Darin Moriki – The Garden Island
OMAO — Monday may have been Kuulei Furtado’s first day on the job, but she was already soaring through the air within the first few hours.
The Kekaha resident, who was hired by zip line tour company Skyline Eco Adventures on Friday, said she did not know what to expect when she walked into the company’s new office at the Shops at Kukuiula in Poipu.
“I was told to wear tennis shoes this morning to work because we were going zip lining,” Furtado said after completing her first zip line run on the tour company’s vast zip line course in Omao. “I’ve never done it before, so I was really scared going into it, especially after seeing all of the (ziplining) videos, but once I actually did it, it was a lot of fun.”
The Pukalani, Maui-based zip line company, which officially opened its doors to the public and kicked off its first tours today, is expanding its footprint in the state by hosting zip line tours atop the mountains above Omao.
Each of the eight lines, which range in length from about 800 to 1,000 feet, sit on about 35 acres of land owned by the Eric A. Knudsen Trust and offers a clear, uninhibited view of the South Shore.
The zip line company, which has invested over $1 million on its Kauai tour and has three others on Maui and the Big Island, currently operates on a 15-year lease on land, which is being sub-leased through the Omo-based tree farm Hawaiian Mahogany, Inc.
Danny Boren, who co-founded Skyline Eco Adventures in 2002, said he and his father, Buck Boren, decided bring their zip line tour company to Kauai to share the beauty of the island with both kamaaina (local residents) and visitors from a different point of view.
“I think every zip line tour is unique, because the whole experience of going out on a zip line is experiencing the land you’re on in a new way,” Danny Boren said. “Some of the zip lines talk about having the longest line or something but we don’t focus on that with our tours although we have lines just as long as everyone else. We try to focus on just the whole experience.”
Part of that experience, Danny Boren said, is incorporating the company’s “Menehune Legends” theme into the zip line tour.
“Kauai just has amazing legends,” Danny Boren said. “Each one of our lines is going to be named after a different legend, so we’ll be able to talk to guests about that so they can appreciate the significant of different landmarks around Kauai from the Hawaiian perspective.”
But, in addition to giving people a taste of the local culture, Danny Boren said there are other ways that the company and its 15 new employees will give back to the community.
In all, Danny Boren said he and his father pledged to give back at least 1 percent of sales to local community organizations that focus on preserving the environment.
The company, he said, is also working to provide free tours to youth groups and has a policy in place that pays staff members for their volunteer work in the community.
“We’re trying to grow the business but we also want to keep it here in Hawaii,” the Maui-born native said. “We want to make sure we invest in the local community.”