I stood atop the platform looking out across the expanse of space between myself and the termination of the first zip line some 2-3 football fields in the distance above the tree tops and thought to myself “man, this is full on for the first run”.
My mind was playing games with the expanse of open air beneath the zip line so I ran through the risk analysis in my head; well-constructed platforms; suspension lines thick enough to support a vehicle bridge, double safety mechanism on the harness and attachment to the line. It seemed safe enough – just my mind playing games with me; besides, one of the tour leaders will be going first.
My previous experiences of zip lines elsewhere had been quite boring. Slow speeds, crowded groups and un-inspiring staff all made for a rather hum-drum day. After running my risk analysis and assuring myself that this rather mind-boggling first run at Keana Farms would indeed be safe, I was now stoked to start the tour. We were grouped with a family from Texas who were a last minute addition to our tour. They were experienced zip liners with 2 children; a 12 year old girl and an 8 year old boy who was fearless and utterly determined to be the first, fastest and overall most enthusiastic participant of the day.
As we chatted on the platform, they shared that they had made a reservation the previous day on a zip line somewhere else on windward Oahu but when they drove up to the place and looked at the line, it was only one very short run and was completely unimpressive so they cancelled, got their money refunded and booked in with Keana Farms.
When we arrived at Keana Farms we were greeted by the friendly staff. Many of the CLIMB Works team design and construction team was on hand as well as the local staff from North Shore Oahu. We were efficiently run through the check in procedure; signed waivers on the iPad console mounted in the wall, divested ourselves of any exterior objects which could catch on a line or fall out of our pockets; stepped on the scale to be weighed, outfitted with helmet and harness; and we were almost on our way… except for one careless oversight on my part; I had forgotten to bring closed toed shoes with me from Kauai. Because of the nature of the course, closed toed shoes are a requirement; after a few seconds of wondering what to do, one of the staff asked my shoe size and graciously volunteered to lend me a pair of his personal shoes which he had in his car. They fit fine, and in a matter of moments we were loaded aboard a pair of open top jeeps for a 10 minute ride to the start of the course.
At the top of the platform for the first zip, our guides for the day gave us a very thorough briefing; outlining not only the safety procedures, zip line protocol, and what to expect along the course; but also explaining the aerodynamics of the zip and how to position our bodies to increase or decrease our speed and compensate for wind drag and our body respective body masses in order to arrive on the other end of the line in proper form (if you come in too fast, the break is a little jarring, if you come in too slow the guide will have to reel you in from the middle of the line).
The Keana Farms zip line course is by far the most fun, well designed and enjoyable zip line I have ever experienced. The longest zip line on the course is 1500 feet (that’s the length of 5 football fields); there are panoramic views from many places along the course; and to keep things fresh, the zip line runs are broken up by other activities such as a hand over hand belayed ascent by rope to the top of a platform and another landing area where we rappelled down a similar distance.
While the course itself is fantastic; what really made my afternoon is the staff. I have owned and operated an outdoor adventure company in my life and have a lot of experience with the varying quality levels of outdoor guides; the team from Climb Works Keana Farms Zip Line is top notch. They are genuinely friendly and engaging; knowledgeable about both the zip line and the local culture, and extremely professional about safety and how the tour is conducted while still being highly enthusiastic and fun to spend the afternoon with. In fact; their enthusiasm is contagious that the brightness of our guides for the day is one of the highlights of my experience with CLIMB Works Keana Farms Zip Line.