There’s a new kid on the block in Kauai’s local surf shop scene. Aloha Exchange opened in Kalaheo, bringing with it a unique perspective on more than just the surf-skate lifestyle but also on life in general.
“Aloha brings change” is a concept that has pushed this homegrown shop through the small island market since day one. Not to mention, the name Aloha Exchange also suggests the importance of Aloha in Hawaii and beyond. It is an “exchange” we should continue to keep in our day-to-day dialogue, as residents and visitors of these islands.
Today, only a few local surf shops exists. Nukumoi Surf Co., Po’ipu Surf and Tamba Surf Co. come to mind. It appears that these small business have been doing really well when up against corporate competition, like Roxy and Quiksilver. But then again, small businesses on Kauai seem to do well in general.
I stumbled upon Aloha Exchange after getting coffee across the street. The area used to be a drab industrial shop of sorts; now, it is filled with surfboards, skateboards and a fresh coat of paint. Ironically, the only thing I really wanted to get while on Kauai was a camouflage trucker hat, and that’s exactly what I found there!
Aloha Exchange has a chill, vintage vibe about it — complete with a couch and TV. Surf-skate movies play all day for customers to enjoy while shopping. I really liked the abstract art work and hand-painted skegs on display.
Speaking of art, Aloha Exchange features a local artist every month with its “Eat A Fricken Hot Dog” event. Bet you can’t guess what they serve at that event. The idea of a surf shop having an art night has somewhat become a thing on Oahu. On Kauai, it seems to be fairly new, so it’s awesome that Aloha Exchange is embracing the Hawaiian style with a pau hana event like this.
Best of luck to this small local biz, charging the line-up of surf-skate shops islandwide.
• 2-2535 Kamualii Hwy., Kalaheo, HI 96741 • www.thealohaexchange.com