa.
In 1848 King Kamehameha III adopted the western practice of issuing deeds to land and began a process called the “Great Mahele”. Land deeds were given to his family, other chiefs, to some commoners and even to foreigners. Kalia was deeded to Hawaiian native Henry Paoa.
The Paoa family included legendary waterman Duke Kahanamoku. In the early 1920′s. Duke Kahanamoku became famous worldwide as the young handsome Hawaiian who “swam like a fish” breaking world records and capturing 4 Olympic medals. Later, Duke went on to Hollywood and was in more than 15 movies, but all the while remained connected to his humble roots in paradise. He was know for his kindness and warmth and was often called the “Ambassador of Aloha.” And needless to say, he captured the hearts of young ladies when they saw him in newsreels standing on a wooden board riding a large wave off Waikiki Beach. The Duke was unlike anyone that they had ever seen before. Because the Duke’s home and surfing grounds were in Waikiki’s Kalia, Waikiki became a popular tourist destination.
Duke’s Playground includes both the Duke Kahanamoku Beach and the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon. The Beach was named #2 Beach in America and it’s no surprise. It’s the widest, biggest beach in Waikiki and it fronts on great surfing and every watersport you can imagine. The Lagoon is a five-acre salt water lagoon which its own beautiful stretch of white sand beach.
This is where the legendary Duke Kahanamoku grew up, where he played as a kid and went on to become Hawaii’s most famous and accomplished watermen. And now it’s all yours. So get out there and play!
WBA is Waikiki Beach Activities, Ltd., and we have served as the beach and pool concessionaire for the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort since 1989. Bob Hampton, Chairman is from Hawaii and Rob Martin, President and C.E.O. has been in Hawaii for more than twenty-five years. Bob and Rob have been partners in the tour boat business in Lahaina, Maui and the SCUBA and tour submarine business on Oahu for two decades. Mike Murray is a lifetime surfer and former vice president of sales and marketing for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.
As Hilton Hawaiian Village’s exclusive beach service, we put our expert staff at your service to advise, educate and make sure you get the most from your stay. Our famous Beach Boys can teach you surfing and fill you in on local lore. We offer a complete range of beach rental equipment including large beach umbrellas, chairs, air mats and snorkel sets. WBA can also arrange surfboard and kayak rentals, and set you up with unique activities like Stand Up Paddling Yoga, and a coastal tour in an authentic Double Hulled Canoe. We’re always looking for new activities and tours that you can’t find anywhere else.
WBA has also developed expertise in meeting planning and execution. We’re equipped to handle large parties with up to 2,000 participants.
WBA is committed to Duke Kahanamoku’s Creed of Aloha in our service to customers. WBA’s staff is trained in customer Service. In fact, WBA has earned many service awards including the Hilton’s “Ke Kula O Ka Lokahi” Service award.
WBA offers high quality retail products, rental equipment, beach activities and tours you won’t find anywhere else in Waikiki and beyond. Our mission is to provide as much fun as the law allows, and do it with your safety in mind. Click on our activities, tours and rental tabs to see what we have in store for you.