What "winter" means to Hawaii

[caption id="attachment_1464020" align="aligncenter" width="604"]©istockphoto/johnraffaghello ©istockphoto/johnraffaghello[/caption] When most people hear winter is coming, that means bracing themselves (as well as outfitting their homes and wardrobes) with appropriate equipment and attire for the coming icy weather. But in Hawaii, the land of eternal sunshine and endless summers, locals have a different mindset. If the majority of the world has one term describing the months from November through March, it would be “Cold!” But Hawaii encompasses its own winter word – WAVES! Long known for being the mecca of monster surf, the Hawaiian Islands offer onlookers endless entertainment in the way of world-class wave-watching, white sand beaches and swoon-worthy surfers. From Haleiwa Beach Park, stretching all the way to iconic Sunset Beach, Oahu especially attracts those fanatic worshippers of waves. During the winter months, that “Seven Mile Miracle” stretch of Kamehameha Highway will see scores of surfers and spectators searching for the biggest and best, killer conditions. In fact, each year, the surf competitions including Van’s Triple Crown and “The Eddie” - aka The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau - bring celebrities and world famous riders from across the globe to compete and grab for a World Champion or Triple Crown title with the big boys. Hands down, the chance to witness such monster waves and brave riders is one lifetime memory that should make every bucket list. And although waves are decidedly and without question the main attraction and mantra when it comes to Hawaii’s winter season, there are also several other surefire signs that – if not bitterly cold -- at least cooler days have come to the Islands. The first telltale sign that temperatures have slightly dipped are the presence of an otherwise absent enigma – the sportin’ of shoes. In fact, pretty much anything besides bare feet and slippahs are sure to get you gawked at (or at least labeled as a tourist through-and-through) any other time of year. Another clue? Shirts. Other then, again, the pasty sun-deprived tourists, 99 percent of the male population of Hawaii Nei eats, sleeps, plays and lives sans shirt. Even the wahinec(women) among the Islands are more apt to don bikini tops and bottoms versus a verified vest or tee. And on those extra blustery (gasp!) in the 60-degree range days, sleeves (a word previously unknown in the Hawaiian vocabulary) can sporadically be seen. Whoa bra(h)—those too. by Andy Beth Miller