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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, August 1, 2004

Kelly Komoda revisits his boyhood Maui hangouts and fishing spots

By Kelly Komoda
Jefferson Elementary School, 4th-grade teacher

The Honolulu Advertiser's Hawai'i's Bachelor 2003 Kelly Komoda is still single, though he tells us he's "talking" to someone in San Francisco who's visiting the Islands next month. Komoda, 28, lives in Makiki and teaches 4th grade at Jefferson Elementary School in Waikiki. During the summer break, he's working at the Hana Pa'a Hawaii fishing store at Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Q. Where is your favorite place to vacation?

A. Maui. I grew up in Kahului and went to Maui High School; I spent a lot of my childhood on Keawekapu beach in Wailea.

Q. Why choose there?

A. It's always good to go back and remember the good times I had growing up there. My auntie owned a condo on Keawekapu beach and my sister, Ashley, and I spent all our summers on the beach and swimming in her condo pool.

Q. What do you do on your trips there?

A. Well, here are some things that I HAVE to do when on Maui ...

  • Eat 'ono Maui food (the most important thing): At Sam Sato's in Wailuku, the dry mein; at Tokyo Tei in Wailuku, shrimp tempura and pork teriyaki; at Koho's in Ka'ahumanu Shopping Center, it's the teri burger and Kilauea Snowball; at the Tasaka Guri Guri Shop in Maui Mall, guri (Japanese sherbet), and I also love to go to Mama's Fish House in Pa'ia.
  • Beaches: Keawekapu beach is where I first learned how to dive and spearfish when I was 10, in about 10 feet of water. It feels good to go back and do some fishing, diving, or bodyboarding. I also like to go to Big Beach (a mile-long beach in Makena State Park).
  • Entertainment: I always end up going to Ka'ahumanu Shopping Center where we used to go since the time we were in 5th grade. We would ride our skateboards after school and cruise at the mall. I have school friends who still live there. Another thing I like to do is take a walk through all of the hotels in Ka'anapali and Wailea, especially the Grand Wailea because of the pools. I also like to drive the road to Hana and just admire the scenery.

Q. What is your perfect day on vacation?

A. Wake up about 7 a.m. and do a half-day spearfishing dive for kumu (goatfish), uhu (parrotfish), uku (snapper), ulua, somewhere like Wai'anapanapa, in Hana, with my old friends from high school. Back then we formed a dive group called the Chiselers. Learning to spear fish, you often miss the fish and catch the rocks instead, blunting the spears (and chiseling the rocks). We're a lot better now but we've kept the name. Sometimes we see tiger sharks but it's not a big worry; I've been diving all my life.

Q. What do you never travel without?

A. Toothbrush and a cellphone ... and quite often, my fishing gear.

Final word on Maui: It's always one step slower than the O'ahu busy lifestyle that I live each day. The beaches are a lot nicer than O'ahu, emptier, and there's a lot more fish for me to shoot ...

Q. Where next?

A. Places I dream about going are Mexico or Tahiti or Australia.