Our Roots

Keawe Adventures was founded in 2008 by Hawaii born and raised, Makani Christensen. Makani felt Hawaii lacked in providing tourists an intimate, personal, and embracing connection to Hawaii's diversely-rich culture. Upon returning to Hawaii from his combat services, Makani decided to provide that local perspective to the tourism industry with the real stories from the people who live it and the knowledge passed-down from their families. A waterman all his life, he began his company with a focus on water sports and fishing activities, eventually providing all types of fun and educational tours to local, mainland, and international clients. 

 

Our  Guides

Our guides the Backbone of Keawe Adventures! Left to Right: Makani Christensen (Owner, USMC), Ekahi Lee (Maui, USCG), Olav Holst (USA), Chris Gardner, Kahana Pukahi, Fernando Aguira (USA), Nanci Both, Pat Avalino (Hawaii Island, USCG), Tony Chance (USN). Note: USMC-United States Marine Corps, USN-United States Navy, USCG - United States Coast Guard, USA-United States Army.

Our guides the Backbone of Keawe Adventures! Left to Right: Makani Christensen (Owner, USMC), Ekahi Lee (Maui, USCG), Olav Holst (USA), Chris Gardner, Kahana Pukahi, Fernando Aguira (USA), Nanci Both, Pat Avalino (Hawaii Island, USCG), Tony Chance (USN). Note: USMC-United States Marine Corps, USN-United States Navy, USCG - United States Coast Guard, USA-United States Army.

 

Makani CHRISTENSEN, CAPTAIN (MARINES)

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Born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, Makani has developed the majority of the tours based on how he grew up on the island of Hawaii.  His way of life consists of snorkeling, fishing, surfing, hiking, hunting, camping and spending time with his young family.

After studying at Kamehameha Secondary School, Makani graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  He then entered the military as a Marine Officer, where he served his country for 5 years with tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  After receiving the Joint Service Commendation medal, Makani was honorably discharged in 2008.

Along with his Bachelor of Science in Oceanography and his strong Hawaiian genealogy, Makani’s love for the land and sea is what inspired him to start his own business.  It is here where Makani finds true joy; sharing with others about Hawaii’s history, culture, and ocean environment.


Chris

Chris Gardner

Chris was born in Florida and moved to Hawaii to take up surfing full time.   He surfed professionally for a few years and transitioned to the North Shore hotel industry, holding various sales-related jobs. Deeply involved in the community, he knows many people throughout the islands and enjoys being the owner of an ocean-sporting event, The North Shore Swim Series.  

Chris started the North Shore Swim Series about 20 years ago, which runs from May through August attracting thousands people from around the world.  His can do attitude and attention to detail continues to inspire athletes and Keawe Adventures clients from around the world.   If you have a chance to book a tour with Chris, you will not be disappointed.


Kiliona, tour guide and teacher

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This guy knows his Hawaiian History!   When Kiliona came to work for Keawe Adventures a few years ago, his transition into the tourism industry was a seamless, perfect fit.  Known as the "Gentle Giant," he is the true meaning of professional aloha.  

A Polynesian Native, he also spent many years living among the Native American tribes of the United States before returning to Hawaii to pursue his university degree in Hawaiian History.   Additionally, Kiliona was trained in olympic swimming, is active in ancient Hawaiian Awa Ceremonies, and is one of the most requested guides at Keawe Adventures.  


Nanci Both

NANCI, TOUR GUIDE

Nanci Comes to Keawe Adventures with 10 years of experience in the tour industry.   Conducting thousands of tours throughout Oahu, with a smile.   Friendliness, honesty, and attention to detail are her strongest traits.    

Nanci Specializes in Pearl Harbor and Island tours. With almost a year at Keawe Adventures, she has single handily gotten more great Trip Advisor reviews than any other employee. She puts maximum effort into each tour she conducts, and the proof is in the reviews.


OLAV HOLST, TOUR GUIDE AND HISTORIAN

Olav Holst, Major United States Army, Retired

Olav Holst, Major United States Army, Retired

Olav Holst is a military historian and retired US Army officer. He served as a Combat Engineer and a Civil Affairs officer. He also taught Military Science at the University of Hawaii. He enjoys studying the WW2 Pacific theater of operations and particularly the Pearl Harbor attack. Olav graduated from the University of Hawaii with a degree in International Business. He also graduated from the Pacific Asian Management Institute and the University of Hawaii Real Estate Appraisal School.

Olav has enjoyed taking people to Pearl Harbor since 1999 and been involved with telling its history. He scripted and narrated a Telly award winning documentary on Pearl Harbor for Chariot Productions. He helped create a two-hour documentary for the History Channel, appeared in and narrated the PBS documentary for the Old Glory Honor Flight to Pearl Harbor. He has spoken for the National Park Service during the 70thAnniversary of the Pearl Harbor Attack Symposium. He also worked with the National Geographic Society for a special Pearl Harbor tour. He conducted press briefings for Disney’s Pearl Harbor movie. He assisted NBC for their broadcast special during the 60th Anniversary and appeared in other television programs such as Chuck Henry’s Travel Café. Olav also worked with Electronic Arts and Entertainment for their Medal of Honor Rising Sun game.


Raul Moreno, First Sergeant (retired)

Raul Moreno, First Sergeant, Retired

Raul Moreno, First Sergeant, Retired

First Sergeant Moreno has served two combat tours to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has also served as a Senior Maintenance Advisor  for the US Army Security Assistance Training Management Organization, Joint Planning Assistance Team out of  Fort Bragg, North Carolina with duty in Panama.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (with 1 oak leaf cluster), the Army Commendation Medal (with 4 oak leaf clusters), the Army Achievement Medal (with 4 oak leaf clusters), 6th award of the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Ribbon (with bronze star), the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal , the Iraq Campaign Medal (with bronze star), the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the NCO Professional Development Ribbon (with numeral 3), the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon ( with numeral 4), the Meritorious Unit Citation, Drivers/Mechanics badge.

First Sergeant Moreno resides in Honolulu, Hawaii with his two sons, Xavier and Andrew. He has experience in fishing, spear fishing, hiking, repelling, and snorkeling.


Kalani Chapman, Professional Surfer and North Shore Local

Kalani Chapman, Professional Surfer

Kalani Chapman, Professional Surfer

Born and raised at Sunset Beach, Kalani Chapman has taken over the surf scene. Known for charging waves at Pipeline, the most dangerous and famous wave in the world, Kalani has numerous surfing achievements, including 4th in Pipeline Masters and Winner of Wave of the Winter, 2010.

Kalani is our go-to guide for our North Shore Insider Tour. As a Hawaiian Native and pro athlete, Kalani is well versed in the history and unique surf culture of Hawaii. He will introduce you to the North Shore with a local touch, visiting the top surf spots along Oahu’s seven-mile miracle, Historic Haleiwa Town, and other famous cultural sites.

Kalani currently runs his own business, specializing in surfing lessons, SUP, marine wildlife tours, and other water activities. He is one of the most down-to-earth and humble guys on the North Shore. Keawe Adventures is proud to have this young surfing legend on our team.


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Israel Martinez, Army mechanic and tour guide

Israel Martinez served in the United States Army, Airborne Division from 1997 – 2004. He was deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months, working as a mechanic specializing in humvees and tanks. Israel worked as an overseas contractor for ITT systems, KBR, and ManTech. He attended MRAP University and Field Service Representative School for Navistar.

After leaving Afghanistan in 2012, Israel worked on Naval ships and submarines. He has been in Hawaii for 3 years and has experience in hiking, body surfing, and horseback riding. Israel is fluent in both English and Spanish.


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Rickey Tay, Tour Guide

Rickey Tay was born and raised in Malaysia. He first moved to Hawaii in 1990. He moved to Oahu from Kauai in the year 2000, and began working as a guide, specifically for Chinese visitors. Rickey has over 8 years of guide experience in Hawaii and has been working with Keawe Adventures for the past 4. Rickey specializes in tours of Pearl Harbor, downtown Honolulu history, and Eastern Oahu. He is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin, and is able to understand nearly all Chinese dialects.


Ekahi Lee, chief (US Coast Guard), Maui

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Born and raised in Hawaii, Ekahi has a strong background in the ocean currents, waves, wind, and natural elements that impact water activity. He is an all around waterman, credited to his lifelong training in surfing, paddling, physical fitness, and fishing. Ekahi, Hawaiian for Number One or First, has competed in surfing with (HASA) Hawaiian Surfing Association; and has competed in outrigger canoe races with (OCRA) Oahu Canoe Racing Association, Hui Wa'a, and competed in Outrigger World Sprints. He has won numerous awards in outrigger canoe racing as well as surfing. He is a Kaiwi Channel Finisher which involves knowledge of crossing currents that run in the channels that separate the islands of Hawaii. As an adult he has served the last 19 years Active Duty in the United States Coast Guard.  Ekahi lives the ultimate waterman lifestyle and is willing to share his talent with the community.

Ekahi is our main guide on Maui, where he resides with his young family.



Former Guides

As our team evolves, we are continuously proud of our employee’s accomplishments and support their future endeavors.


Kahana

Private Tour Guide Oahu

A Native from Hilo, Hawaii, Kahana is our lead guide and the General Manager of Keawe Adventures.   He is a graduate of the Brigham Young University Hawaii Campus and spent a few years living in Asia as a young adult.  He is also wise in holistic healing as a graduate of the World Acupuncture Academy.

Kahana is an expert hiker with years of experience throughout the island chain.  He has completed most of the hikes on Oahu including a 5 day trek across the Koolau Mountains.  Additionally, he is a skilled waterman who conducts most of our surf lessons, stand-up paddle tours, and spear fishing adventures.  Kahana is revered as one our best Pearl Harbor and Island Guides.   


FERNANDO, STAFF SGT RETIRED (ARMY)

Fernando, STSGT United States Army, Retired

Fernando, STSGT United States Army, Retired

He served in the Army and fought in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  During his career he deployed 5 times into harms way.  Fernando held the rank of Staff Sergeant during his career and held many positions during his career.  He was assigned to the the 10th Mountain Division and 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. Unfortunately he was medically retired in 2015, after proudly serving 12 years in the army.  He is currently attending the University of Hawaii for his Bachelors degree in Civil Engineering. Fernando is one of our most seasoned veterans and a subject matter expert in military history.  He is also our dive master and hiking guide. 


TONY, SENIOR CHIEF RETIRED (NAVY)

Tony Chance, Retired Senior Chief, United States Navy

Tony Chance, Retired Senior Chief, United States Navy

Senior Chief Petty Officer Tony Chance is great tour guide, community leader and father.  Tony is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan where he lead sailors in the construction, reconstruction and maintenance of Forward Operating Bases, schools, and community centers. His leadership helped the overall mission of his unit and the overall success of our country.

“some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world.” -Ronal Reagan Tony doesn’t have that problem!

Tony has made a difference in the world and now is making a huge difference in out community. With a shoe string budget, an idea and passion he started a community organization Hui O Ho’ohonua, which focuses on the complete restoration of of Pu’uloa (Pearl Harbor). They recently secured half a million from the City and County of Honolulu to help restore a small peninsula and historic site at Pearl Harbor-Kapapapuhi Point Park.

As a veteran, Tony has also dedicated his time to helping veterans transition into civilian life. He has worked and volunteered with many of the Veteran Organizations to include: The Vet Center, Wounded Warrior Project, The Naval Academy Alumni Association of Hawaii, and more. His desire and passion to help lead him to pursue and obtain a masters degree from the University of Hawaii in Social Work.  

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