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Ridge to reef cleanup and Reef Geeks Hazy IPA beer release party planned for Oct. 20

By Staff | Oct 10, 2019

In late September, Tova Callender (left) and Liz Foote of the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative were invited to help brew the limited release of Reef Geeks Hazy IPA. PHOTO BY KOHOLA BREWERY.

LAHAINA – The West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative has teamed up with Kohola Brewery and Maui DivingScuba & Snorkel Center to host a special event on Sunday, Oct. 20: a ridge to reef cleanup at Mala Wharf – to include an underwater cleanup for scuba divers along with a beach cleanup for others – followed by a beer release party at Kohola Brewery for the limited edition Reef Geeks Hazy IPA, with lunch provided for those who participate in the cleanup.

The event is being incorporated into a month-long series of opportunities tied into and leading up to the tenth annual Ridge to Reef Rendezvous on Saturday, Oct. 26, at Kahekili Beach Park in North Kaanapali.

The event originated when Kohola Brewery Co-founder Ian Elumba conceived of a special Hazy IPA beer to be called “Reef Geeks.” He wanted it to benefit local conservation efforts and be available as a limited release this fall.

He enlisted Jessica Pickering, owner of Maui DivingScuba & Snorkel Center, which has elevated its focus on local stewardship issues in recent years. They then sought to support the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative and the West Maui Kumuwai campaign, which works to address the land-based pollution that harms Maui’s coral reefs.

Liz Foote, manager of the West Maui Kumuwai campaign and executive director of Project S.E.A.-Link, expressed their appreciation: “We are thrilled about this partnership and appreciate such generosity!”

Will Plozay of Maui Diving carefully works with a baby white-tipped reef shark to free it of a fishing hook and trailing line that had gotten it caught in the reef. PHOTO BY MAUI DIVING–SCUBA & SNORKEL CENTER.

She added, “Years ago, we asked Kohola Brewery to host an evening presentation about coral reefs at the brewery, not expecting it to be so popular, but it drew a standing-room-only crowd and has now turned into their monthly Science Night series, benefitting conservation organizations across Maui. This is such a great model; we’re excited it’s taken off, and now Kohola has taken it to a new level with this beer collaboration and celebration!”

According to Elumba, “We always believe that beer brings people together, and when you bring good people together, good things come out.”

As another example of this sentiment, a partner craft beer restaurant, Square Barrels, has joined in the collaboration and will have Reef Geeks Hazy IPA available at its locations on Oahu.

Maui DivingScuba & Snorkel Center is a locally owned, family-run business since 1989. In 2017, Pickering purchased the business and changed its focus from straight recreational scuba diving to conservation and education. What started out as a small shop on the backside of a plaza is now recently remodeled and expanded to become a driving force behind eco-friendly dives and dive certifications on Maui with a 4,200-square-foot, state-of-the-art dive shop.

“I’m really excited to be offering more conservation dives at Maui Diving,” said Pickering. “We have Shark, Turtle, and Coral Reef Conservation Dives as well as my personal favorite, Project Aware Dive Against Debris.”

The cleanup will occur on Sunday, Oct. 20, from 9 a.m. to noon at Mala Wharf. Participants should meet at Maui Diving’s location at 910 Honoapiilani Highway, where transportation to Mala Wharf will be provided via the center’s vans, or carpooling arranged.

The party at Kohola Brewery will occur after the cleanup at noon. Advance registration is required to participate in the cleanup and Reef Geeks Hazy IPA party; e-mail havefun@mauidiving.com or call (808) 667-0633 to sign up.

The event itself is free; Maui Diving will provide free tanks and weights to certified scuba divers, and a special discounted rate of $25 for gear rentals. Lunch is free to those who participate in the cleanup, with a portion of beer sales benefitting the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative. Minors are permitted at the brewery if accompanied by an adult legal guardian.

This event is one of several tied into the upcoming Ridge to Reef Rendezvous. For more information and the full schedule, visit www.WestMauiKumuwai.org (News & Events) or www.facebook.com/WestMauiKumuwai, e-mail WestMauiKumuwai@gmail.com or call (808) 283-1631.