The Rainbow Watersports Van: A North Shore Icon

This post is dedicated to The Rainbow Watersports’ Van — the center hub for stand up paddling fun.  Why a post on The Rainbow Watersports’ Van?  Because it has quickly become a beloved structure of the North Shore.  Paddlers and non-paddlers alike love to pose near “the rainbow van”.   It brings a smile to everyone’s face.  (Sure, some may be laughing at the cancerous rust that is quickly eating away at it, but the smiles are still there!)  We like to think it brings an element of North Shore beachy fun to the community.

Let me tell you a bit about The Rainbow Van:

Our faithful 1979 Dodge has been with us since the beginning of the school.  It began its motor-life more than 30 years ago as a service vehicle for Hawaiian Electric Company, then transitioned to a transporter of clay.  It has now settled into a semi-retirement as The Rainbow Van, and is finally living the life!  Every day it relaxes at the beach, taking in the rays (and salt air) and enjoying the views.  Sure, that salt air is quickly corroding its body, but somehow or other, THE VAN still chugs its way to and from the beach each day.

SUPSURF is proudly displayed on its license plate, and a playful stand up paddle scene enwraps the van, echoing Rainbow Watersports’ emphasis on FUN.  Because really, stand up paddling is all about having a fun time, right?  Local artist Jaime Swim painted the van, and since then she has been becoming well known in the North Shore community.  You’ll find her artwork at the Waialua Bakery as well as local art galleries.  Just like any big fan, the van would like to take credit for her growing fame.

Here’s Jamie back in the day, covering up THE VAN’s monster-green outside with a splash of color:

There have been many, many days when we thought that surely The Rainbow Van won’t last another week, but it continues to chug away.  There have been even more days when we thought for sure the walls, which somehow remain though unattached to the top of the van, or, in some spots, the bottom, would burst outward, like a cartoon car!  But somehow the doors continue to open and close, and the holes in the floor and roof continue to “self-clean” The Rainbow Van during a rainstorm.   It must love its life!

And others love it too.  When I have mentioned to paddlers that we will soon be retiring The Rainbow Van for good, their reaction is, “No!  Keep it!  It is so fun!”  And so we’re keeping it…for now.  Truth is, there is a replacement van for it that’s being doctored to hold the same character and display for Rainbow Watersports’ love for stand up paddling, but don’t tell The Rainbow Van that — it might fall apart before we’re ready!!

The Rainbow Van’s popularity amongst paddlers and non-paddlers alike have caused it to have its own Facebook page — (don’t worry I won’t let it get to its head.)  Check it out and become a fan!!