For two and a half years, my company CatalystCreativ comprised of the incredible team that works arduously every day designed and implemented a concept called "Catalyst Week." During Catalyst Week, we would curate 50 influential people every month from around the world to come learn more about Downtown Vegas and share their stories in the process.
As a part of each experience, we held an event called the reciprocity circle. During this event, we would have all of the guests in attendance sit in a circle, and one by one share something they "needed." This can vary from marketing support, a mentor, or a new partner for a business venture. At one of these experiences in 2014, my boyfriend Jonathan Conrad had an odd request. He wanted to find a business partner that would help create a vision of building an ocean (in an undisclosed location for another article), and low and behold, one of the attendees who lived in Austin exclaimed, "Oh, I know the perfect team for you!"
From that point, we were introduced to one of the most unique companies I have ever been witness to, (and I meet A LOT of people)! We were told their name was Honokea, which was actually coined by Sig Zane, (Hawaiian cultural icon), who says "a spirit is born when the name is given, that is where the power begins." 'Hono' means 'Bay' or 'gathering place', and 'Kea' means 'White', 'Peak' or 'wisdom'. Honokea combined figuratively means to be 'Kea' or "at your best". As I learned more about Honokea, I was not only inspired by their overall concept and tag line of "think green, dream blue," and their vision to bring Hawaii to the main land, but I was inspired by the fact they for sure walk the walk, and don't just talk the talk. They (pun intended) really are the new wave of business, that many others should recognize and follow suit. They are people of integrity, who will always do right by everyone, and will always do right for as they termed it "Island Earth."
It is so absolutely exciting and groundbreaking (literally) to have gotten to know this team and see them in action. Now, in spring of 2016, the 160-acre park with 13-acre surfing lagoon with perfect man-made waves for all levels of surfers, NLand Surf Park will open. Honokea worked on the project in 2013 and 2014 with the Coors family on conceptual planning, site selection and design.
"Working in Austin with the Coors family to create the biggest, greenest surf park in the world was a great experience and something I know Texas will be proud of," said Honokea founder and CEO Kenan "Keno" Knieriem Jr. "More importantly, it provides a place to build community and to share the joy of surfing." As I mentioned, Keno and his incredible team, including Brian Keaulana (who you may recognize for surfing 60 + FOOT WAVES), founder and president and the many other people who tirelessly worked on this project, are the REAL deal. They ensured that they engaged the local community and went the extra mile, by working with Dr. Lauren Ross, president of Austin's Glenrose Engineering to develop the conceptual water and waste management strategies to enable the development to be"off-the-grid" in addition to personally connecting with Austin's legislature and leaders in sustainability and conservation to blend Austin's cultural and community standards into the parks design.
From a sustainability perspective, because of their work with Dr. Ross, water demand for the surf lagoon can be supplied and sustained by stored rainwater even in the most challenging drought conditions. Honokea also engaged the local utility provider to establish renewable energy sources for the surf park, as well as developed their own concepts for sustainable construction processes and on-site food production, to be implemented in future surf parks.
"Hawaii is recognized as the birthplace of modern surfing but also a culture that learned to thrive on limited resources by creating sustainable technologies like fishponds and vast plains of irrigated agriculture like taro fields," said Keaulana. "Combining centuries of indigenous knowledge with the best practices of today shows how we can learn from the past to design a better future. We applied this to our original master plan in Austin to share the aloha spirit for generations to come."
It seems to me that if we all were a bit more Hawaiian, the world would be a cleaner, safer, and happier place to live in.