As Archie Kalepa peers out over Kahului Harbor on a benign Wednesday morning, he sees the past and the future.
Kalepa, a lifetime Mauian, was inducted into the Duke Kahanamoku Waterman Hall of Fame in October, but that is hardly the end of the road for water safety and ocean innovation for the 49-year-old 1982 Lahainaluna High School graduate.
"I think Maui, especially, is at the forefront," Kalepa said. "I mean, you look out at the beach today, and there's so many people doing stand-up (paddling), there's so many water activities that Maui has taken the lead on, from tow surfing to kite surfing; back in the day, it was windsurfing.
"Today, it has gone full circle, and there is a big revival of big-wave, paddle-in surfing, and we are taking it to the next level. It's pretty extreme, and it is just really, really awesome in this era of my life to see the caliber of water athletes rise out of Maui."
Kalepa became a county lifeguard in 1984 and has been ocean safety operations supervisor for the last nine years.
He made "well over 200" water rescues as an ocean lifeguard and takes pride in countless more made with the watercraft rescue technique he helped develop.
Maui County got its first personal watercraft for ocean rescue use in 1991.
"I can say, because of the help and development of the rescue ski, I have been involved with well over 2 million rescues worldwide," he said. "It is really nice to see that there is something that we developed here in Hawaii has spread throughout the world."
When asked about his recent honor, Kalepa credits Kahanamoku.
"There are so many people who live in the light of Duke Kahanamoku and everything he stood for - from saving lives to being an ambassador for Hawaii to spreading the aloha throughout the world," Kalepa said. "I have just been fortunate to have that opportunity to travel the world and share what we do every day in Hawaii, which is live aloha."
Kalepa runs a company that sells water rescue equipment he has developed, in addition to his duties with Maui County.
His latest form of fun on the water is "subsquatching," where seven people get on a "giant, inflatable surfboard" and ride big waves. The development of the water wonderland will seemingly never end.
"Just when we thought we have done it all, we have taken it to the next sport," he said.
* Rob Collias can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.