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Men of the Moment

BY The Editors | April 17, 2017 | Feature Features National

From chic watermen and innovative art influencers to world-class chefs, the islands have never seen such dynamic talent. Here, the most fascinating and appealing gents to take note of today.

Both a familiar face in Hawai‘i’s modeling circuit and a traditionally trained navigator, Austin Kino gets on board his traditional canoe for the Holokino Hawaii Sailing Tour at The Kahala Hotel & Resort.

THE WAYFINDER
After sailing through the style pages, traditionally trained navigator Austin Kino heads into exciting new territory.

Austin Kino has become one of the most visible faces in island fashion. But look past the editorials, and you’ll discover that his true passion lies out at sea. In fact, by studying under Nainoa Thompson and the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the Wailupe Valley native has learned the art of traditional Polynesian navigation, which relies upon the observation of the sun, stars and other natural phenomena. After serving on the Hōkūle‘a voyaging canoe’s journey around the world, Mālama Honua, Kino now brings this cultural practice to The Kahala Hotel & Resort. For his new Holokino Hawaii Sailing Tour, Kino and his crew take guests out on a sailing canoe into Maunalua Bay off East O‘ahu, where they can discover the traditional ahupua‘a (land divisions) through their own eyes. And while Hawaiian wayfinding dates back centuries, Kino finds real-world relevance. “The practice of traditional navigation allows me to live in the moment, as it requires an individual to constantly pay attention to his surroundings and make clear choices by interpreting the signs that are available,” says Kino.

PHOTO BY ADAM JUNG; STYLING BY CRYSTAL PANCIPANCI; GROOMING BY JAKE ACEDO; ON KINO: WHITE T-SHIRT, $295, V-NECK SWEATER, $795, AND NYLON SPORT JACKET, $2,295, ALL BY BRUNELLO CUCINELLI AT NEIMAN MARCUS, ALA MOANA CENTER; SHORTS, $98, BY ROBERT GRAHAM AT NEIMAN MARCUS, ALA MOANA CENTER; SHOT ON LOCATION AT THE KAHALA HOTEL & RESORT

Mixologist Justin Park frequently serves up his libations at private events at Leather Soul, the high-end men’s shoe boutique in Downtown Honolulu owned by his business partner, Tom Park (no relation).

THE MIX MASTER
Justin Park is elevating Honolulu’s discerning drinking scene.

Mixologist Justin Park is in a class of his own. He has single-handedly elevated the drinking scene in Honolulu by creating a salon-type venue, Bar Leather Apron, where having a cocktail or a whiskey is not just sophisticated—it’s superbly suave. The six-seat, reservations-only bar is tucked away into a richly decorated nook of the Topa Financial Center. Here, the privileged few commiserate about their tastes with Park. As if part of an intricately choreographed dance, the barman uses tools and exquisite glasses to blend prized spirits with handmade syrups and rare ingredients. As this burgeoning talent is always seeking the next and best in cocktails, it’s no surprise, then, that he will represent Hawai‘i in the upcoming 2017 World Class mixology competition.

PHOTO BY ADAM JUNG

World champion stand-up paddleboarder Kai Lenny takes a breather at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore after winning the 2017 Sunset Beach Pro.

THE WATERMAN
A master of seven aquatic sports, even Kai Lenny himself can hardly keep track of his rise to fame.

At 24, Maui’s own Kai Lenny is already a world-class waterman whose achievements are vast and virtuoso. The seven-time stand-up paddleboarding world champion is a Renaissance man on the water. Kitesurfing, windsurfing, big-wave-surfing stand-up paddleboarding, hydrofoil surfing (basically every classified watersport)—he does it all. “You can always do something better, always go to the next level,” says Lenny of a mindset he applies to everything. Lately, this includes setting a new record at the 2016 Molokai 2 Oahu, helping innovate the sport of hydrofoiling (“It’s probably the biggest evolution in surfing in a long time,” says Lenny of creating “something completely new out of something that kind of already existed”) or completing a new movie he’s producing, which will be out later this year. “It’s about what’s possible, what hasn’t been done before.” It’s also about home. “I’ve traveled every corner of the globe, but there’s not one place I’d rather call home than Maui,” Lenny says. “I have such deep support. They say it takes a village to raise a kid. Here, I’ve got an entire island!”—one to which he gives back through his Positively Kai foundation. “This is what I love to do,” he says. “I don’t ever see it ending.”

PHOTO BY ADAM JUNG; GROOMING BY JAKE ACEDO; ON LENNY: TWESTA SHIRT, $165, AND CLYDESY PANT, $185, BOTH AT TED BAKER LONDON, ALA MOANA CENTER; AQUARACER WATCH, $2,650, BY TAG HEUER, AT BEN BRIDGE TIMEWORKS, ALA MOANA CENTER

In Upcountry Maui, chef Mike Lofaro takes a break from his culinary journey that led him to the Grand Wailea and television.

THE DASHING GOURMET
Mike Lofaro is taking Maui cuisine out of the kitchen and onto the air.

On the Emmy Award-winning television series SEARCH Hawaii, Where Food Meets Culture, chef Mike Lofaro’s taste for adventure leads him to forage for local ingredients found in nature that he then uses to create a meal based on the Hawaiian moon calendar. As chef de cuisine for Humuhumunukunukuapua‘a restaurant at Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, Lofaro is equally exploratory with his menu, emphasizing locally grown and sustainably produced ingredients culled from both land and sea. Known as the “Waterman Chef” for his oceanic exploits—he surfs, paddles an outrigger canoe, stand-up paddles and spearfishes, all before work—Lofaro channels his passion for the water straight onto the plate. It’s nothing new for the native Rhode Islander and Culinary Institute of America grad whose long list of accolades include Chef of the Year honors and a Mobil Four-Star Award. Now, Lofaro says, “I want to be involved in passion projects. Raise awareness of ancestral knowledge through food and education.” That’s one recipe we can’t wait to try.

PHOTO BY TONY NOVAK-CLIFFORD; ON LOFARO: SUIT, SIMILAR STYLES AVAILABLE AT BANANA REPUBLIC, THE SHOPS AT WAILEA

A fan of Tom Ford suits, the always dapper Kelly Sueda at his gallery and studio on Makahiki Way in Mo‘ili‘ili.

THE TASTEMAKER
When it comes to art, Kelly Sueda proves himself to be the best in show.

Kelly Sueda was once up until 3am waxing a pumpkin. Specifically, the famed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama’s sculpture “Pumpkin” at Ala Moana Center, part of General Growth Property’s public art collection. Sueda, Honolulu’s best-known fine-arts curator and consultant, doesn’t rest much. “I enjoy the work,” he says, “meeting with clients; researching the pieces that will work for a space; even when I’m stressed, curating multimillion-dollar pieces of art.” The “Pumpkin,” installed in 2016, now just needs a little TLC every six months, but Sueda recently wrapped a two-year gig for the Park Lane Ala Moana luxury condominiums. For that, he cherry-picked 475 pieces. “I have 80 artists, 43 corridors and treated every corridor as a separate installation,” he says. The works are Sueda’s signature mix of blue-chip, history-making artists—Jaume Plensa, Deborah Butterfield and Ellsworth Kelly, to name but a few—mixed with the best of Hawai‘i, such as Aaron Padilla. Next up? He’s in demand with private residential clients and will do another round of curation at Kapi‘olani Medical Center. He’s also masterminding the decor for Soirée, Kapi‘olani’s fundraiser, held in September. “The theme,” says Sueda, “is grand prix racing.” Clearly, this is a man in the driver’s seat.

PHOTO BY ADAM JUNG

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