Benji Weatherley, a former pro surfer, was recounting stories from some of his friends — famed surfer Kelly Slater and musician Jack Johnson just to name a few — while sitting at the bar in his Haleiwa restaurant, Breakers.

Weatherley, 43, was wearing a tie-die shirt and sipping a beer at 11 a.m. Growing up on the North Shore, he’s become acquainted with several famous names like Johnson’s and Slater’s, and when he was 14, he also got to know Hurricane Iniki. On the eve of another big storm, he may also get acquainted with Lane.

But Weatherley and his staff weren’t too concerned with the Category 4 hurricane inching closer. His bartender wants to offer drink specials on hurricanes (the sweet cocktail, not the storm), and they’ve even set up a sign behind the bar that reads “Aint No Party Like A Hurricane Party.”

A sign at Breakers Bar & Restaurant that captures the feeling in laid-back Haleiwa.

Blaze Lovell/CivilBeat

“We want to ride it out,” Weatherley said. Breakers would need to close if the electricity goes out, but it does have generators to keep its food fresh. But if the power doesn’t go out, the watering hole that’s been open since 2002 will stay open.

Some staff suggested making a big barbecue if people need food. In past storms, Breakers had to revert to serving only beer.

When the false missile alert was sent out in January, Breakers staff tried to corral wandering tourists into their restaurant. They were even ready to turn their giant refrigerator into an impromptu bomb shelter.

Weatherley said he’s stocked up on everything for himself and, except for a giant monkeypod tree outside, isn’t concerned about physical damage to his restaurant.

“I just got that mascot,” Weatherley said, looking at a wooden turtle cutout on the porch. “Long as I pull him in, I’ll be fine.”

Thoughts on this or any other story? Write a Letter to the Editor. Send to news@civilbeat.org and put Letter in the subject line. 200 words max. You need to use your name and city and include a contact phone for verification purposes. And you can still comment on stories on our Facebook page.

Before you go

Civil Beat readership has more than doubled in the past nine months. That’s incredible growth for which we’re so grateful.

But for a small nonprofit newsroom that provides free content with no paywall, readership growth alone can’t sustain our journalism. The truth is that less than 1% of our monthly readers are financial supporters.

To remain a viable business model for local news, we need a higher percentage of readers-turned-donors.

Will you consider becoming a new donor today?

About the Author