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Marriott president on-hand for koa surfboard installation

A koa surfboard’s installation at the Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club coincided with a visit by Ed Fuller, president and managing director of Marriott Lodging International, Wednesday.

Fuller, who has been credited with bringing the authentic Hawaiian host culture into the Hawai‘i Marriotts, was on hand to inspect the newest acquisition: a surfboard created by Kaua‘i artist Frank Pullano, made of koa from Kealakekua Ranch and modeled after the surfboards used by Duke Kahanamoku in the 1920s.

“It actually floats,” Pullano said. “I put it in the water of a friend’s pool, and it actually floats. I would’ve wanted Kalani Vierra to ride it here at Kalapaki, but it was too close to the auction, and if it had gotten dinged, it would have been all over.”

The surfboard was placed in permanent display in the resort’s lobby, next to the Princess canoe.

Wood used in the 85-pound replica is estimated to be 100 years old and is conservation koa, meaning it came from either a downed tree or a standing dead tree, also known as “distressed koa,” native to the Hawaiian Islands.

Native koa found at high elevations on the Big Island can reach heights of up to 40 feet with a potential life span of 400 years. The color and grain patterns of the wood are created by prime conditions of heavy rainfall, high altitude and rich soil.

In keeping with the Hawaiian experience theme, the Kauai Marriott also inaugurated a weekly Hawai‘i Alive show, headed by kumu hula Wallis Punua.

The show starts at 8 p.m. Monday nights at the resort’s Ni‘ihau Court with theater-style open seating. In conjunction with this weekly show, Kukui’s will be offering a lu‘au style buffet between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. for diners to enjoy prior to the show.

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