If you are a fan of vintage Hawaiiana and collectibles then a visit to Surf’n Hula, located a few doors down from the historic Queen Theater marquee in historic Kaimuki, is a store that you won’t want to miss. Whether you are a serious collector or simply adore all things Hawaiiana then you are bound to enjoy perusing the wide variety of items that can be found within Surf’n Hula.
Be sure to give yourself some time as distraction abounds in this small store where wonderful collectibles and memorabilia are mounted on the walls, high and low, in wooden display cases that are beautiful on their own right, and in numerous nooks and crannies that just beg to be explored.
A beaded curtain adorned with a surfing, lei draped, wahine is an eye catching piece in the front window display that will take you back to a different era and you may be tempted to find a home for the large wooden tiki statue grinning slyly out at you. Hand blown, vintage glass orbs that are traditional Japanese fishing floats and a lovely ipu (a Hawaiian instrument made from a hollowed out gourd) sit along side boating memorabilia and many other interesting items that only hint at the multitude of items, large and small, that are waiting to be discovered inside.
Step through the front door, keeping an eye on that mischievous tiki on your left, and past the vintage Coca Cola machine to your right and it will seem as if you have stepped into a wonderland of all things old Hawaii.
A cast of the original Royal Coat of Arms of the Hawaiian Kingdom (pictured below) with the motto “Ua mau ke ea o ka ‘aina i ka pono” (in English: The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness) faces you as you enter the store and is flanked by vintage aloha attire and travel bags bearing the logos of airlines that once proudly served the Hawaiian Islands. Old license plates, vintage advertising signs and posters are just a few other things that will catch your eye within your first few moments in the store.
Almost every collector of Hawaiian memorabilia will find something of interest whether it is vintage clothing, photography, books, home decor items or art.
Even if you aren’t a serious collector you may find it a challenge to leave Surf ‘n Hula without taking home a new treasure.
Boxes full of antique postcards and black and white images of old Hawaii will bring back memories for locals and tourists alike. Images of the landscape (Hanauma Bay below) before the building booms after Hawaii became a state in 1959 are intriguing as are images of Hawaiian royalty and pastimes from all walks of life. Vintage postcards feature iconic buildings from the 1920’s, surfers, volcanoes and even life and industry on plantations around the islands.
It is also very interesting to see how the portrayal of Hawaii has changed over time. From art deco travel posters that portray the luxury of travel to the island by steamship to the glamorous portrayal of air travel. Watercolor and oil paintings span eras as do the variety of printed items in the form of posters. advertising and even old menus.
Collectible souvenirs with images of hula girls have changed slightly over time but they don’t ever seem to go out of style…
Matchbooks and coasters from iconic local restaurants, hotels, and even roller rinks, sit alongside the milk bottle caps, or pogs, that many local children collected and traded back in the day.
Koa Lamps are surrounded by small carved tiki statues, all kinds of artwork, vintage clocks, figurines and ceramics. What doesn’t fit on the walls sits on the floor stacked against various pieces of furniture just waiting to be discovered.
An exploration of the vintage collectibles at Surf’n Hula is a fun and interesting way to spend an hour, or two, or three, and you may even leave with a new to you treasure that you didn’t know you needed but one that will give you much joy.
Vintage Collectibles & Hawaiiana
Location: 3588 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Hours: Monday – Friday 10AM – 5PM, Saturday 10AM-4PM, Closed Sundays