My partner and I were recently in Hawaii on vacation, staying at the Aulani Resort. While there, we inquired about kayak tours and were referred to Kailua Sailboards & Kayaks for a partial day tour. We drove to Kailua (which is a lovely little town with a wonderful beach and bay), and were met in the parking lot by Matt, who turned out to be our guide. Matt took us on a tour of the shop and amenities, then outfitted us in vests, provided us with loaner dry and mesh bags, gave us each a complimentary red water bottle, show us where we could safely store our stuff at the store and where we could change, and then gave us an overview of our excusion. Matt then set us up with kayaks, gave instructions to the one person on the tour who had never kayaked before (and there were only 3 of us on the tour), and told us how to transport ourselves and our kayaks down to the beach where we would meet up with him. He was friendly and professional, and answered all of our many questions. We next took a short walk hauling the kayaks (which were set up on very sturdy wheels and were extremely easy to pull and maneuver on both the asphalt and sand) down to a canal near the shop, where we left the wheels and paddled briefly in the canal to a sand berm separating the canal from the bay. At the bay, we were met with another employee of the shop, who helped us launch our kayaks (not difficult, and the surf is fairly small) and we headed out to meet Matt, who was waiting just past the surf line. The combination of both of these guys made it a very easy experience to launch the kayaks, even for the total newbie on our trip.
We then spent about 1.5 glorious hours paddling around the bay, seeing different sights, dipping close to the shore on the other side of the bay where sea turtles sometimes swim (and we saw a young sea turtle swiming around and under us), learning some paddling tricks, and generally having a lot of fun. Matt, though not a native Hawiian, was a fount of information about Kailua and the island, and even provided us with some useful tips for how to spend the rest of our day on that side of the island. Next, we headed toward Flat Island and, with Matt guiding us in from the beach, we landed there. This island is actually a small fossilized coral island (though we had guessed lava), with lots of nooks and cranies for marine life and interesting plants, great views out to sea and of Kailua, and a very peaceful place to take a walk. We walked around the entire (small) island, and then got back in our kayaks, launched into the bay again, and eventually returned to shore.
Matt headed into shore first, so he could help us "land" in the surf (and avoid spilling into the ocean), and we came in one by one with no problems. After a return trip with the kayaks back to the store, we were provided with a place to shower (outdoors) and change, and tickets to lunch at one of three nearby restaurants. Matt spend a little more time with us, showing us on our map where some nearby interesting sights were located and telling us how to drive around the North Shore and return to our hotel. Lunch was decent (not fantastic, but totally acceptable), and we went on our way a little while later. We were free to use the shops other equipment (boogie boards, sorkeling equipment, etc.) the rest of the day, but we declined as there were other signts we wanted to see. We did purchase a few items in the shop, which is very well stocked and the prices were reasonable (and the staff was extremely helpful and kind).
We truly enjoyed our excursion, not only because of the beautiful location and the nice kayaks and other related equipment, but primarily because Matt was such a personable and good tour guide. We would hightly recommend this tour (and this shop) to anyone, experienced or not, who is looking for some fun while in Kailua.