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The L.A. Boat Show opened on a high note considering the challenging economic times. On the whole, exhibitors reported more interest that far exceeded expectations.

“We’re happy and making sales at the show,” commented Scott Driesbach, Advantage Boats COO with factory headquarters in Lake Havasu City, AZ. “It’s been a long six months, but after this Saturday and Sunday, we’re feeling much better about what 2009 holds in store. We closed several deals the first day and the introduction of our new 34 XFlight model created a lot of consumer buzz and plenty of quality leads that we’ll be following up in the weeks and months ahead.”

“This was pretty much the sentiment expressed by the majority of exhibitors at the show,” said SCMA Executive Director, Dave Geoffroy. “What was very encouraging…  More info

The slowing economy is having an effect even among the wealthiest residents of Hawaii, and the private clubs that cater to them.

Membership is down at some of Oahu’s major private clubs, while others are seeing their rosters remain stagnant in the economic recession.

While some have cut fees and delayed major improvement projects, others are putting faith in longtime strategies to ride out the recession.

Real estate and business consultant Stephany Sofos dropped a membership at the Honolulu Club, one of two private club memberships she has held for 28 years. “As I saw the recession coming, I wasn’t using it and it was a luxury I didn’t need to have; I wanted to cut my expenses,” she said. “I walk every day in a park now, which is free.” …  More info

Kia ora! Greetings from Aotearoa, the land of the long white cloud, a/k/a New Zealand. Much as Polynesian voyagers traveled several thousand miles north to Hawaii from the Marquesas and Tahiti, they also navigated south across the vast Pacific to the three major islands of New Zealand: Te Ika a Māui (“the fish of Maui,” or the North Island), Te Waka a Māui (“the canoe of Maui,” or the South Island) and tiny Te Punga a Māui (“the anchor of Maui,” or Stewart Island).

The Māori (as it’s spelled now) of New Zealand also call the South Island Te Wai Pounamu, “water of the greenstone,” for its prized jade, and you’ll sometimes see “Te Ika O Maui” and “Te Waka O Maui” and other variants … but that’s not what really matters to those with an interest in Hawaiiana. It’s the fact that this is the same Maui who figures in so many Hawaiian legends and lent his name to the Valley Isle…  More info


In April when snow begins to melt, Kern River Outfitters’ general manager Keith “Luther” Stephens will be on the Kern River surrounded by two dozen guide-hopefuls. The young men and women will be participating in the 2009 Kern River Outfitters Whitewater School – an annual six-day course designed to teach the basics of being a whitewater rafting guide and a sort of “on-the-water interview,” as Stephens put it.

“Each summer we hire about five or six new guides for our Kern River rafting trips,” said Stephens. Kern River Outfitters is anticipating more applicants for their guide school, which is slated from April 18 through April 23, and to hire more guide school participants than ever before.

“Most of the participants we have had are college students who want to work in a fun, exciting, and outdoorsy environment…  More info