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Scene Stealers

Meet the emerging vanguard of cool culturati who are giving Hawai‘i a bold new edge.

To capture top surfers truly in the zone, O‘ahu-born photographer Zak Noyle jumps into the waves. The results speak for themselves.

Samadhi Hawaii is one of the islands’ most active dance ensembles. Here, company founder Andrea Torres works her magic.

The Perfect Wave
Zak Noyle ( always packs his pag with photography gear and fins: He constantly has to be ready to fly or drive to the next big swell. After all, his studio is the ocean itself. The 27-year-old surf photographer is on the perpetual lookout for an amazing surf story to tell with his lens, whether it’s getting into a 20-foot wave on the North Shore or going out to sea in Tahiti. Wherever they’re taken, Noyle’s images are powerful, capturing surfing’s grace and the ocean’s power. Leading the world into the wave is his inspiration. “To be able to convey through my photos and tell that story—that is what drives me,” he says. “It brings the viewer into a situation they would never be in.” Given his work’s caliber, it’s no surprise that the top talent has caught attention for his work. Not only has he earned the position of Surfer’s only staff photographer in Hawai‘i, he has shot for a host of hot brands, from Stussy to Chanel.

Air Show
One sight of Andrea Torres up in the air, and it’s clear this Brazilian-born talent has achieved a higher state of consciousness. And to float perilously above the ground as Torres and members of her dance company, Samadhi Hawaii (, so often do, one surely needs the calm and focus of the most adept yogi. Torres’ career originally started far closer to the ground. However, when the chance came to perform in ‘Ulalena on Maui, she leapt at it—and has been in the air ever since. After the Maui blockbuster, this flying yogini took the big leap in 2004 and formed her company with fellow performers Marcus Quiniones and Ana Prada. Since that humble beginning, Samadhi has become one of Hawai‘i’s most active dance companies, offering performances and a variety of classes. When it comes to the ensemble’s sweet success, Torres’ answer is simple: “We have good karma.”

A Maui Must
Though Maui doesn’t have a full-fledged museum, it does have Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s Schaefer International Gallery (mauiarts.‌org). Under the sharp-eyed direction of curator Neida Bangerter, this arts space—the perfect balance between cosmopolitan savvy and island style—has unveiled some of the Valley Isle’s most acclaimed shows, attracting both visitors and locals alike. On the heels of Wayne Levin’s poignant photographic showcase of Moloka‘i’s Kalaupapa Peninsula comes the magnificent Soaring Voices. Running through January 2013, this exhibition, co-curated by Maya Nishi, presents contemporary ceramics from 25 Japanese female artists spanning four generations. “The magnificence is overwhelming,” says Bangerter. Having conquered a male-dominated realm, these pioneers drew inspiration from natural elements, traditional dance and exquisite kimono textiles. “Some of the larger, more complex pieces defy gravity,” explains the gallerist. “Maui has never seen anything like it.” Pieces range from everyday objects, such as Junko Kitamura’s stoneware vessels, to the purely fantastic, like Kyoko Tokumaru’s porcelain masterpiece, Germination.

Click here to read the full article in the digital edition of Hawai‘i!

Story by Kai Andersen, Eliza Escaño, Lesa Griffith, Sarah Honda, Miriam Landru, Blaine Tolentino, Catherine E. Toth and Shannon Wianecki