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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Surf Music General Discussion »

Permalink Instrumental surf scene in Hawaii

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Back in 99' My wife and I took a week off and jetted over to Maui . I was really excited to check out the surf music thing over there . Man was I disappointed. I couldn't find anything at all . About the closest thing I found, was the Hard Rock Cafe had a Cadilac Woodie with a couple of surf boards hanging out of it . NO SURF MUSIC! I want to go back this year. Anyone know whats up over there? There has to be something going on on one of those islands. Any clues?

I've been to Maui every year for the past 20 years or so. There is absolutely no surf music scene that I have seen there at all except for a day in the 90's when The Eliminators played at The Hard Rock Cafe. I think it would be fun to bring a few bands over & do a few show if people would come out.

Of course there are the lads on Kauai that are doing their best to keep surf music alive in the Islands

My brother does lots of gigs in Hawaii, but he brings a uke with him.
Seems to me, somebody needed to introduce Don Ho to a Fender Strat a long time ago.
Then again, it might be better the way it is............
Some things are mean't to be the way they are.

Be careful following the masses. Sometimes the "M" is silent...........................

Yeah Ironically most Hawaiians dont know what surf music is.
they think that the Jawaiian music is surf.

there is The Take Offs on Kauai
A band Called Solar Wind, on the Big Island,
and I heard there is one band on Oahu but I forgot the name.

good Luck sir.


HBkahuna wrote;"Of course there are the lads on Kauai that are doing their best to keep surf music alive in the Islands" and i guess that would be us...The TakeOffs. We perform EVERY Sunday night at The Sheraton Kauai Resort in Poipu...three hours of surf/instro music FREE of charge outside about 50 feet from the beach and some great surf spots. We've been playing there every week since June 2005! We've had some great guest guitar players sit in with us while on vacation here which we encourage. We've always had a decent, if not great, crowd that loves the music. I do believe we are the only "working" surf band in Hawaii. We play at lots of other "local" venues as well. Check out the calendar here at SG101 for our show dates and locations.
I have tried and tried and tried to get hooked up to the surf contest scene over on Oahu's North Shore but i'm afraid surf music to them is Jack Johnson and i've found no interest at all for vintage surf music or any kind of instrumental music. We did get invited to go over to Oahu to do a surf movie premiere.....but our bass player who's also a sound man got another offer he "couldn't refuse" and we couldn't go. I can hear you guys saying "get another bass player for the gig"....but it's just too many songs to teach someone on short notice so.....!
Anyway, we're here and would love to meet you and hang out if you come over. We also have connections for acomodations etc. Let us know if we can help.
Check out our MySpace for more info and a blog with all the tunes we do.
Ron Rhoades
The TakeOffs

The TakeOffs
"Kauai's Only All-Instrumental Surf Band"

see my post above yours,


Yep...i tried to hook up with the Solar Wind guy...he was a nice guy but they don't work much and he didn't have any ideas for gigs on the Big Island. Dust Watson wrote me and said Agent Orange was playing on the Big Island last year so i called the promoter and he said "why would we hire you guys when we just use a band from here to open for them and save the money it would take to get you guys over here"!! YIKES!!
I also met a band from Oahu...maybe the one BTD is talking about....but i don't remember their name either. When i spoke to the guy he said they weren't REALLY a surf band, but a rock band with a "surf" side project AND they didn't have any gigs lined up.
Most of the youth of Hawaii are trying to emulate the Jamaicans...i.e. the patois, the red gold and green, the dreadlocks etc. People here call them "mall dreads" know, haoles with dreadlocks....I spent most of my career playing reggae music but i didn't try to emulate the Jamaican lifestyle....i really liked the beat and learned from the masters...i gave up reggae when "Jawaiian" took over. I do not want to do what everybody else does.

The TakeOffs
"Kauai's Only All-Instrumental Surf Band"

You would think surf music would be a natch there but during the 8 years of living on Oahu we found exactly zip surf music. In Waikiki it would go over well because of the tourists but the rest of the island mostly just listens to pop, reggae or Hawaiian. I think its possible that there used to be more surfy stuff before I arrived (1998) because I did find a RI reverb tank in nearly mint condition in the music store in Kaimuki earlier this year when back for a visit.

I kinda wondered about the Hawaiian surf instro scene myself- I'm actually going to be in Kauai between 2/13-2/23, so I'll definitely have to see The TakeOffs. (I'm going to be closer to Princeville the first week, but we'll be on the south shore later that month.)


WOW, Im surprised ! I thought maybe I just didnt go to the right venues. I thought it was strange when I was asking around and no one knew what surf music was. Go figure!
WTF? Some of the best waves on the planet and no venues dedicated to the music that best represents the sport. I guess it must be a SoCal thing. I just watched that new movie "Surfer Dude " with Matthew McCaughey. I'm thinking ,ok , "Surfer Dude" Maybe some cool SURF music .
WRONG!.... none what so ever. I'M SO CONFUSED !
Hey Ron , Next time your bass player leaves you hangin, Im your man . I'll be there with bells on !

I've been over to the islands five times now and never found any surf music. Did see Arthur Lyman at the New Otani in Waikiki. and Don Ho twice.

Dominic Priore tried to put a show together at the Waikiki band shell around the time the Billboard magazine article came out. obviously it didn't happen.

There is a battle of the bands recording from there from BITD.

Jeff Utterback

Not much near Princeville, but surf music is alive and well every Sunday on Poipu Beach, Kauai--thanks to Ron Rhoads and the TakeOffs. Here's a pic from last August--


But the reef is a bummer--all cut glass and sea urchins--which is my excuse for the rash guard and booties.

Not bad for a 58 year old-fart from SoCal?


Goober.....we've decided, you're our manager now! So....where's our next gig?

The TakeOffs
"Kauai's Only All-Instrumental Surf Band"

but the point at Waiohai is a great tourist break .

OT, a little, but it was at this very beach I was inspired to do the surf version of "Pomp and Circumstance" you can hear on the current SG101 podcast. I was watching my kids take lessons, and wondering what a surf school graduation would be like-- "Pumpin' Surfing Stance"!

Frankie in Frankie & The Pool Boys
Lazarus Longfellow in The TomorrowMen
Phayrentz in Pollo Del Mar

"I was watching my kids take lessons, and wondering what a surf school graduation would be like-- "Pumpin' Surfing Stance"!"

The TakeOffs
"Kauai's Only All-Instrumental Surf Band"

About two years ago, my bass player and I were hangin on the Kona coast (big island) and ran into an open mic night at some club. The manager (a local) had never heard of the stuff we played, and tried to book us...go figure

Some of the best waves on the planet and no venues dedicated to the music that best represents the sport. I guess it must be a SoCal thing.

Exactly. Surfing culture is very different from SoCal to Central Cal. In Hawaii it is almost a different sport altogether. It stands to reason that the related beach culture would follow suit.

Hawaii already has a very rich music culture and I don't think it would be wise to try and fuse it with sounds that came from Southern California. When I was in Maui I couldn't even find any live steel guitar or Slack Key music. To me that is even more more puzzling.

There is at least one surf-instro band on Oahu, and that is my band Tiki Taboo. I hesitate to call us a working band because gigs have been so sporadic. Our biggest gig was opening for The Knack. We have done Sunset-On-the-Beach gigs, a few club gigs, and a bunch of party gigs. We have a CD on cdbaby which has a lot of covers and some originals. We're working on a 2nd collection of mostly originals.

As others have stated, there is no surf-instro scene on Oahu. Even when there are parties for surf events like the Triple Crown, the event organizers won't hire a real surf band - instead it's some Jawaiian/reggae-lite band. It's pitiful that in the surf capital of the world, there is no surf music scene. Things were real different in '64 and '65 when every high school had at least a couple of surf bands, and there was an annual battle of the bands which were documented on a couple of LP's called 'Surf Battle at the Waikiki Shell', or something like that. There were some good bands there.

Anyway, we will continue to plug away. While we are all in our 40's and 50's, we are trying to be a relevant band and not some nostalgia baby- boomers-only band. We've had some success in that regard, playing a few gigs at a local hipster bar.

I think one of the guys in our band had had some communication with Ron from the Take-Offs. Ron, if you read this i'd love to hear from you. I will post some band pictures sometime.


keep on fighting the good fight and spreading the word.


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