#BillabongCore - Hawaiian Island Creations (Hawaii)
Hawaiian Island Creations Surf Shop has huge history in the Hawaiian Islands. What began as a single surf shop on Oahu in 1971 has now spread to 15 locations across Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. The entire staff is local, authentic, hard working and stoked as can be. We had a chance to get to meet them all in Hawaii this past winter and you can tell that they're very passionate about what they're doing on a regular basis.
We caught up with Founder/President Stephen Tsukayama, Manager Billy Jo Yap and Brand Manager Mitch McEwen and all three gave us the run down of this historic surf shop's beginnings, the role they play in local events and more.
Answers are by Stephen Tsukayama (Founder/President), Billy Jo Yap (Ala Moana Store Manager) and Mitch McEwen (Brand Manager).
Q: Who or what inspired you to start your retail business?
A: My brother Jimmy was the biggest influence in starting a surf shop in Kailua. At that time there were no retailers providing surf products to the surfers on the East Side of Oahu, and Jimmy saw that as an opportunity for us to start our own business. (Stephen Tsukayama)
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: We opened our first store in 1971 in Kailua. In 1973 we moved to our current location in Kailua, which includes a surf shop, our offices and a warehouse. We now have fifteen stores across the islands, on Oahu, Maui and the Big island. (Stephen Tsukayama)
Q: Sum up your staff in a few sentences (words).
A: Fun and Dedicated workers. (Billy Jo Yap)
Q: What’s your favorite part about being in this industry?
A: Working with people that love surfing and the ocean. (Stephen Tsukayama)
A: Helping customers find the newest and coolest surf products and meeting people from all over the world. (Billy Jo Yap)
Q: What’s the biggest challenge you face on a regular basis?
A: Finding knowledgeable surfers that want to work and not just surf everyday. (Billy Jo Yap)
Q: Tell us about local events you host.
A: There’s three big events we do every year and they all serve very different functions in our local community.
1. The "HIC Pro" is a WSL QS 3,000 event and serves as the Official Qualifier for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. This event provides a launching pad for local pros to pursue their dreams on the WSL World Tour.
2. The "All Military Surf Classic" is a contest exclusively for members of the armed forces, Department of Defense and their dependents. This is a really fun, ohana style event, and it’s our way to give back to the men and women (surfers) who serve and protect our country.
3. Finally, we partner each year with the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation and the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Hawaii for the “Duke’s Ocean Sports & Fitness Day” at Kalama Beach in Kailua. This event provides the opportunity for over 100 kids from across Oahu to learn how to surf, paddle canoe, bodyboard and learn about ocean safety. Many of these kids come from disadvantaged families and haven’t had many opportunities to spend time in the ocean that surrounds their island. Many local pros, such as Kelia, Micah, Isaiah, Josh and Seth Moniz help out as surf instructors. So the kids are super stoked to have professional surfers teaching them how to surf. (Mitch McEwen)
Q: What makes your store/shop unique to others?
A: We’re locally owned and we've been in the same location in Ala Moana Center since the early 80’s. Back when we used to sell bikes too. (Billy Jo Yap)
A: We have the best selection of all the top brands of surfwear and hardline products. (Stephen Tsukayama)
Q: Lastly, tell us the funniest incident that’s ever taken place in your store.
A: Not necessarily the funniest incident, but the most memorable is when famous people come to our store to shop. Once we had Chaka Khan come in with all of her bodyguards. Paul Walker used to come in every summer to buy a new HIC Surfboard, and he would always take selfies with the employees. He was awesome! (Billy Jo Yap)