Hawaiian Skies is the in-flight video magazine on Hawaiian Airlines domestic and international flights. Every two months, they rotate their programming out with new content for their traveling audience. Anthology Marketing Group’s advertising arm (Laird Christianson Advertising) is the hub for gathering or generating all the content for the for magazine.
My production company Berad Studio was commissioned to create a documentary-style piece, highlighting the UH Wahine Volleyball team called “Then & Now” in 2010 for Hawaiian Skies and was offered the opportunity again in 2011. In collaboration with Unreal Hawaii, the concept for “Hawaii Bouldering” was born. Hawaii Bouldering explores the underexposed, extreme sport known as “bouldering.” Bouldering is a form of rock climbing that doesn’t involve ropes or harnesses, rather they employ large “crash pads” positioned beneath the rock to dampen the climbers fall. It’s an amazing sport of strength, strategy and skill and we were privileged enough to have the opportunity to document it.
DAY 1: NUUANU BOULDERS
Nuuanu Valley sits below the magnificent Koolau mountain range on Oahu, known for it’S rich history and lush greenery. If you are willing to hike a short distance off a beaten path, past the Nuuanu cemetery you can find some great, climbable boulders. Once you’ve climbed till your hearts content, you can take a dip in a popular swimming hole just down the trail.
The nice thing about shooting out in nature is that natural sunlight looks the best. The problem with it is sometimes you don’t have enough of it to light your subject properly. This was one of those times where because of all the tree cover Justin was especially dark when starting the climb. To combat this I brought out a Die Hard Portable Power 1150 which allowed me to power my 4-bank fluorescent light. When climbing out in nature, there are no power plugs so you have to bring a generator or in this case a battery. For a few shots, I also used my trusty Z96 mounted on the hot shoe of my 5D while I captured some handheld shots from below.
DAY 2: VOLCANIC ROCK GYM
Volcanic Rock Gym was started by Justin Ridgely two years ago in Waipio Gentry to fill the need for a rock climbing gym on Oahu. VRG is a great place for climbers to train and beginners to learn how to boulder the fun and safe way. Justin and Volcanic Rock Gym were an integral part of creating and completing Hawaii Bouldering.
DAY 3: THE ARCH
Kaena Point is at the North-West tip of Oahu, only accessible on foot or by 4-wheel drive vehicle. When you’ve reached the end Farrington highway and the asphalt ends, that’s when the journey begins. After the 30 minute drive down the twisting, turning, unpaved road, you’ll reach a world famous bouldering spot called “The Arch.” This is not a boulder for beginners and even some advanced climbers struggle with ascending this beast, but be assured problems have been set and solved at this monumental boulder known as “The Arch.”
DAY 4: WAIMEA BAY
Most people know Waimea Bay as the spot of the heavy Hawaiian shore break, the stationary wave or place to jump off the rocks. What most people don’t see is a huge rock wall that leads up to the roadway where people have been bouldering for over a decade. It has become well known over the past few years, but a friend of mine told me that he climbed Waimea back in 2003 before there were chalk marks on the rocks and a large community of boulders. It’s quite amazing to me that one of Hawaii’s most famous and frequented beaches has such a history of this unknown sport.
DAY 5: THE MONKEY CAVE
Clif and Kyle have been climbing for over a decade and though they love climbing outdoors there are days where climbing outside is just impossible. Be it weather conditions or time constraints, sometimes you can’t hit the real rocks thus The Monkey Cave was born. One day after reaching a raining Waimea Bay, unable to climb after the 45 minute drive to the north shore, Clif decided to build the Monkey Cave. It has been a great place for them to train and prep for their outdoor adventures but is quite an amazing piece climbing history here in Hawaii.
Bouldering is growing sport here in Hawaii, both because of the physical training and exhilaration innate in such an extreme sport. Not only is it physical, but it is also very personal because of the community that has evolved around it. Climbers are regularly exploring new spots in search of unclimbed boulders and because so much of Hawaii is untapped, there are surely many more great rocks to boulder.
-Photos provided by David Chatsuthiphan of Unreal Hawaii.