Four Seasons Resort Hualalai Debuts "Only at Hualalai" Wood Surfboard Experience in Partnership with Bonga Perkins

Hualalai provides new interactive ocean experience led by renowned Hawaiian waterman and surfboard designer

May 26, 2023,
Hawaii, Hualalai, U.S.A.

Four Seasons Resort Hualalai announces the newest experience, part of the Resort’s "Only at Hualalai" itineraries that connect guests to the culture and people of Hawai’i Island. The Bonga Perkins Wood Surfboard Experience is curated by the renowned Hawaiian waterman, surfboard designer and two-time Association of Surfing Professionals World Longboard champion. This immersive two-day adventure reintroduces guests to the wonders of the ocean through a fresh perspective and juxtaposes the history of Hawaiian wooden surfing against modern day practices, while also providing guests an opportunity to shape their own board to take home. The new experience is the sixth program in the "Only at Hualalai" series, a collection of once-in-a-lifetime, extraordinary programs created to celebrate the local talents throughout Hawaii Island, exclusively available for guests of the Five-Star, AAA Five-Diamond Resort.

Throughout the multi-day experience, Perkins - an esteemed member of the small society of elite watermen, a title only earned from many years of ocean experience in dangerous conditions - will teach guests about the history of surfing in Hawai’i and the evolution of wooden boards. The experience begins with an educational talk story from Perkins in the Resort’s herb garden with the added option to visit the Kaupulehu Cultural Center to view an aze, a traditional tool used to create wooden surfboards. Perkins will then guide guests through the shaping and preparation of a customized Alaia wooden surfboard, which they will then bless and surf with the next day. Together, they will take the board in the ocean after it’s complete and cleanse it in the salt water. The following day, guests will venture off-site to Kahalu’u, one of the island’s beach parks known for the Hawaiian green sea turtles that frequent its shores, for a surf lesson with Perkins and a member of Hualalai’s Alaka’i Nalu - the Resort’s expert watermen and women. During this time, guests will learn first hand the comparison of surfing on a wooden board versus a modern-day board. The main difference guests will find is that, due to its weight, wooden surfboards carry momentum and glide much more than the modern-day board.  Following these marine adventures, guests will return to the Resort to celebrate their experience with a Pau Hana cocktail class and tasting with Kuleana Rum at Beach Tree restaurant.

“My goal in life is to keep the surf stroke alive for generations to come. I’m excited to share my love for the ocean, my international surfing experience, and the integral part Hawaii has played in surfing’s rich history with Four Seasons Resort Hualalai guests through this experience,” says Perkins. “In ancient Hawai’i, making a surfboard was a spiritual process and surfing was an entire way of life. I still honour these practices in my craftsmanship today, and my passion for ocean culture is displayed in my commitment to sharing my knowledge. “

From the art of riding waves and praying for good surf to rituals surrounding building a surfboard and selecting the tree choice, surfing was of great cultural significance in the early days of ancient Hawai’i and the ocean was a source of life to the Polynesian voyager. The Alaka’i Nalu and Perkins still live these values and perpetuate them daily as stewards of the ocean — allowing guests of this experience to leave with much more than a surfboard.

The Bonga Perkins Wood Surfboard Experience joins a robust collection of extraordinary experiences across the island exclusive to guests of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. The collection was designed to celebrate the local craftsmen and culture across Hawai’i with additional offerings including the Kimi Werner Ocean Experience, Neil Kamimura Blacksmith Experience, Dave Scott Triathlon Experience, Iliahi Farm and Spa Experience and the Sustainable Seafood Experience.  

The Bonga Perkins Wood Surfboard Experience is USD 12,000 excluding accommodations and is available only to Resort guests ages 10 and up, based on swim acumen. The experience must be booked at least two weeks in advance. To make a reservation, book online or call 808 325 8000.