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.
“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.”
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Blaze Lovell is a reporter for Civil Beat and a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He was born and raised on Oahu. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @blaze_lovell