Name that beach

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A pair of surfers take off on a bump at Kalapaki Monday afternoon.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kalapaki is still Kalapaki as a foil surfer takes off with a traditional boarder on a bump at Kalapaki Monday afternoon.

LIHUE — Most beaches on Kauai have at least two names.

Donkey Beach on the east side, for instance, has more than two. The beach’s traditional Hawaiian name is Paliku Beach, but it’s also known as Kuna Beach, Kumukumu Beach and as Donkey Beach after mules pastured nearby and used for cane hauling.

Wednesday, Oahu’s John Clark will help sort out the names and histories that accompany them in a talk sponsored by Kauai Historical Society, Makaloa Native Hawaiian Council and Ku Pono I Ho‘okahi Hawaii.

It’s set for 5:30 tonight at the Hawaiian Studies Classroom of Kauai Community College.

“Traditional place names tell a story about our islands through the eyes of our kupuna,” organizers said in a release. “By knowing these sites, we are able to honor those who came before us and the legacies they left behind.”

Author, retired deputy fire chief, and surfer, Clark has published six books on Hawaii place names, with books dedicated separately to Maui, Oahu, Kauai and Ni‘ihau, Hawaii Island and then books that give history and place names of shores, beaches and surf sites throughout the archipelago.

A lifetime surfer, Clark got his love and knowledge of surfing and culture from his family — a father who was one quarter Hawaiian and a mother who loved the culture.

Clark started surfing when he was 8 years old and learned place names and history of those surf spots as she grew in the sport.

From the North Shore’s Kahili (Rock Quarry Beach) or Pali Ke Kua (Hideaways Beach) to Keoneloa (Shipwrecks Beach) on the South Side, Clark will explain the birth of Kauai’s ancient place names.

Born and raised on Oahu, Clark is a graduate of University of Hawaii at Manoa, a retired deputy fire chief, and an avid surfer.


Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or


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