Kailua Swimwear Shop Carries Tote Bags Made Of Beach Debris

After losing a few cell phones of her own, accomplished long distance runner Jeannie Wokasch is turning ocean rubbish into practical bags for residents and tourists so they may keep their valuables safe while enjoying the beach and ocean fun.

And you can purchase them in Kailua.

“I see so many people losing phones, cameras, wallets on the beach. I just want to make a difference and I am helping to recycle,” said Wokasch, who is known for her cartwheel finishes at race finish lines.

Caught during a run in an afternoon downpour, Wokasch used an abandoned raft to keep her phone from getting wet. She then got the idea that waterproof bags made from floatie and raft plastic may be beneficial for the community.

Wokasch’s beach bags, part of her Kartwheel Creations fashion line, are gaining extraordinary interest and now are being sold at Suit You in Kailua, which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday at 1247 Kailua Road.

She says there is considerable interest from Japanese tourists, and she has seen plenty more in Waikiki from vendors and kiosks.

“People can take this bag home with them. They’ll know it was made in Hawaii and it’s an original that doesn’t cost a lot. Plus it saves the environment.”

Wokasch currently is working on the idea of partnering with hotels to buy rafts that are left by guests after they check out.

A single mother, she has been running for decades using prize money to help support her three children, two of whom are diagnosed with autism. She has raised thousands of dollars through running for autism foundations, such as Pacific Autism Center. Now she collects rafts and floaties on her runs, cleaning and drying them on her lanai before sewing each bag by hand.