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Sports & Fitness // Currents
Ron Mizutani

The Surfboard Graveyard Swap Meet

Old surfboards never die, they simply find new life in deserving new hands.

That is the idea behind the “Surfboard Graveyard Swap Meet,” one of several new exhibits at this weekend’s Hawaii Ocean Expo April 5-6 at Blaisdell Exhibition Hall.

“We all have a relic surf-board that we’ve abandoned in the garage and is just collecting dust,” laughs Hawaii Ocean Expo founder and event coordinator Russ Inouye. “This is an opportunity for people to give someone else a chance to enjoy the board and make a few bucks in the process, or if they want, they can donate their board to a great nonprofit organization.”

The used boards will be sold on consignment with a percentage of all sales going to Na Kama Kai (Children of the Sea), a nonprofit organization that conducts and supports ocean-based programs that target ocean safety and conservation awareness for Hawaii’s youths.

“Duane (DeSoto) is taking his program to Molokai and he needs 30 surfboards to serve the keiki there,” explains Inouye. “We wanted to help Duane’s organization. People can donate their boards and they’ll go directly to Na Kama Kai, or we’ll donate a percentage of the sales to them.”

Inouye encourages those interested in being a part of the graveyard to email Jason Ignacio at jason@hawaiioceanexpo.com or call him at 351-4050.

“Please call us ahead of time so we can plan ahead,” says Inouye. “We don’t know if we’ll have 10 surfboards or 100 boards. If the boards can still be ridden, we’ll take them! We want to help the kids of Molokai!”

Besides the Surfboard Graveyard Swap Meet, this year’s expo also will feature the Mermaids Boutique, a special area designated for women and ocean lifestyle.

“This is the sixth year of the expo, and it’s getting bigger and better every year,” says Inouye with excitement. “Through the years, we learned that women wanted to have more choices and a stronger presence in the event, so this year we’ll have exhibitors that showcase ocean fashion, arts and jewelry, specifically for women.”

And if it’s food you want, Inouye says the expo is the place to be this weekend.

“We’re so excited that we’ve expanded our seafood selection,” he says. “People won’t have to drive out to Kahuku to get their garlic shrimp or to a sushi bar to get their lobster roll, or Heeia Kea Pier to get luau stew and shrimp burgers. It’s called Seafood Lane – one long lane of local businesses so people can literally eat their way through the expo.”

The expo certainly has grown. Inouye says six years ago it humbly started with 50 vendors. This weekend the public can visit 120 booths and more than 80 vendors. While many local businesses are seeing the value of being a part of the one-stop shop to reach a large audience, Inouye is excited to see more nonprofit organizations wanting to be a part of the two-day show.

“This really is the perfect venue to share their visions and missions,” says Inouye. “The ocean gives us so much, and we’re just touching the surface of this event. Being a state surrounded by the ocean, this should be one of the biggest things around! We want to bring families together and get kids off their iPods and iPads and into the water! This is a great place to start.”

General admission costs $8 for adults, $5 for teens 13-18, and free for children. For more information, go to hawaiioceanexpo.com.

rkmizutani@gmail.com

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