Happy Birthday to – THE LEGEND – Uncle Buffalo Keaulana!



Buffalo Keaulana is a living legend. A true “waterman” in every sense of the word. Surfer, body surfer, spear fisherman, navigator, lifeguard and perpetuator of Hawaiian culture. Uncle Buffalo is a living legend. I could list his accolades or you can just read them HERE - since that would probably take me all day! In his 80 years, his accomplishments are staggering – they either overwhelm  you and make you feel extremely inferior (lol!) OR they inspire you and give you something to look up to and model after!




I hope my own son will think of Uncle Buffalo as a role model – learning the lessons of love & respect for the ocean – perseverance & tenacity in all he does – and most of all, living with pure aloha in his heart for all those around him. Jackson is much too young to understand any of these concepts at the moment but deep down I think he knows when he is in the presence of greatness. My nearly two-year-old is a ball of energy, his favorite word is “no” and he’s just figuring out what’s appropriate and what’s not. Mostly trying the “not” out first… yet, at Uncle Buffalo’s 80th birthday celebration he had a moment with the birthday boy that I will remember forever.




Jackson was offered hugs and kisses by many that day and refused them all. I was slightly embarrassed in that way mothers are when they can’t control their children. lol We were hoping for the best as we approached Uncle Buffalo and Auntie Momi (his wife) to greet them with lei.




Jackson was very sweet with Auntie Momi giving her a lei and allowing her to kiss him. I was just happy he didn’t slap anyone in the face – it’s 50-50 with him when you go in for a kiss.




Uncle Buffalo was talking with a friend when we approached. I handed Jackson the lei and he immediately raised his arms to give the lei to uncle – without prompting. He then grabbed his face in his hands and they breathed in each others “ha” for a few seconds before kissing him and giving him a hug. (Breathing in the “ha” is a Hawaiian greeting that welcomes the other person into their space by sharing the breath of life. Hawaiians recognize that their breath is the key to good health and believe it possesses mana or spiritual power.) It was a chicken skin moment that puts tears in my eyes when I think about it and look at the photos… life is made of magic moments like this. We will treasure this memory forever. Happy Birthday Uncle Buffalo!



Life’s Swell…





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4 Responses

  1. Keaulana Kavera says

    OH Malika this is a really beautiful article !! filled with aloha :)Ke

    • Malika says

      They are easy to love!

  2. Emily Dudley says

    Wow what amazing moments life has to offer… :)

    • Malika says