On August 8, 2023 a devastating fire raged through the town of lahaina... my home town. Though I was extremely lucky and my home and shop were spared, the majority of my community were not. My parents, my wife's brother and sister-in-law, and a staggering number of my closest friends are just a small portion of the people who lost just about everything in this fire. Not to mention the collective loss and trauma all Lahaina residents share in losing our town and so many of our loved ones.
We are nearly three months post fire now and things have not gotten much better. Thousands of people are still displaced, bouncing around from hotel to hotel, with a looming uncertainty as to what will happen as the west side opens up again to tourism. It is hard to fathom what this community will have to endure for the next few years as we navigate the challenges of re-building our town. Primary needs at the moment are stable housing, schooling for our children, financial support, and stable jobs.
Being sensitive to those primary needs is paramount, however, as time moves on I truly believe that finding any shred of normalcy is going to be important. I think that if there is a way for me to help some in my community find joy and get back to doing things they love then they/we stand a far better chance of sticking this out. As divers, surfers, and spearfisherman /women we know how beneficial being in the ocean is for our mental and physical health. For many in my community it was also a crucial means to put sustainable and healthy food on the table.
I have put together a drive to crowd fund the production of what started out as 6 of my custom Pistol Whip spearguns to be given away. Five of the guns were slotted for Lahaina fire victims and one is to be a prize for donors... every $20 donated buys an entry to win the prize gun. The support I received for this drive was immediate and amazing! In short time we surpassed my original goal and more than doubled it. This allowed me to bring the number of guns up to 10 to be given to fire victims and 1 for a prize. The money raised beyond what is needed to build the 10 guns will be used to further help fellow divers in the form of gift cards to local businesses to be used to buy new gear that was lost.
The reason for using GoFundMe, despite the fact that they take a cut, is that donations and money earned can be seen by everyone who participates. My goal from the beginning has been to be fully transparent in how much money is raised and how it is spent.
I have spent a fair amount of time finding and speaking with potential recipients of the spearguns and for the most part I have locked down my list. I wanted to do this prior to the build as it gave me an opportunity to customize each gun to the divers style/needs.
The 10 recipients are as follows.
A life-long Lahaina resident Hans lost his home near Baby Beach. He is a good friend of mine and a stand-up member of our community. He is a Maui County Lifeguard, regularly participates as water safety for the big wave surf community, and is an all around incredible waterman. Despite losing nearly everything in the fire Hans spent most of his days immediately after helping others with search and rescue, volunteering at the various distribution sites, distributing goods amongst the community, and donating his time where ever it was needed. He was also quick to refuse the gun I was offering and took quite a bit of convincing before he agreed to accept one.
If you know Kristy you should have a good idea of how much talent can be packed in such a small package. Photography, surfing, and diving are among just a few of the things that Kristy seems to do better than most. Her stoke is infectious and her commitment to her friends and family is unrivaled. She lost her childhood home in Puamana as well as her current home where she lived near Baby Beach.
Kea lived in the Shark Pit neighborhood just off of front street. As a Maui County Firefighter Kea was among a tragic number of emergency responders who where fighting to save lives and homes while their own homes were burning to the ground. In addition to losing his home Kea also lost his beloved sailboat the GungHo, a beautiful 36' Lidgard Yachts race boat, that was mored in Lahaina Harbor. Kea crossed the pacific to Tahiti and back with his family on the GungHo.
My name is Luke Adolfson. I lived at 540 Lahainaluna Road, Lahaina since 2011. My place I rented was an old garage that I built into a studio. I ended up renovating the bathroom as well while I was there. I had banana trees that I planted in the backyard that made a perimeter around a bbq and fire pit area. I was the head coach of the Lahainaluna High School Surf Team for 10 years. It was a privilege to be so close to the school and to be able to check in on kids during lunch recess and have team meetings and pizza parties. I taught surf lessons for work and stored all of my 38 surf boards at my house on 540 Lahainaluna Road. I also worked construction as a finish carpenter and framer. Other interests included bow hunting, fishing, and my favorite when the waves were flat- spearfishing. Being a surfer I’ve always been so infatuated with spearfishing. I had some major challenges because I have had tubes in my ears and my ears had a rough time equalizing. But passion persisted and my personal best depth is 110 feet deep clocked on my dive watch. Over the years spearfishing has given me such an appreciation of our ocean and has provided me and those close to me with plenty of fish. I was able to save and put a down payment on a condo in 2021. The condo was way too small to store my surf school boards and the rent for the Lahainaluna Road place was cheaper than a tiny storage unit so it made sense to keep it. I ended up spending way more time in the Lahainaluna place and almost regretted the condo until now. Unfortunately, I kept everything in Lahaina. Every single one of my boards burned, my tools, hunting equipment, and all my spearfishing gear. I’m so thankful I still have a roof over my head. Material possessions will come back but my heart hurts for my friends who lost family.
Aloha, ʻo au ʻo Isaiah Kaneakua. Ua noho ma Pūehuehukai i Lāhaina. I'm Isaiah Kaneakua I lived by what most people know as Sharkpit aka Pūehuehukai in Lahaina. I'm born and raised here on Maui. My wahine and I lived on 249 Front St. for over 7 years. It’s my wahine’s birthplace and first home. Her family has been on that ʻāina for over six generations. Living on the ocean we'd go fishing, diving, surfing, everything holoholo when it comes to the ocean. That being my backyard I got to know every nook and cranny of that reef from 505 to Puamana. I got to know the time of the winds. Which way they would come from. I knew what fish liked what tide. I knew that ili like the back of my hand. In Hawaiian we call that kamaʻāina. If you didn't know all these things you were considered a malihini. Even if you're a local you can still be a malihini. Even with all that knowledge nothing could've prepared me for what happened that day. We call the wind that came down Kauaula, it is a strong destructive wind. When it comes all you can do is get out of the way. With the addition of a massive fire there's nothing we could've done. Our house was lost on August 8th. Along with everything we had in it. We are making things work. But thanks to people like Jake and all the other amazing donations it's becoming a little easier. Mahalo piha.
I lived in sharkpit with my brother and our friend Garret. My family's house was right down Waine’e street by the prison, and my grandma’s house was right across from the Hongwanji. Our family came to lahaina in 2003 after living in the bay area for six years, and before that we lived on the east side of Kaua’i in Anahola, where I was born. My grandparents were from Kaua’i and O’ahu. Some deep ties to Lahaina would be though our kupuna Nahupu Malo, brother to David Malo, back in the 1800s. Before the fire I worked on the beach at Kā’anapali teaching surfing, and as a valet at the Plantation House restaurant.
My name is Gordon McCloud. I lived in the shark pit neighborhood of Lahaina along with my wife and 3 kids. I spend most of my life traveling as an artist.
My name is Dano, I’m a graphic designer, apprentice carpenter that sometimes takes out the camera. I’ve been grateful to call the Mala neighborhood home for the past 8 years. Our home was an old lahaina rambler filled with memories, accompanied by a couple prize mango trees and a prolific banana patch which now stands as the surviving element of our homestead. Been lucky to live in such a tight knit zone, been lucky to have such ono landlords, neighbors and friends to share fish with. Been extremely blessed to have supportive dive buddies and mentors that are true watermen. And honored to be considered in this giveaway.
Of many things, I miss most the many familiar faces that made our every day. I love Lahaina Town and it’s mixed bag. With respect for all its families, those that lost generational homes, I have hope to be rebuilding them for years to come…Hope to have a family here, and one day return to kicking off for shore dives and sharing with them our local reefs.
Aloha my my name is Stewart McRoberts. I'm born and raised on the island of Maui in the town of Lahaina. My family genealogy in Lahaina goes back to the days of the monarchy. I Went to Kamehaheha III Elementary School, Lahaina Intermediate, and graduated from Lahainaluna in 2005. After graduating I jumped right into the restaurant industry for a couple years before leaving for an opportunity to work at the hotels. I worked in the hotel industry for 16 years. Covid struck and realized I was no longer happy so decided to jump head first into construction and still learning everyday. My family home in WAHIKULI was built by my uncle and great grandfather. It's where my family and I lived before it was all taken away from us after the fire. Lahaina meant more than I could possibly explain. The town, in a way, raised myself and many in my circle of friends and family. Most of my childhood memories are imbedded in every inch of the town. We are now raising the next generation on what Lahaina will be known as from here on out and we don't plan on going anywhere.
120cm Pistol Whip
My name is Nick Falbo I was born in Wailuku, and was raised in Lahaina, Maui. I am a father of 2 beautiful girls. I grew up surfing and hunting, fishing, and diving are all ways I feed my family. My family and I, along with my girlfriends family, lost our homes to the Lahaina fire. Our home had 10 of us living in it. Though we lost everything what we still have is our lives and we are very thankful for that. Material things can be replaced and we are very thankful for everyone that is helping us slowly rebuild our lives. It's a long process but my family and I are here for the ride. Thank you for all the love and support .
After covering the production costs of the 11 spearguns ($7150), along with the GoFundMe fees ($303.67) we were left with about $2687.33. We split it up into 5 gift cards from our local dive shop Maui Sporting Goods.
Despite being affected himself by the strain on the economy placed by the fire, Bryan Yoshikawa at MSG has been extremely generous during the past few months. Quietly helping many in our community rebuild their dive and fishing kits along with many other forms of support. Supporting his business was a small way to say thank you and attempt to spread the reach of all the funds raised.
The Recipients of the gift-cards are as follows...
Kai, his wife Megan, and their 2 year old son Aspen lost their home in the Puamana neighborhood on the south end of Front St. Kai was raised in Lahaina and is a Lahainaluna graduate. Luckily his spearguns (which are some of the first generation Ramey Customs guns) were not at his home when it burned down. Unfortunately the same can't be said for a majority of their other beloved possessions.
Kai has spent most of his time post-fire creating a non-profit dedicated to the the support of surviving trees and greenery within the burn zone. His non-profit ReGreen Lahaina hopes to be a resource to the community to utilize when rebuilding, specifically re-planting their homes and common spaces in the town of Lahaina.
Aloha, my name is Eric Casco, born and raised in Lahaina. My Family and I lost everything in the Lahaina fire, including all our diving and fishing gear. Thank you guys for everything!!
Funds Raised as of 11-1-2023: $10,141
Other Donations: $300
GoFundMe fee: $303.67
Average Production Cost for the Pistol-Whip Speargun. (this only represents about 75% of the labor costs for each gun)
Consumables (bands, butt pad, epoxy, finish etc.) - $50
Trigger Mechanism - $50
Handle Frame - Donated $0
Handle Grip - $22
Line anchor - $12
Ulusub Reel and line - Donated $0
Addiction Shaft - $107.50
Labor - $325
Sub Total: $650.28
Total for (11) Pistol-Whip spearguns: $7153.08
I want to extend a huge mahalo to everyone who helped make this happen. I definitely could not have reached as many community members as we have without the help and all of the support.
First and foremost I want to thank all of our donors! As the saying goes "many hands make light work," and this was a great example of that. I am forever grateful to each and every one of you.
Second I want to thank the industry donors who helped out. A big mahalo to Dano at Mako Spearguns in Florida for donating the TinMan handle grips, Jon at Ulusub Spearguns for donating the reels and line for every gun, Ermes Italy for the small discount on the trigger mechs (everything counts!), and Petros at Spear America for his support as well.
Third, to all that shared and pushed this campaign on social media. We definitely could not have gotten the reach we did without your help!
Fourth, Daniel Comite for his time donated in the shop. Thank you for your hard work, your pride in what you do, and your dedication to your community!
Lastly, I want to thank all the recipients. You all are what make Lahaina special and I want to thank you for enduring through these times. Everyone of you bring something special and valuable to the table and we will need every one of you in order to lift Lahaina back up!!