Located about an hour from the hustle and bustle of the state’s capital on the island of Oahu lies a small town and stretch of coastline with a rich, deep history that has reached the big screen of recent years as well as popular culture of the past—Hukilau Beach. The term Hukilau itself, which stems from a Hawaiian tradition of fishing, “describes the process of pulling (huki) the ropes from fishing nets, woven with leaves (lay) along the outside, in from the sea.” And from Hukilau Beach, the native Hawaiian peoples of Laie practiced this very technique of fishing to obtain and provide sustenance for their families as well as the entire village. While that tradition is merely practiced on a smaller scale by local fishermen in the area today, it is interesting to see how that very term “Hukilau” has reached far beyond Laie to the world through song and film.
Inspired by his experiences in Hawaii, Jack Owens wrote and recorded “The Hukilau Song” in Honolulu in 1948. According to weber.edu, a hukilau was organized in order to fundraise to rebuild a burnt down church chapel in Laie. Jack not only attended the Hukilau but wrote this song for the event. It was intended to be a relaxing, lay back song that matched the grace, fun, and work associated with doing a hukilau.
Released in 2004, 50 First Dates is a romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. In the movie, Adam Sandler’s character is attempting to win over Drew Barrymore’s character. The only catch is that she suffers from short term memory loss, so she doesn’t ever remember the previous day with him. Each morning they meet at Hukilau Cafe, which is representative of the actual Hukilau Cafe just around the corner from Hukilau Beach, and go through their groundhog day routine until he finally figures out how to make their true love stick.
Located just around the corner from Hukilau Beach in Laie at 55-662 Wahinepee St, Laie, HI 96762, Hukilau Cafe provides a local style breakfast and lunch that will satisfy locals and visitors alike. Founded by Laie native and Hawaiian, Kalani Soren, Hukilau Cafe is locally run and operated to cater to the tastes and flavors of Hawaii. Worth mentioning is also the fact that Hukilau Cafe is reasonable in price and offers generous portions, so make sure to bring the appetite.
While it is apparent that Hukilau Beach has inspired many people to sing and share about its traditions, this stretch of coastline is also one of the most pristine on the island. Located in the heart of a bay, just north of Laie Point, Hukilau Beach is a great place for families to relax and play in the ocean. Considering that the surf is a lot more mellow than other parts of the island, it is terrific place for pulling out some boogie boards to catch waves. Not to mention, to take a nice stroll in either direction to explore the sandy coastline.
Hukilau Beach is only a five to ten minute drive south (exit left on Kamehameha Hwy from resort) of Turtle Bay Rentals on the Turtle Bay Resort.