Often, islands across the globe share similarities in lifestyle and even culture, no matter where those islands might be. A profound connection with the sea. An active, coastal kind of life. A certain resourcefulness and understanding of the environment on the island… All of these qualities are shared by Islanders and even island-loving people, alike.
It wasn't a surprise that OluKai, along with the founders of Maoi Swim, Cayla Moore and Julia Muniz Robinson, and their ambassadors, headed to Tahiti to celebrate Maoi Swim's latest collection, ORIGINS. After all, oral traditions and even radiocarbon dating tell the story of how Polynesians migrated to the Hawaiian islands from a place south called Kahiki (i.e. Tahiti), via the Marquesas Islands (nearly halfway between Tahiti and Hawaii).
Indeed ancient Polynesian wayfinders both in Tahiti and Hawai‘i used navigational techniques like observing birds, stars, swell, clouds, color of the sky and rays of light reflected from the sun to cross incredibly vast expanses of ocean, centuries before Western ships arrived. Sure, the Maoi girls didn’t get down to Tahiti that way…but that deep cultural connection was not lost to them.
And, who exactly, is the Maoi Swim crew? A WOC-owned and operated brand that provides sustainable swimwear for the modern beach woman, Maoi swimwear inspires and empowers women to embrace their unique beauty and enjoy life to the fullest. Committed to creating sustainable, ethical, and high-quality products that are both stylish and comfortable, Maoi was founded by Julia Muniz Robinson, a passionate Brazilian entrepreneur, with Native Hawaiian Cayla Moore recently joining her as a co-owner.
And in Tahiti, no matter your gender — you’re in swimwear a lot. Surfing the waves breaking into the outside reef passes, swimming the calm lagoons, or paddling canoe — you certainly find yourself in or on the water a lot in Tahiti, something the women of Maoi Swim welcomed eagerly.
Of course, their trip to Tahiti wasn’t all just frolicking in the sea with friendly reef sharks and sting rays (although there was a fair amount of that). The deeper connection and mission in Tahiti for them was experiencing the lifestyle as a woman there, a connection shared by traditional Hawai‘i. In both Tahiti and Hawai‘i, women played an essential role in society. Goddesses were central, ubiquitous figures in oral history and religious beliefs, and even in so many cultural practices, from surfing to paddling wa‘a (canoe) — women partook in it all.
Quickly making fast-friends with the community on Tahiti, the Maoi crew immersed themselves in Tahitian culture, learning to weave traditional lei, not unlike a very similar practice back in Hawai‘i. They also surfed together, explored the pristine lagoons over (and under) water, and hiked trails through lush valleys to scared waterfalls, sleeping soundly at night after days of constant movement.
Of course, if you ever find yourself in the lovely islands of Tahiti, here’s a quick guide to what you might want to bring along…
Footwear for a Tahitian getaway — and some scenarios on when to use them
Dock to deck of a boat or canoe: ‘Ohana: Our best-selling, essential beach sandal made with cushioned, water-resistant sandal materials that will make your feet feel like they're always in the islands.
Cruising Papeete Town for some shopping at the Sunday Market: Pehuea Lī: Our lightweight, breathable sneaker featuring an airy, all-mesh upper that’s always ready for adventure, no matter where you’re headed.
Village to resort life: Hila: Designed for tropical vacations, beach days, and a summer state of mind, Hila is a true water-friendly, warm-weather essential.
A trail run into the many valleys: Wailuku: Made with soft, breathable mesh and cloud-like cushioning, the Wailuku is an active sneaker with enough cushion and bounce to keep up with you.
Some yoga or beachside workouts: Kāholo: The perfect combination of performance, durability, and style this innovative trainer sneaker is a women’s athletic shoe that’s ready for anything.