Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Papa on da Rock and the new Original Ships Cap.

  The Papa sat framed against a tropical postcard background of the white sand and sparkling shallows of Waikiki. He was on R'n'R from the Atoll and wore a pair of cut off marine dungarees, frayed and oversized, a khaki light poplin naval aviators jacket, sandals, a mesh type ships cap and a flower behind his ear. He was truly the Dean of beach boys.
  Florsheim, one of the local kanakas and so named because he occasionally wore shoes, looked at the Papa with admiration. 52 years old and still giving the Wahine's what he called Papa Nui's surfboard cure for misery. It just couldn't get any better than that. 
  He also noticed the Papa's manner, a mixture of relaxation and insolence, sitting back his arms folded behind his head with his cap tilted at a jaunty angle. Florsheim studied the cap. Like mos' stuff the Papa owned it was da kine, he thought. Bruddah what a cap! he whistled out loud. The Papa looked up. Florsheim said, "Hey Papa, where you find such da kine cap? Mo' bettah dan anythin' I seen"
  "Florsheim ol' buddy", the Papa replied, "This here is my Original Ships Cap, its the new cap of choice for the Battalion." He reached deep into his musette bag and pulled out a HBT frog spotted beauty, a cap of class, embroidered with the Papa's mantle in a golden yellow thread the colour of the Hawaiian sunlight. He tossed it towards Florsheim who caught it, his mouth was agape, lost for words. Florsheim recovered, looked at the cap and with his big hands curved the brim to his liking before perching it atop of his dark locks. "Aloha Papa, shaka brah, Aloha and Mahalo", said Florsheim gratefully. 

   And so to all Battalion men out there, those that are veterans and those that are new the Papa once again introduces a new product. The new cap of the season, The Papa Nui Original Ships Cap. Painstakingly developed to be the best mesh cap on the market, the Papa joins forces with his great friends at the John Lofgren Clothing Factory Japan to bring to you a solid and weighty 9 oz HBT twill adjustable cap with reinforced twill tape trim and double fold sweatband. Adorning this masterpiece and taking pride of place of the foreheads of a thousand men is the Papa's mantle emblazoning the crown, a patch that declares to all the pride of the Beach Battalion! So come winter or summer, sleet or sun always remember the Papa has you covered. The Original Ships cap comes with two patch options, the Frogspot matching or the Olive drab HBT contrast, so choose the colour of your patch. All caps are fully adjustable to fit and are available through the Papa for $75 USD including free international airmail* no tracking. Check them out via, papanuisays Instagram or papanui clothing on Facebook. Email for any queries and send all PAYPAL payments to

Papa Nui products are renown for quality assuredness a detail that the Papa insists on, each cap is manufactured in the finest Japanese factories using the best skilled labor available and all under the watchful eye of John Lofgren, who ensures an integrity befitting the Papa's reputation. All Papa Nui products are of a limited quantity so first in best dressed. All wholesale enquiries are welcome with generous concessions in order to spread the Papa's message. Be the first retailer in your region to take up the fight and back the attack as the Papa launches his assault on mediocrity.

Aloha from the PAPA!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Papa Collaborates.

There's a lot of discussion these days about country of origin, of the source of products and who makes them. I believe there's a fallacy emerging that suggests that unless a product is made in the USA or Japan then it is in some respects inferior. Now all arguments of nationalism aside I know for a fact that many of these perceptions are just not true.
Many many years ago before many of the current crop of Vintage aficionados had come to an age of consciousness, there were two young Thai guys that lived in Sydney. I used to see them every weekend at every flea market. They would travel from one market to the next with keen eyes fixed on buying vintage. They were so far ahead of the game it was ridiculous to watch. I would hold a stall stocked with Americana goodies from my personal collection that one clueless Rockabilly after another would walked aimlessly past, and yet these two Thai guys would zoom in turning denim legs inside out looking for selvedge and single stitches and buying up big to send back home. These goods no doubt were destined to be sold in the Bangkok vintage markets in Chatuchak.
Jumping ahead 30 years the appreciation for vintage in South East Asia is still as strong as ever and whilst the markets are still a draw card for the acquisition of original pieces there has also been a proliferation of original makers who have been inspired by their forbears and by the sharing of new technology and the web connecting the world.
The Papa, forever on his endless quest for great product stumbled onto two great resources lately, both markers and craftsman of a very high degree and both steeped in the necessary background to produce goods of a very high standard.

With pleasure the Papa introduces Saneer Lohvitee of Solomonmini and Ed of The White Hat Club. Both of these artisans were chosen by the Papa to produce a small range of bags for the men of the Beach Battalion. The selection criteria was simple, a rugged soul, an individual interpretation, a sense of history, a pride in craftsmanship, both makers passed with flying colours.
Having seen these two guys work its instantly apparent that its not so much about where you are from but how much integrity you have at heart. I have seen of late a denim industry assualted by the worst infiltrators of all, Jeanery's. Especially in Europe, the mainstream Jean store has become the new self claimed expert in denim goods, carrying exotic quality brands but sold without soul, sold without any interest other than the pursuit of a dollar. I take solice however in the fact that out there in the world be it the back streets of Bangkok or regional America or even the grimy streets of Ol' Blighty there are so many young enthusiasts carving out there own niche and a fresh take on a old industry and so there you have it, its not so much about the country of origin but the origin of the soul thats important in this day and in the integrity of product. This is the way the Papa thinks and these are the people that the Papa supports.

 Saneer Lohvitee of Solomonmini
 Solomonmini x Papa Nui Beach Bag.
 Solomonmini x Papa Nui I-Pad case.
Ed of the White Hat Club.
The White Hat Club x Papa Nui Battalion Bag.

Inspirational. The Papa's Ode to John Kelly.

   I have many inspirational figures in my life and often they fill a certain need or more likely they serve as an aspirational guide for me to follow, almost like a compass in some respects, I reach a certain point or come to a cross road and ask my myself what steps I would like to take and what path would my mentors choose. Their guidance although unspoken has clarity in my personal vision of how I want my future to manifest itself.
   One of my shining beacons is the late John Kelly (1919- 2007). John Kelly, surfer and artist, represents to me a lifetime commitment to the beach and the environment and embodies the art of ageless gracefulness.

Here is my favourite photo of him, taken by Art Brewer shortly before his passing several years ago. At 88 years old he stands straight and strong his shoulders pulled back revealing a life dedicated to pursuits in the ocean with skin caressed by the light of the sun and weathered by the salt and sand. Looking at this image I observe the contemplation and reflection, the appreciation of a moment, the strength and poise of conviction and a life spent in harmonious balance with the natural elements. My personal strength is drawn from aspiring to role models such as John Kelly who remind me daily of living in the moment and planting my feet firmly in the future. Rest well my brother and reflect in your endless sleep that many follow your path and your legacy is not quickly forgotten.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hit The Beach with the PAPA ! All new summer release of the iconic Combat Beach Battalion Hat.

Now hear this!
Masters of Buckets, Tin cans and Battlewagons. Ahoy men of the Battalion!
Exciting news hot off the press, straight from the broadsheets of the 'Atoll Defender'.

Papa Nui relaunches his iconic Combat Beach Battalion Hat.

Adapting the very best elements of the G.I issue Daisy Mae, the Papa reworks his Battalion Hat for this coming Northern Summer, providing a rousing salute to his heroes of the South Pacific and the homefront workers who back the attack, the Naval Yard crews, the Aircraft plant employees, grease monkeys machinists and carpenters.
Joining forces once again with the John Lofgren Clothing Factory, the Papa ensures that quality is an absolute. The Japanese production takes this new edition Battalion Hat to the next level by using a beautiful mid-weight cotton woven into the tough stuff, rugged Frog Spot Herringbone Twill and twisted yarn Salt and Pepper Chambray, providing you with two great options for your styling pleasure.
Across Continents, Islands and Atolls alike, men trust the Papa! His experience in the Tropics, in the surf, the sea and the sand, guarantees you maximum protection from the harshest elements, the searing Oriental Sun, the burning coral glare and the choking clouds of Volcanic dust. For surf or service the Combat Beach Battalion Hat has you covered. So hunker down with the Papa and choose your shelter.
Become a Battalion Man Now! PayPal the Papa.
$85 buys you your choice of Frog Spot Herringbone Twill or Black Salt and Pepper Chambray, in two size options Medium 58cm and Large 60cm. Sizes either side of those available can usually be achieved by either stretching or shrinking. The Papa recommends the wet and stretch method or the stove top Frog Spot soup.
All Japan Manufacture by exclusive arrangement with the John Lofgren Clothing Factory.
Quality and Integrity guaranteed. Country of Origin Hino Maru internal patch, hand stamped Papa Nui Unis markings. Handmade swing tag. Papa Nui signature olive drab stitching throughout, HBT taped seams.

 Classic Daisy Mae shape reimagined in USMC WWII frog spot herringbone twill.
All Battalion Hats are pre-washed to break the shape and make them your instant best friend.
 Traditional grommets replaced by embroidered eyelets so there's no parts to break or fall off.
 Stitched to perfection. John Lofgren Clothing Factory quality make.
 The Papa's summer selection for sand and surf.
 Papa Nui channels an eclectic mix of Col.Kilgore and Sgt.Striker.

 Hino Maru dynasty of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. Country of Origin tag that assures quality absolute.

 Papa selects summer options for Northern Climes.
 Hino Maru and olive drab herringbone twill taping.
 Olive drab embroidered eyelets.
 Beautiful midweight twisted Japanese yarns make this Salt and Pepper chambray.
 Iconic Combat Beach Battalion shape crafted in traditional workwear fabric.
 Quality detailing inside and out.
 Papa Nui Unis and Hino Maru.
 Salt and Pepper Papa.
 Southwestern highlights mixed with traditional worker style and topped by the iconic Battalion Hat. Perfect gig for restoration work out at a Chino hanger or for exploratory expeditions into the desert on a mission for denim relics.
Close up of the Battalion at work.

Free International Shipping! 

Dont pay over $100 for other brand hats and then get stung for shipping on top. The Papa hates that shit! Papa Nui includes international airmail postage* and keeps it as simple as possible.*( no tracking provided as this service costs extra dollars)

If you have a store and wish to buy into the Papa, wholesale orders of 6 hats are the minimum.. The majority of the Papa's customers are located in the Northern Hemisphere so why not stock a small selection of the Combat Beach Battalion Hats? round out that order with Papa Nui's Corsairs Cap as well and double your pleasure. Get in now at a ground roots level and be the first retailer in your country to be a Battalion prefered stockist. With what's lined up in the near future and with the collaborations afoot you'll be glad you did. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Surfing and World War II

The art of surfing and the art of war have long paralleled each other. In popular culture, specifically in film the two mediums have intersected to create very significant and iconic images, think Jack in Big Wednesday, Lance Johnson and Col. Kilgore in Coppola's Apocalypse Now. Though both films take place in the 1960's against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, the parallel can be traced back much further.

On November 20th 1943, the combined amphibious forces of the US Navy and the 2nd Marine Division, launched an assault on the Gilbert Island's coming ashore on the Atoll of Tarawa. Aerial reconnaissance showed the atoll surrounded by submerged reefs which the LVT'S, tracked 'Alligator' vehicles would negotiate to deliver the Marines to the beach. The tides and depths however remained a mystery as the First wave of troops passed over relatively successfully. By the time the second wave was ready the tides had dropped significantly forcing the Marines to abandon their landing craft in chest deep water a thousand yards from shore leaving them vulnerable to the elements of the sea and exposed to the heavy machine gun fire of the Japanese defenders. The resulting confusion was a disaster, hundreds were drowned others withered under a hail of bullets, the first wave already on the beach deprived of re-enforcements held on tenaciously. Miraculously and through the sacrifice of thousands of lives the Marines over a 76 hour period were able to secure the atoll and the Gilbert chain that bought them that much closer to Tokyo.

After this experience, Admiral Kelley Turner, Commander of the 5th Amphibious Force conceived the idea of an advance recon unit that could map the approach to the beaches and clear a path for the advancing Marines. He directed that 30 officers and 150 enlisted men be moved to Waimanalo ATB (on the “big island” of Hawaii) to form the beginnings of a reconnaissance and demolition group aptly called UDT, Underwater Demolition Team.

Author Craig Stecyk in his introduction for Don James's photo book, 'Surfing San Onofre to Point Dume', describes the surf population at the time of Admiral Turner's decision as being several hundred individuals spread along the shores of the United States. With WWII and the draft terminating this idyllic eden they were immersed in they began to steel themselves for the conflict ahead. Having experience  around water and the open ocean, local Californian surfers like Pete Peterson and Bob Butt as well as Hawaiian waterman John Kelly, gave up their wave riding, body surfing and lobster diving to become part of the nucleus of these underwater demolition teams, forerunners of the modern elite Navy Seals, their peace time skills being case-hardened by the rigors of Combat, swimming into hostile beaches along the chain of Micronesia leading to the home islands of the rising sun.

In the summer of 1945, Fran Heath, famous Hawaiian Hot Curl rider and John Kelly served aboard the U.S.S. Calcedony and were assigned to escort and patrol duties. They bought along their boards and surfed many virgin pacific reefs such as Palmyra, the Christmas and Canton Islands and Midway, Midway being the best with a long right hand slide on the eastern side of the Island. Later in the year they were assigned to UDT duty where their swimming and diving skills were in great demand. Fran recalls, "We considered using surfboards for reconnaissance missions. That was Kelly's idea. But, boards are too easily spotted from low-flying aircraft and there's no protection if you're spotted, so that idea was scrapped." 

The idea was tested however according to Navy records and this was supported recently by the San Diego Union Tribune in an article titled 'Marines role in surfing history highlighted'. 

The US Navy perfected the Naval Combat Demolition surfboard during the summer of 1945. Its first mission was to be the reconnaissance off the coast of Japan in preparation for the invasion of the Japanese homeland by units of the United States military. These Warboards were hollow wooden surfboards built of a thin layer of redwood over a wooden frame. They were about 14 feet long and weighed about 60 pounds. They were camouflaged so as to be almost invisible in the night-dark water. Built into these boards, between the frames, was a depth sounder. Each board was to be equipped with a two-way radio that was used to relay the depth sounder's readings to the mother ship.
By late summer 1945, the surfboard  teams were ready to paddle to war. However, the atomic bomb drop on Hiroshima on August 6th and on Nagasaki three days later pre-empted the need of the Warboards and they were never used operationally.

To these early pioneers and heroes of Surfing and Underwater Warfare, the Papa salutes you and is proud to present this photo grouping dedicated to the Warrior in Surf Trunks.

" We surf in freedom for those that can't ", Papa Nui 2014.