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When Lanikai isn't ranked no.1 in the World's Best Beaches polls, Kailua Beach usually is. Just a few hundred meters up the coast from Lanikai , Kailua Beach is actually a typical Oahu beach park, with all the standard facilities -- parking, lifeguards, picnic tables, and bathrooms -- that Lanikai lacks, plus it has a wider, longer beach, a somewhat bigger shorebreak, and spectacular views of the Ko'olau mountains, Nuuanu Pali and Kaneohe. Kailua Beach is part of a very long chain of beautiful sand beaches that includes Lanikai, Bellows and Waimanalo beaches.

No, the break at Kaikua Beach isn't this big.I simply took this shot from a few centimers above the surface of the water. That 'break' might be all of 10 cm, and the water in the foreground might be all of 15 cm deep. But imagine for a moment that you were 5 cm tall, and you had a pint-size surfboard. This Kailua 'break' would be magnificient!

 It took us a week, but we finally made it to Ono's for lunch. The actual name of this well-known restaurant on Kapahulu Avenue is "Ono Hawaiian Food."

"Ono" is a Hawaiian word for "delicious". But Ono is also a common family name in Japan, so Yoko thought the place was owned by a Japanese person. Not quite. But interestingly enough, a month after we got back, Japan Airline's in-flight magazine, Wings, carried an article about dining in Hawaii. The article mentioned Ono's, and the fact that the author thought that the owner was Japanese! The article also mentioned how popular the restaurant was, and how on weekend evenings, the line of people wating to get in can wrap around the block. It's true. Lunches are much easier to get. And just as ono!

We took our lunches to Kailua Beach. Yoko and the kids loved the laulau (pork and veggies steamed in a ti leaf), the kalua pig (baked, shredded and salted pork), the pipikaula (cured and dried beef), and the haupia (coconut pudding), but the poi (steamed taro root) was at least one, probably two days old and pretty sour (but not as sour as three day old poi can be). No one could take more than a fingerful. Auwe! (Too bad!)

You can actually see the Nuuanu Pali from Kailua Beach (the low point of the mountains between the two leftmost palm trees in picture to right). I'd forgotten that. I won't forget it again.

The reef is well offshore of Kailua and Lanikai beaches, so there is plenty of calm, shallow water for windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, and outrigger canoing. In fact, windurfing got its start in these waters, and at least one world champion windsurfer is from the area.

Beachfront property in Kailua/Lanikai is some of the priciest real estate on Oahu, so you'd expect to find boats in their yards. Sure enough, nearly all had a catamaran of some kind. But quite a few had outriggers, which appear to be popular with the retired set. We would often see an outrigger come up to the beach, switch crews, and head back out, as the outrigger at right is about to do.

One late afternoon, we noticed a large crowd watching something in the water off the south end of Kailua Beach. We investigated. And discovered a water sport I hadn't seen before. Kite surfing.

This guy had his beach-bound audience enthralled with his fine control of the kite. When adjusted to just off the water, the kite pulled him along at powerboat speeds (top photo). When placed overhead, the kite pulled him out of the water and into the air for several seconds at a time (bottom photo). In fact, this guy spent so much time in the air, he should have been required to get clearance from nearby Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station!

As you can see, the board is much smaller than a standard windsurfer and, of course, there is no mast and boom to deal with. If you need an easily transportable wind sailing kit that you can stuff inside a car or take on a train, this is the kit to get. I want one.

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