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When I was a hanabudda kid growing up on Kauai, my cousins and I use to spend most of our waking hours on the beach. One of our favorite beaches was Kalapaki Beach on Kauai's southeast side where the Kauai Surf Hotel use to be (currently the Kauai Marriott). The reason this beach was preferred was that it had a relatively wide sloping sandy beach, perfect for skim boarding. When the waves would come sweeping in, the water would rush up the sandy slope covering it with an inch-thick layer of seawater. We would start at the top of the beach with our flat fiberglass oval boards and run full force towards the water. As soon as we reached the water's edge, we would throw the board down onto the liquid-sand soup and leap onto it in one motion. We would go sliding down the sandy slope at an angle across the beach, sometimes riding as long as thirty seconds! Eventually, we would skim far enough down to meet the waves at which point we would dive head first into the breakers. It was quite exhilarating, especially when you saw your friend try it when there wasn't enough water under them. They would plant the board, jump on it, and do a face plant right into the sand.

There was also a small river that emptied onto Kalapaki Beach. We use to use that river for all kinds of purposes -- that is, before they began converting the cane fields into cattle grazing land. The river use to be relatively clean, but now, you gotta be careful not to get any of it in your mouth... you don't know when was da last time a cows went kukai in da watah. Anyway, where was I? Okay... So, we use to get on our boogie boards and ride the river out into the waves. Plus it was a good place to rinse off before you got into the car. It also turned out to be a good place to hear the old men playing slack-key up by the benches beyond the river (but that's another story).

Was good fun...

But perhaps the best game we use to play involved the tourists who would frequent the beach. You see, when I was 10 years old, I use to have fun at the expense of the tourists... I'm not proud of it, but to be honest, it is making me laugh just thinking about it (besides, don't tell me YOU didn't do da same 'ting when you was a kid!) Anyways, we use to collect the small sandcrabs that populate Kalapaki Beach. We would then pop them into our mouths where they would scurry around and find a safe place to hide (usually under the tongue or between the cheek and gums). We would then proceed to lay down on the sand at the waters edge where the waves would rush up over us and move our bodies around like beached whales (hoo, get plenty sand in da hair). We would roll our eyes back in our heads and act like we were dead...

Now, picture Mr. and Mrs. Haole Tourist strolling leisurely down the beach... enjoying the sun in paradise... trade winds blowing through their hair, and all of a sudden, they come upon a native boy unconscious and in trouble!...

The tourists would come running over to us, kneel down and start to pick us up. Once we were craddled in their arms, we would then begin to make deep throated barfing noises, opening our mouths slowly and releasing dozens of sandcrabs fleeing out of our mouths, scurring all over our faces and onto their clothes like some demonic X-Files episode! Most of the time, the unweary tourist would simply drop us, jump back a few feet, and frantically brush the crabs off of themselves. But occasionally, we would get tourists who would sprint like Carl Lewis back to the hotel shrieking like they'd seen a ghost. Ahh, the poor crabs. They were probably more scared then the tourists.

I finally stopped putting sandcrabs in my mouth after I accidentally swallowed one. It was not pleasant. Let's just say, I think that spiny thing got stuck every two inches down my intestinal tract.

About Author

Kimo Morris lives in Southern California and spent half his childhood between Hanamaulu, Kauai and Torrance, California. His mother left Kauai to seek a degree in nursing from El Camino College (CA) where she met and married Kimo's dad, a California native. Much of his family still lives on Kauai, though some members have moved to O'ahu, and still others (including his immediate O'hana) call the Mainland home. No matter where they are, the Aloha Spirit runs strong through his family. Kimo received his B.A. in Marine Biology in 1994 from UC Santa Barbara, and in 1997 received his M.S. in Biological Systems Modeling from Oregon State University. He is currently employed as a Group Scientists at a marine biological consulting firm in Costa Mesa, California. Kimo is also in the midst of pursuing a PhD in Marine Biology at UCLA. He is happily married to April Hiraki-Morris (editor of Alohaworld.com's Plate Lunch Connection Page). Kimo and April have a lovely daughter, Jade. Among his hobbies, Kimo enjoys scuba diving (he is a certified Divemaster), surfing, martial arts, pole vaulting, full-contact scrabble, web design, and hanging out wit da wife and friends.

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