The good folks that comprise the Hawaii Aloha Travel Ohana often field various versions of the same question “How do we go local in Hawaii?” Visitors are often looking for an authentic Hawaii experience on their Hawaii vacation, and we’ll submit here that you can’t get much more local than attending a University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine (women’s) Volleyball match at the Stan Sherriff Center on the Manoa campus.
Certainly, “locals” enjoy a broad spectrum of activities. Surfing, fishing, hiking, and hula are all part of daily life in Hawaii. So are more extreme activities like paragliding, waterfall rappelling, and motocross. We’re happy to recommend any of those things (safely, of course). But watching “the Wahine” play is something that is enjoyed passionately by thousands of fans at every match.
Go local in Hawaii -“Let’s go Bows!”
From elementary students with aspirations to collegiate athletics to senior citizens who have held season tickets for decades, a Wahine Volleyball match is, perhaps, the most accurate cross-section of Hawaii’s unique demographics you’ll find. To attend a UH Wahine Volleyball game is to truly go local in Hawaii. Local talent (sometimes famous, sometimes just a cute kid) sings the National Anthem and then the reverent Hawaii Pono ‘I, which is always stirring and a truly Hawaiian expression of respect, of aloha.
The Wahine Volleyball program is storied, and nationally recognized as a powerhouse team every year. They have won four NCAA National Championships, the last in 1987, and were also the runner-up in 1996. They are competitive every year, facing off against legendary programs like UCLA, Nebraska, and Penn State, always proving worthy of such heady opponents.
Former Head Coach Dave Shoji (retired, 2017) is regarded as royalty (or a saint perhaps, as there are actual royal bloodlines throughout Hawaii). He is a familiar face and a hero to generations of fans after becoming Head Coach in 1975. He set the all-time record for wins in 2013. That record is unlikely to ever be broken. He is responsible for building a program that is one of the most prestigious in all of collegiate athletics in the US.
Wahine Volleyball’s Incredible Legacy
His influence goes far beyond that, too. Wahine Volleyball regularly recruits international players. The team develops players into professional stars in leagues around the world. His influence on UH athletics cannot be overstated. One of his past star players, Robin Ah Mow, was selected to replace him as Head Coach.
What is truly remarkable about a Wahine Volleyball match is how invested the fans in the stands are. From youth athletics teams to retirees to wild-eyed college kids going crazy with every point, the atmosphere at “The Stan” is electric. The team is beloved. And the crowd is often just as fun to watch as the team.
“The Aunties” are a group of senior citizens who sit in the first row and cheer like unhinged fans of professional sports teams. They are practically local celebrities, and players after every match file past them to be draped with lovingly crafted flower lei, win or lose. The UH Marching Band is known for cheeky choreographed antics and clever songs to match the excitement of the crowd. In fact, it would not be inaccurate to describe the atmosphere at a Wahine Volleyball match as being like a rock concert. Having been a professional musician for 30 years, I can report that it truly is.
To go local in Hawaii, you can’t get much more authentic than a Wahine Volleyball game. Tickets are cheap ($14-$25 for adults, $9-$14 for senior citizens, and $5-$8 for kids and students through high school), and can be purchased online. Keep in mind that for big rivalries and important matches, “The Stan” and its 10,000-plus capacity often sell out. The “stadium food” at The Stan is reasonably priced, the beer is, too, and you can plan your food and drink runs around the on-court action to avoid long lines.
For visiting sports fans, or simply those who want to go local in Hawaii, we’re happy to recommend this entirely and uniquely Hawaii experience of a Wahine Volleyball match at the Stan Sherriff Center. To book your Hawaiian trip give us a call or use our Trip Planner.