George "Boogie" Kalama (1944-2011)

George “Boogie” Kalama, crew member on the first Hōkūle‘a Voyage to Tahiti in 1976, passed away on Jan. 19, 2011 at Hilo Medical Center.

A video in memory of Boogie has been posted on Youtube, by ohanawaa:

Hōkūle‘a 1976, Boogie Kalama

Friend Moke Young posted this message on Pacific Network:

Aloha! Hoping that your spirit is soaring. In memory of Boogie Kalama a true Hawaiian Waterman whom stood for all (and some) that major religious groups strive for; generocity, peace, love, kindness, joy etc.. His music artistry will be missed too. Uncle Boogie composed the song "Star of Gladness" that was popularized by IZ. "Boogie Kalama was a man of the Land & Sea." His strong spirtuality & well-being lead him to comfort & nurture those around him; an awesome example of Aloha! "The World Needs Aloha!" Malama Kou Kino, Moke Young.

On Feb. 16, 2011, Gary Kubota posted the following article, "Hokule'a waterman made music" in the Honolulu Star Advertiser:

As one of the original crew members of the double-hulled sailing canoe Hokule'a on its historic Hawaii-Tahiti voyage in 1976, George Kama'i "Boogie" Kalama knew how to lighten the mood by occasionally playing his guitar and singing.

"He was fun. ... He was a breath of fresh air," recalled fellow crew member Billy Richards.

"When he boarded the canoe, along with his presence came his music. I love the guy. I miss him."

Kalama died of renal failure Jan. 19 at Hilo Medical Center. He was 66.
Kalama was born in Honolulu on June 7, 1944. He was a retired mason who lived in Hilo.

His musical talents were widely known, including his composition of the song "Hokule'a, Star of Gladness," which was recorded by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.

Richards recalled Kalama composing the song on the more than 2,200-mile voyage from Hawaii to Tahiti.

The Hokule'a voyage, the first of its type in centuries, proved that Polynesian sailors could make long-distance ocean voyages using Pacific native way-finding techniques.

Richards said Kalama was good at musical improvisation and wrote tunes such as "Doldrum Blues" — songs that did not make the top 10 on the Hawaiian radio music charts but made crew members laugh.

When the Coast Guard flew inoculations to the crew because of possible food contamination, Kalama composed a song called "Hepatitis Blues," Richards said.

Kalama, a contemporary of surfers Buffalo Keaulana and Donald Takayama, was an expert waterman who surfed and paddled.

People in his Big Island community remember Kalama for organizing an annual surfing contest at Pohoiki Beach Park that enabled young surfers to gain exposure from potential sponsors.

"He was known to his family and friends as a guy who loved, cared and gave to everyone in need," his sister Rose Lum said.

He is survived by sisters Leinaala Kalama Heine, Rose Lum and Doreen Kalama; children Puanani Paoa Kalama, George Kama'i Kalama III, Adrienne Kazarian and Nohea Ikaika Tamatoa Kama'i Kalama; and eight grandchildren.

On July 7, 2010 Tiffany Edwards Hunt posted in the Big Island Weekly the following article about Boogie's Pohoiki Bay Surfing Classic :

To imagine what Uncle Boogie's Pohoiki Bay Surfing Classic is like is to envision what Kalapana must have been like before the lava took it away in the early 1990s.

The massive lawn of the newly renovated Isaac Kepo'okalani Hale Beach Bark was filled with families camping out under tarps and in tents. Nevermind the occasional rain and persistent wind. The two-to-three-foot-average waves kept the surfers in the water, from morning to night.

"Aloha kekahi i kekahi," George "Boogie" Kalama repeatedly told participants. Whether it was Boogie's constant reminders or the fact that participants truly embodied the true sense of the Hawaiian term for Love One Another, the love was flowing at Pohoiki.

Those who camped out at Pohoiki and participated in Uncle Boogie's Surfing Classic on July Fourth Weekend embodied not only the true meaning of aloha, but also ohana.

Whether they were related or not, they treated each other like family.

Sure, they were gathered for a surf competition, but the competitiveness appeared to be at a minimum outside of the water.

Participants shared meals and tasks, like preparing the ti leaf lei that were to be given to the first through fourth place winners of each division.

Manu Napeahi, who ultimately won first place in the women's longboard open, forgot her bathing suit top and had someone loan her one.

Tristi Napeahi, known for her artistry, painted tribal designs on women's fingernails.

They shared their talents, they shared music, they shared movies -- On Saturday night, a big screen went up and all the campers gathered together for a viewing of "Avatar" and both "Endless Summer I" and "Endless Summer II," courtesy of Jeff Hunt Surfboards.

By Sunday, when Uncle Boogie started giving away the commemorative T-shirts he had been selling all weekend, women were helping each other turn 3x T-shirts into stylish tube-top dresses.

"It feels like we're somewhere in the South Pacific," observed Rocky Canon, a professional surf announcer from Oahu who came over to announce at the competition. Rocky is from the North Shore, which is considered country, but Pohoiki is a different kind of country, he noted.

Solomon Ortiz, a professional surfer from Oahu who came over for the contest, noted the vastness of Puna and how diverse it is, with "a range from average local Hawaiian to the weirdest hippie."

"This makes everybody neutral," Solomon said of the competition.

Boogie, a renowned waterman who was a crewmate on the inaugural voyage of Hokule'a in 1976, arranged the contest with his son, Ikaika, a big-wave pro surfer.

Both of them over the years have seen their fair share of contests. For Ikaika, the distinction with Uncle Boogie's Pohoiki Surfing Classic is that it is "locally grown put on by us" and that it incorporated some unique divisions, like the tandem bully board and fishing from a standup tandem board.

In the competition, Ikaika dominated both those divisions. When he came up to receive his maile lei and ipu award crafted by Sam Kama, Ikaika announced that he was giving away his bully board to a family friend: Terry Nicholas. And he announced he was giving away his standup paddle board to one of Pohoiki's notable keiki who he observed "ripping" in the water: Ulu Napeahi.

Other boards given away during the contest were a JG (Jerry Granson) shortboard that went to Shrutti Katrik, winner of the women's shortboard division, and a nine-foot Jeff Hunt longboard that went to Ortiz, winner of men's longboard open.

A couple of ukulele, also handcrafted by Sam Kama, were given out as well. One ukulele was raffled and the other went to Hanal'e McGuire, a keiki who, along with his sister Tianna, exemplified sportsmanship, carrying themselves well both in and out of the water.

"I feel what Uncle Boogie is doing for the next generation is so good, and I hope to see it continue," observed Nolan Waipa. "It's up to us to carry it forward."

Nolan and Moana Waipa's 12-year-old son, Keahi, who has been surfing at Pohoiki since he was about four or five, competed for this first time in Boogie's contest this year.

"Emotional," that was Nolan's reaction to his son's premiere. Keahi is named after Nolan's father, Ray Keahi "German" Waipa, who passed away on March 29. Truly, for the Waipa family, the weekend was bittersweet.

Camped out at Pohoiki, the night before the competition commenced, family and friends "pumped up" Keahi to enter. Keahi ultimately competed in the menehune shortboard division, and he and a partner paddled out without fins for the bully board division. Plus, he won the horseshoe competition. "He's an entertainer," Nolan Waipa said.

"The main thing, he's happy, I'm happy," Moana said of Keahi.

"I like how he like everybody be happy," Nolan said of Boogie.

Aside from Keahi Waipa and his partner entertaining the crowd with their demonstration of the bully board without fins, another crowd-pleaser was Sean Philips' aerial 180 to a 360.

For Canon, who grew up surfing on Oahu with Ikaika and other notables in the surfing community, Philips' maneuver was a notable moment during the competition. It was likely one of the key reasons Philips dominated the junior men's shortboard division.

Other crowd-pleasers were the standup paddlers.

"This is not a standup paddle wave," noted Rocky. "These guys were blowing my mind as to how much control they had and how good they surfed on the waves."

Meanwhile, as part of Uncle Boogie's Pohoiki Bay Surfing Classic, but at Honoli'i on Friday, Kalani Kahaleioumi and other volunteers for the Hawaii chapter of Surfers Healing led out 23 keiki from here, Kansas and California, who are on the autism spectrum.

The keiki-on-the-autism-spectrum surfing event had to take place at Honoli'i because there is no handicap accessibility into the water at Pohoiki, Kahaleioumi explained.

Opihikao resident Nadia Al Wagga, whose five-year-old son Rohan participated, couldn't be more grateful. She noted that her son was most taken by the size of the bridge that towers over Honoli'i, but she was impressed that he got to his feet before the end of his session.

"It takes a huge burden off the parent," said Kahaleioumi of the volunteer effort. "I look at these parents that bring these kids to all the events and I know the hardship they go through. Just one day I can do my part," he said, adding, "To me it's not enough. If there were more activities available to all these kids it will be super."

Kahaleioumi is seeking to create an autistic support group for Hawaii Island, what he envisions as "a network where everyone can work together to do some positive things." He noted that this island is "real limited for autistic services."

"We're just one type of autistic service," Kahaleioumi said of Surfers Healing.