SuperCity: Aloha Stadium takes flight
BY CHRISTA WITTMIER / Special to the Star-Advertiser
While individual nicknames seem to stick forever, it’s extremely rare to find a crew of people still referring to themselves with a group moniker from childhood.
From what I’ve seen, it usually happens when college roommates name their house. The boys from Aloha Stadium have lived in many different houses with different combinations of roommates, but the name has held strong as the crew is bound by both their love of the ocean and for raging around Oahu.
When you pull up to Sandy Beach, you will still usually see at least one — if not all — of them playing in the shore break, and yes, that was probably them who thought it was funny to take their shirts off in the club and spin them around their heads (sorry).
They’ve since grown up and become working adults, but still make time to play in the ocean as much as possible.
I met their crew many years ago through a mutual friend and was taken aback the first time I was at their house. I walked inside to find all of them in the kitchen pounding shots with their shirts off.
“So we don’t mess up our nice going out shirts,” one of them explained, since I must have looked slightly terrified.
I think they stand out more than most groups of friends because of their level of commitment to taking on the scene as a crew. You usually do not see one of them without at least three others in tow. Their collective professional experience stretches across just about every industry, so it’s not unusual to see celebrity athletes or supermodels partying alongside them.
My favorite part? They don’t take themselves too seriously. They really are a lot of fun.
Next month, five of the Aloha Stadium boys will entertain thousands of spectators during the Long Beach, Calif., stop of the annual Red Bull Flugtag.
Flugtag, which means “flight day” in German, is more of an exhibition of who can make the cutest aircraft and see how long it will stay in the air. Everything must be hand-made and human-powered; one pilot must stay in the aircraft while the rest of the team runs it down a runway. The entire machine, including pilot, cannot weigh more than 450 pounds.
It’s pretty much a day of watching teams plummet one after another off a 30-foot plank in to the ocean.
Since the teams are judged on creativity, showmanship and distance, the Aloha Stadium boys already set themselves apart. Growing up in the ocean and spending years perfecting their floatilla experience, it’s almost not fair for the other teams.
Their flying machine will closely resemble a traditional canoe, with two large, yet light and durable, 10-foot hulls. They have been working together on it for weeks at the current Aloha Stadium, posting regular updates for their fans.
“I’m sure we will float all the way back to Hawaii with our craft! It’s our ride home! Flights are expensive!” pilot Takeru Tanabe said.
“We want to show the crowd that we travel by ocean, not air” added team member Chris Tseu. “We grew up with a love for the ocean and a sense of adventure. That’s why we’re really close.”
But, the machine is supposed to fly?
“We had an idea in our minds to represent Hawaii and build a craft that says, ‘Hey! They must be from Hawaii,” Tanabe said.
“In our minds we want this thing to fly forever,” Chan said.
The way these guys go running straight towards those huge brick wall waves at the beach like it’s nothing probably makes a 30-foot drop into the ocean below look like a cotton candy bubble bath. I’ll be cheering you on.
Christa Wittmier has chronicled Honolulu nightlife since 2004. She is senior marketing director at Young’s Market Co. of Hawaii and executive director of music for POW! WOW! Hawaii, and also helps promote the popular “Bacardi Pool Party” on Oahu. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.