Surf’n Hula – A Wonderland for Hawaiiana Collectors

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.

Surf’n Hula

Vintage Collectibles & Hawaiiana 

Location:  3588 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816

Hours:  Monday – Friday 10AM – 5PM, Saturday 10AM-4PM, Closed Sundays

Exploring Kaka’ako on Christmas Day

Every time I visit the the Kaka’ako area of Honolulu I find many new and interesting scenes that I want to photograph…

Since I have a small and geographically dispersed family Christmas is often a quiet affair and my husband unknowingly gave me a wonderful present this year.  We had a nice dinner and opened gifts on Christmas Eve instead of on Christmas day which is our usual custom.  So when I awoke on Christmas morning and found that my husband had an ulterior motive that involved watching a lot of sports in his pajamas I decided go out with the camera.  I chose to meander through the industrial buildings of Kaka’ako again and I had the place mostly to myself which was another gift!

While I like stuff that is shiny and new I am particularly intrigued by old stuff, industrial stuff and architecture in general so I was in my element in the alleys and streets of Kaka’ako.   Blocks of color have revitalized the facades of old buildings and warehouses.  Even the lines on the roads, electrical boxes and rat traps looked like little art installations to my eye!

I hope that you enjoy this small group of images from my wander through Kakaa’ko and if you think others would as well please feel free to share this via the social media links below.

If you want to see more from this fun and funky area be sure to click through to see the images from My First Visit to Kaka’ako

Click on the images below to see larger versions in a slide show.

Your AD Here

The weekends seem to be getting away from me these days and there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to get everything that I want (and need) to get done.  I start out with grand plans on Friday night and the next thing you know it’s Sunday night and the list of things that I wanted to do seems to have grown not shrunk!

It’s not like I sat around procrastinating all weekend while monitoring Facebook.  Wait, I did do a fair bit of that but I also managed to get some laundry done, made a trip to the grocery store, walked the dog a few times, helped my Mom work on tracing our family’s history back to the 1670’s in Quebec, and I even made a nice casual dinner for the family Saturday night.

Sunday morning rolls around and I still have some errands to run but I haven’t found the time to go out with my camera.  So what is a girl to do?  Take the camera to the local shopping center and wander around on the way to the drug store.   Multi-tasking turns out to be a good idea even on a drizzly morning just a couple of miles from home.  As I pulled in to park the car inspiration hit me right away.  Lines and light, the natural and man made environment side-by-side, and yes, even a billboard with a cheerful rainbow over an amazing vista that was hard to miss.   Your AD Here…

I made a few images, picked up the things I needed from the drug store and headed home feeling pretty good about making some time to engage my creative side while also crossing some items off my to-do list.

When I got home my husband was watching television and it seemed as if it had been on all weekend.  It is the background noise of my life and I am usually very good at blocking it out but not today.  It’s now Sunday afternoon and as I’m hanging laundry I find myself humming softly (and singly badly) “Believe it or not, I’m walking on air” and wondering why.  I am enlightened by my husband who tells me that it is the song in a new Aaron Rodgers State Farm commercial.  A conversation ensues about materialism and consumerism and the idea that if we believed all these advertisements we would think that money and things would make us successful, happy and the envy of those around us…

Your AD Here

I might be have a song from an advertisement stuck in my head but I’m not buying!

My ad would have nothing to do with a bow topped new luxury car in the driveway, better insurance, or any other material thing.  It would promote sharing a simple home-cooked meal with family and finding meaning and beauty in the simple things around me even if I have to find them on the way to the drug store…

Click on any of the images to view as a slide show.

Click on any of the images to view as a slide show.