The story of Holo Holo Charters begins in southern California, with a kid named Kevin that was destined for a life as a waterman. By the age of seven, Kevin had started surfing and sailing. As a teenager, he’d often skip school and spend his days at Newport Harbor–looking at boats, studying boats, talking about boats, helping people on boats…all things boats. The obsession was real.
Kevin is one of those people that just barely graduated high school, despite his brilliant mind. As a young adult, he lived in a van, and worked as an L.A. County lifeguard and building fancy spiral staircases. He wasn’t sure what the future held but one thing was straight—his dream of building his own boat and sailing the world with it.
One fateful afternoon he was hanging around a local boatyard, not surprisingly, checking out the construction of his friend Gordon’s boat, when the course of his life was altered forever. “Why Kevin, you ought to go to Hawaii and build catamarans,” said Gordon in his thick Cockney English accent. Gordon knew of an outfit on Maui that was looking to hire some guys for just that.
Gordon’s suggestion struck a chord and what do you know, a few weeks later, Kevin sailed across the Pacific for the first time. He navigated with a sextant from San Pedro to Lahaina, on his very first boat, a trimaran named Breezin’, with little more than a pot to piss in. Quite literally–Breezin’ didn’t have a head (restroom).
Things went well for the hard-working young chap and Kevin began making a name for himself in Hawaii’s boat-building community. He hadn’t planned on staying in the Aloha State but hey, the waves were good and he was working, gaining experience and building connections in the field he was passionate about, so there he stayed.
As the years went on, Kevin bounced between Maui, Oahu and Kauai, heading up various projects for different charter boat companies, always envisioning the day he could afford to build his own boat and sail away. Unfortunately, contract work is boom and bust and while he was holding his head above water, he wasn’t making much headway towards realizing that dream. He vividly remembers sitting on the beach one evening, staring off into the horizon, self-doubting and wondering where all this was going.
Not long after that, opportunity struck! Randomly, an investor from Texas had decided he fancied himself starting a charter boat company on Kauai. He had the dough, but he needed a man on the ground to make it all happen, so he started asking around the state’s charter industry, head-hunting for just the right guy.
He was swiftly referred to Kevin who, by this time, had a solid reputation for being honest, driven and markedly skillful when it came to designing and building charter boats. The Texan and Kevin shook hands in 1996 and Kevin began designing Holo Holo Charters’ flagship, Holoholo. Once his plans were approved and stamped by a naval architect, he ordered the materials and hired a couple of guys. They rolled up their sleeves and built the vessel from scratch, at a former pineapple cannery in Lawai, on the south side of Kauai. After fourteen grueling months, the 60’ motor catamaran was launched, and ran her very first tour in December 1997.
Not long afterwards, a 48’ sailing catamaran came up for sale on Maui. Her name was Leila and wouldn’t you know, she was one of the first boats Kevin built when he’d arrived in Hawaii years ago. Fittingly, Holo Holo Charters purchased her, sailed her over to Kauai and she’s been running sailing charters up and down the Napali Coast ever since.
After four years in business, the Texan decided Kauai wasn’t quite the paradise for him and just as whimsically as he’d come into the picture, he was gone. He sold his half of Holo Holo Charters to Kevin and went searching for greener pastures in the British Virgin Islands. What an angel that guy.
In 2012, Holo Holo Charters purchased two permits to run charters out of Hanalei, and again, Kevin got busy designing two identical boats, specifically for the Napali Coast’s particular conditions. Suitable shop space was unavailable on Kauai at that time, so Kevin made arrangements on Oahu and took his crew to Honolulu to build out two rigid hull inflatable (RHIB) boats. Adventurer II and Adventurer III were launched in 2012 and 2013, respectively, and have since run hundreds of tours each, from Kauai’s iconic north shore.
On Kauai, you’ll notice a lot of lifted, modified, tricked-out trucks, especially Toyotas; it’s a thing around here. On the rear windows of many of these trucks there are decal stickers that say “Built Not Bought.” Doing the work yourself is a source of pride on this island and one that we at Holo Holo Charters certainly identify with. What makes us different? It’s our four vessels, that are as sleek and attractive as they are high-performance. They aren’t generic production boats ordered from some faraway land; rather, they were all designed and built with so much heart and soul, here in Hawaii, by Kevin, the little surfer boy who could.
And whatever happened to that guy? Well, let’s just say he’s sailed more than 40,000 blue-water miles on his dream catamaran Kālewa that, of course, he designed and built himself, here on Kauai. He’s not around the company much these days but his passion for boating, resolute spirit and unrivaled work ethic will forever inspire all that we do here at Holo Holo Charters. He’s living proof that dreams do come true.