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A Life Long Pursuit by Jim Hayes

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For me, Tropical Blends is a string of memories that began in the mid seventies. They bring with them the smell of paint, the feel of the hot Hawaiian sun and the warm smiles on the faces of my sometimes hardworking crew. Fact is, we were painting houses at the time under the uniquely appropriate name Tropical Blends. Painting houses? Well, has a lot to do with my best friend’s father believing that every boy needed a trade and my unwillingness to follow my mother’s advise about continuing my education. (Story for another day.)

Anyway, as luck would have it, I was up on a scaffold one sunny afternoon and noticed a guy running up the road with a new surfboard under his arm. Next day it was a different new board and on the third, I called down to him asking for the back story. Turns out he was making boards at his dad’s house and taking them out for a quick dip before their new owners took delivery. (Sounded good to me at the time.)

alt="Jim Hayes Surfing in Hawaii"

So I’m getting him to build one for me and we strike up a bit of a friendship and the next thing you know we’re signing a lease for two thousand feet right next to the Ala Moana Shopping Center. Big time for a surf shop in 1978 Honolulu.

Brilliant business men that we were, we put pretty much all the cash we had on the space without giving much thought to how we might pay next month’s rent. Didn’t seem to matter much because we were gona be the next big thing down the street from the Bolt shop! (Thanks to Keoni Downing’s gracious donation, we did have racks on the floor to hold boards that would be there at some point.)


To the surprise of our friends, we opened as scheduled regardless of an obvious lack of inventory. The open doors were met with confused looks but kind words of encouragement just the same. So it was from the ground up for Tropical Blends. Some thirty five years into this labor of love and the memories continue to stack up. Thing is, I’m still enjoying the ride! See our video “Back In The Day”

See our video “Back in the day”


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