It is my intention as a staff writer for this magazine to introduce the people of Maui and it’s guests to the colorful surfers who are living Maui Time.
Dave Sweedler: What is the HGA How do you and who started it?
Tai Van Dyke: HGA stands for the Ho`okipa Grommet Association. Kaleo started it. It’s basically just the kids around here, going off.
Kaleo Roberson: We started the HGA in 1989. Every year we have a surfing contest: the Justin Roberson Memorial.
Kai Henry: We all grew up together; we have parties and surf together every day. HGA represents the power of surfing.
Sweedler: What has Justin’s influence had on the people around here?
Tai: Justin was heavy. His philosophy was “surf and be stoked.”
Kaleo: Big waves, power surfing and big airs.
Kai: I didn’t really know him that well. Every time I saw him surf he was going nuts. All the kids around here wanted to surf like him.
Sweedler: What kind of reputation does the HGA have?
Kaleo: Not a very good one. It’s because we are real territorial. We’re not as bad as people make us out to be, though. I think people just like to gossip.
Tai: People aren’t too stoked on us. Just because a water balloon has hit their car or something. We’re just groms having fun.
Kai: We’re all just a bunch of mellow guys. We just watch each other’s backs.
Sweedler: What do you do besides surf?
Kai: Wait for big waves.
Kaleo: Travel, hike in the mountains and dive.
Tai: Work sometimes…
Sweedler: What is your favorite spot to surf on Maui and why?
Kaleo: Kihei Boat Ramp when it’s big and Windmills. I like pulling into big tubes.
Tai: The cave for sure. I like the barrel and carving.
Kai: The cave at Honolua. You can gouge and pull into big tubes.
Sweedler: How do you feel about the Maui Rusty Pro and how have you guys done in the contest?
Kaleo: I haven’t done very well, but it’s good to have the pros come here. It charges up the kids.
Kai: A couple of years back I made it to the finals and grabbed fourth against Sunny, Kaipo and Taylor.
Tai: It’s good to have the pros here. It definitely raises the level of surfing. My best result was making it to the third round.
Sweedler: Where’s your favorite place that you’ve traveled to surf?
Tai: The waves are so good everywhere I go, but Tahiti and Australia are my favorites.
Kaleo:Tahiti. Insane barrels.
Kai: Japan was killer. I really like the people.
Sweedler: What does it take to make a name for yourself on Maui?
Tai: To be as psyched as you were as a grom, and keep the charge as you get older.
Kaleo: The only way, really, is to surf big waves.
Kai: To ride big waves, pull fat airs and power surfing.
Sweedler: Any advice for visiting surfers?
Tai: Cruise, have fun, don’t drop in.
Kaleo: Stay out of the locals’ way.
Kai: Don’t get in my f*@#$% way!
Sweedler: Describe each others surfing in one word.
Kaleo: Kai-powerful, Tai-carving.
Tai: Kaleo-charges, Kai-power.
Kai: Kaleo-mental, Tai-large.
Sweedler: What is Maui Time to you?
Tai: Good times, the only times I know.
Kai: Being mellow, hanging out. Maui Time is a little slower than everywhere else.
Kaleo: Up and coming mag on the rise.
Sweedler: Any last words?
Kai: Yeah, my sponsors rule: Gotcha and Local Motion, thanks for believing in me.
If you’d like to see these guys surf, check out the soon to be released video, Freaks on Corn, shot by Chris Tronolone.
This story originally ran in MauiTime’s July 22, 1997 issue.
Photos: Erik Aeder Photography and Ron Loomis