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Gym owners talk extensive collection, designing equipment

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Island Gym & Fitness owners Dave Feather, left, and Bro Halff stop for a photo at their gym in Hanapepe on April 16.

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Island Gym & Fitness owners Dave Feather, left, and Bro Halff talk story at their gym on April 16.

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Dave Feather, co-owner of Island Gym & Fitness in Hanapepe, demonstrates the workings of a machine on April 16.

HANAPEPE — Earlier this month, the owners of Island Gym &Fitness received a shipment of new equipment for their gym on Kauai’s Westside.

“We really want to start a world-class gym on this island. We love the island, and we thought it deserved that type of top-rated gym in terms of the equipment,” said co-owner Bro Halff. “We were so pleased. A few years ago, a manufacturer came out and said this is one of the top-five training facilities in the world, and he’s a guy that travels all over the world. It’s not the largest gym, but we’ve sought to really put the best equipment available here.”

There are about 100 pieces of equipment for the members of the gym to use, which now includes the new line of Life Fitness Pro2 Series machines.

“I want them to know that this gym is a different gym than what you’ll find anywhere in the United States because I am a gym owner that would spend to get what I would want to use, not just a circuit just because it’s cheap and just put that in my gym,” said co-owner Dave Feather.

“You’ll see at least 10 different manufacturers in here, a lot of different manufacturers. So, my training philosophy is efficiency, and I want my machines to be efficient. I want people, what they see in their mind’s eye of what they want to change in their body, I want that to occur for them — not just struggle and struggle and think, ‘I can’t do this. This is not happening,’ and then quit.”

But, their collection exceeds that of which is seen at the gym — much more.

Altogether, Feather and Halff own about 500 pieces of rare and vintage equipment. The collection in total costs anywhere between $500,000 to $1 million.

“The 1970s through now have been a crucial period for weight lifting, bodybuilding and exercise for the general public,” Halff said. “People used to always use free weights – barbells and dumbbells. Then some very brilliant designers started to make machines, and some of them were great innovators. The more Dave got to know about these designers, the more he wanted to collect some of their classic (pieces).”

The start of the collection happened after Feather encountered an online forum.

“I started reading this thread. The guy that started this thread, I’m actually friends with him. I’ve been to his house. He started this thread. Because of him and this thread, it totally broadened my horizons on machines that were out there. I understood more,” Feather said.

“Once that occurred and I started learning about these different machines, then I started developing my own theories on efficiency and what I was looking for when it came to machines. I just started collecting, and then I got in with all the guys who are collectors in the United States. There’s like less than 10 of us that do this.”

Every few months, equipment is cycled out of the Hanapepe gym to keep things “fresh” for the members.

When Feather started collecting about 10 years ago, he did not envision it being as large as it is now.

“I became more and more of an enthusiast,” Feather said. “Once I developed certain theories and philosophies on bodybuilding, obtaining lean muscle tissue and what to do, then I sought out certain machines – machines that are more efficient. I try to target machines that are efficient.”

Both owners have been involved in fitness for about 40 years. Feather previously was a bodybuilding competitor, and Halff specializes in cardio.

They moved to Kauai from San Diego in 2006. In 2007, they acquired the site of the gym.

“We had run a personal training facility in San Diego, Calif. So, we had some experience as fitness operators. But then here, we thought the Westside deserved a top-rate gym,” Halff said.

Also, they’re in the process of designing and patenting new gym equipment. They hope to see prototypes sometimes in the coming months.

“There’s a large manufacturer in Germany called ‘gym80.’ They make very well-designed heavy-duty machines. I’ve never used them, but I’m very impressed when I look at their machines and I see others use their machines in videos,” Feather said. “There are several new designs in the works. They’re getting designed, and then we’ll apply for a patent. First, before you apply for a patent, you got to see if they’re marketable.”

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Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or ncelario@thegardenisland.com.

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