Best Sports and Fitness / Best place to watch UH Sports
Kanpai Bar and Grill
With not a bad seat in the house, the open air grub spot and waterhole flips the switch when UH sports is in season.
With respect to new Warrior Head Coach Norm Chow, Chow Time has a double meaning at Kanpai. Kim Chee Edamame, boneless 16 ounce rib eye (yes please!), and the crowd-pleasing beef nachos. Did someone say, “Winner, winner, Kalbi ribeye steak dinnah!”
Pull up any seat at Kanpai to support the home team is a thrilling, opu stuffed experience in itself. Go Wahine! Go Warriors!
Runner Up: Sports Fan Addicts Bar and Grill, 1201 Kona St.
On the very grounds where Affliction-shirt-wearing, Heineken-fueled fights regularly took place at the old Pipeline Café, now stands a venue where MMA enthusiasts can lawfully give and receive cracks at the new UFC Gym. But seriously, the equipment is cherry if you just want to hone your fitness and there are tons of classes in everything from kickboxing to hot hula. What’s strange: This place is not a typical meat market or testosterone-fest like other gyms, though you would expect it to be. Perhaps it’s because you never know who has mad ninja skills in an UFC gym so everyone keeps their eyeballs to themselves. —
Most Intense-to-watch Surf Contest
Da Hui Waimea Shorebreak Slam
Last year’s Da Hui Waimea Bay Shorebreak Slam featured a building WNW swell that blessed competitors with big surf and cursed lifeguards, with at least 15 rescues in one day of spectators. The Slam started in 2008 after an almost 20-year gap since the last bodysurfing contest was held by North Shore Lifeguards in the late ‘80s. It is now Hawaii’s largest bodysurfing contest, with more than 100 competitors in men’s, women’s, handboard and rubbah slippah open divisions. This year’s Slam will be held in March or April.
After 37 years of lifeguarding, Mark Dombroski is one of the last connections to the original and legendary lifeguards of Waimea Bay. He guarded with Eddie Aikau. Even when he’s not on the clock, Dombroski is at Waimea, caretaking the land around the tower, working out on the beach, playing in the water with his family and surfing the river like a grom. He’s crucial on the big days as a jetski operator because he knows the danger zones better than anyone. Preventative public safety work can make some men grumpy and jaded, but Dombroski continues to smile.
Local wave photographer
Fueled by an equal love of Starbucks caffeine and pounding shorebreak, “mo mutant, mo bettah” seems to be the photography philosophy Clark Little snaps by. One wonders how many ribs and cameras have been broken while capturing the vibrant impact zone that is his muse. As a young man growing up on the North Shore, Little became well known for surfing (and getting thrashed in) dangerous Waimea shorebreak, but before his inside-out view of these waves was captured on camera, he spent 17 years as the manager of the Wahiawa Botanical Garden and sold rare hybrid plumeria cuttings. In just the last few years–after his wife’s request for some art on their walls led him into the shorebreak with a camera–Little has speedily gained international notoriety for his wave photography, exhibiting at the Smithsonian Museum, winning numerous awards, and opening his own art galleries in Laguna Beach, Calif. and Haleiwa.