Social Encore: Quiksilver drops in at Kahala Mall
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
East Honolulu residents have a new destination for surf wear with the opening of the Quiksilver Board Room this weekend at Kahala Mall.
The Quiksilver Board Room is not just a boutique store full of the latest Roxy and Quiksilver gear — it’s also the exclusive showroom on Oahu for Wade Tokoro Surfboards, the company started by Wade Tokoro and his brother, Kerry, more than 28 years ago.
Wade Tokoro said he fondly remembers his love of surfing starting when he was a teenager. He grew up in Kahaluu, but North Shore waves — especially Pipeline — often persuaded him to visit that side of the island. He ability to create things with his hands sparked his interest in surfboard shaping.
Tokoro worked at Blue Hawaii and learned from shapers like Glenn Minami; both he and his brother learned how to create boards together and took with them techniques from different shapers. He even mentioned that while he and his brother were learning how to shape from other professional, both brothers also learned from each other.
“At that time, I tried to be as open as I could and gain as much information,” said Wade Tokoro, who worked at Blue Hawaii early in his career. “There are certain things that mentors want you to do, but (after time) it becomes more personal … it’s like art and science mixed.”
Their family-run business is well-known for its high performance surfboards, creating individualized boards with different designs and materials for an array of surfers.
“Different material, resins and foam come into play when creating a board for a surfer,” Tokoro said.
Tokoro’s hand-crafted boards have been trusted by surfers from around the world, such as two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning, three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons, big wave charger Jamie O’Brien and local favorite, Sunny Garcia.
Tokoro said the opportunity to partner with an international surf brand shows that Quiksilver supports the idea of “support local, buy local.” Having a presence inside a Quiksilver shop shows both locals and visitors that the company really cares about the communities it establishes itself in.
Store co-owner Jake Mizuno (who was responsible for bringing the Roxy and Quiksilver brands to Hawaii during the mid-1990s) said the Quiksilver Board Room will have 70 to 80 Tokoro boards in stock at all times. They wanted to feature Tokoro’s surfboards because of their reputation for having been tested in the largest waves. And if you aren’t sure what type of board you’re looking for, demo boards are available.
“The surfers we make boards for, they keep coming back and we form relationships,” Tokoro said. “I still got guys that are still buying boards from me from when I started almost 29 years ago.
“I hope that our boards complement them as a surfer and as a person. I want them to have a good quality product they are stoked on surfing and they are having fun (with).”
In the hope that each waterman has protection while in the water, the brothers also write “Jesus loves you” on every board they make.
“We have been doing it for years and have written that on thousands of boards,” Tokoro said. “It is our way of wishing each waterman a safe water journey.”
The Quiksilver Board Room will celebrate its grand opening from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. An autograph signing with two-time world champion Kelia Moniz is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.