Hawaii Part I

Earlier this year I  shipped off to Hawaii for a sweet assignment for german Geo Magazine . My first time ever on the happy islands, and I loved every minute of it. I arrived on Maui, hopped over to the big island, aka Kona, flew to Oahu and back via Maui to L.A.!

Ever notice how time flows differently in different places? I always thought California was pretty mellow but Hawaii is a different story.  I now perfectly understand “island time”!

Scheduling the folks I was supposed to photograph was a bit of a challenge, everyone kept telling me to get in touch upon arrival, however I needed to book  flights, hotel rooms and rental cars on three different islands, which called for a lot of coordination.  In the end it all worked out and I am grateful for an amazing experience!

The people I photographed were pretty special in a way that everyone’s story was connected to water sports one way or another. There’s Jeannie Chesser, an elderly lady who lost her only son in big wave surfing- CJ Kanuha, an amazing surfer, who is also known for his beautiful long boards carved out of indigenous trees- Francisco Goya, a windsurfer world champion, who lives with his family on a beautiful estate on Maui- Garrett Lisi, with a PHD in physics who came up with a game changing theory in Physics while surfing- Kristin Boese, a kite surfer world champion who is building a house from scratch with her fiancee and Kula Barbieto, a competitive stand up paddler, artist/flight attendant.

Besides working, I watched giant seaturtles come ashore, saw Jaws break and a breathtaking sunset on Maui’s Haleakala.

Mahalo and Aloha!


Kula  indulged me by taking me on a boating trip with some of her  friends.  The girls were skurving( water skiing but with a surf board) and the guys steering the boat were hauling ass.  Everyone was drinking beer. So was I, before I got super sea sick for the first time in my life. Next time we met we went Lei shopping and Kula took me to this beautiful spot close to Kailua on Oahu. The water was crystal clear, just perfect.




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I met CJ on the big island- we ended up shooting the photos on ancient burial grounds- the land of his ancestors. The board he is holdinging in the first image weighs a good 200 lbs and it blew my mind how he carried it barefoot across all the scattered lava rock. CJ spends a lot of time with local youth and teaches workshops. Clearly, the kids adore him. Later when we were hanging out by the beach, he scanned the water, announced that he’d just spotted some fish, went in the water with a net, and, I swear-  just as people pluck flowers from a field, he pulled several fish out of the water with his hands for a bbque with Kelly Slater later that day.


Francisco Goya is pretty much the nicest guy ever- he lives with his lovely family on an amazing property, complete with a jungle like gorge, waterfalls and natural pools. Having won multiple world championships in wind surfing he is credited in revolutionizing the sport, making it look effortlessly elegant. His favorite spot on Maui? Ho’okipa!






The day I met Kristin Boese, she couldn’t actually go in the water because she had insured herself while working on the roof of her new home. Hence the band aid. Next time we met, the roof was finished, just like that! I loved hanging out with her and her pet goat at her compound on Maui’s north shore.



When I had a little downtime I checked out Baldwin Beach, located close to Paia on Maui’s north shore.  The light was amazing and this dog just killed me! I shot a whole series of him and a bunch of kids, his friends.



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Up next: Waikiki, Jaws and Haleakala!

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