Exploration Celebrates Hawaiian's Seaplane Roots and Hawaii's Surfing Legacy
HONOLULU – Jan. 19, 2006 - Equipped with a state-of-the-art seaplane and quest for new adventure, Hawaiian Airlines and Billabong today launched a surfing safari to seek out and find the big waves and perfect rides of the Pacific.
Over the next two years, the Billabong Hawaiian Clipper will visit legendary surf spots, appear at all major surfing competitions, and transport surfers, photographers and journalists to hard-to-reach islands and reefs in the South Pacific to experience new surf breaks.
For Hawaiian, the exploration celebrates Hawaii's surfing legacy while recalling the golden age of “flying boat” aviation that Hawaiian pioneered for Hawaii in 1929.
Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian's president and CEO, commented, “This partnership with Billabong is a natural for Hawaiian Airlines, having introduced aviation to the Pacific with amphibian aircraft 76 years ago. And what's more Hawaiian than surfing? We're excited to be promoting Hawaii and this universal message to new people and places throughout the Pacific.”
The Billabong Hawaiian Clipper will spend the next several weeks flying around Oahu and the Neighbor Islands before heading to Tahiti with several stops along the way.
For Billabong, the island-hopping surfing safari will create images and memories that capture the spirit of surfing at its essence. “We applaud Hawaiian's sponsorship of the Billabong Clipper and its commitment to support surfing in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific,” said Graham Stapelberg, vice president of marketing for Billabong USA. “I'm sure every surfer out there will want to join us as we discover these awesome surfing spots in some amazing locations. It'll be surfing the way it was meant to be.”
Those lucky enough to go along will have the perfect aircraft for the experience.
The Billabong Hawaiian Clipper is a propeller-driven, World War II-era Grumman Albatross seaplane that has been refitted as the “ultimate surfing exploration craft.” Outfitted with a retro 1940s Hawaiian Airlines logo, the aircraft is 62-feet long, has a wingspan of 96 feet, can fly more than 3,000 miles before refueling, and has a maximum speed of 250 miles per hour.
The Clipper can land on runways or the ocean, making it ideal to explore waves found in remote island settings, especially those accessible only by sea.
Hawaiian is an avid supporter of surfing and has sponsored numerous surfing meets and events through the years. In December, Hawaiian served as presenting sponsor for the Billabong Pro Maui, the year's final Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) women's event, held at Honolua Bay. Last August, Hawaiian sponsored the Duke's Legends Surf Classic at Waikiki Beach to help raise funds for scholarships and grants presented by the Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation.
Hawaiian began interisland service for Hawaii on November 11, 1929, using two Sikorsky S-38 amphibian propeller planes. Hawaii's first commercial aircraft had a carrying capacity of eight passengers and two crewmembers, and a top cruising speed of 110 miles per hour.
The inaugural flight from Honolulu to Hilo with a stopover on Maui took more than three hours. The following day, Hawaii's first airline made its initial flight to Kauai and within a week seaplane flights were underway to all islands.
About Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines, the nation's number one on-time carrier, is recognized as one of the best airlines in America. Consumer travel surveys conducted by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and Zagat all rank Hawaiian as the top domestic airline serving Hawaii.
Now in its 77th year of continuous service in Hawaii, Hawaiian is the state's biggest and longest-serving airline, and the second largest provider of passenger air service between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more U.S. gateway cities than any other airline (nine), as well as service to Australia, American Samoa and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides approximately 100 daily jet flights among the Hawaiian Islands.
Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. (AMEX and PCX: HA). Additional information is available online at HawaiianAirlines.com.