I Went Over The Edge of the Hyatt Regency in Waikīkī for the Special Olympics
Just an average afternoon in Waikīkī, rappelling 400 feet down the side of a hotel while taking in some solid beach views.
ACTIVITY: Rappel down 40 stories to raise money for the Special Olympics
COMPANY NAME: Special Olympics Hawai‘i (sohawaii.org)
WHO SHOULD GO? Anyone who has ever dreamed of something like this, but never felt safe enough, should take advantage of the team that assists you on this drop. And, just scroll down to check out the unbeatable payoff.
LENGTH: From the rooftop to the pool deck is 400 feet. The time you decide to take making your way down is entirely up to you. But we suggest milking it for two reasons: a) the views and b) it’s actually easier for beginners to slow down and relax when focusing on what you need to do.
FEE: Registration deposit fees for individuals is $100 and team members is $25 per person. Returning reppellers get to skip the registration deposit.
WHEN: The 11th annual Over the Edge fundraiser was on Saturday, October 26, 2019. This year, it will be Nov. 6, 2021.
WHERE: Hyatt Regency Waikīkī Beach Resort & Spa, 2424 Kalākaua Avenue.
SEE ALSO: 24 O‘ahu Hikes We Really Like
Up, Up and Away
When you first arrive at the hotel, all signs point to, well, up. I’ve never been one afraid of heights (I seem to find myself in situations where I’m jumping off cliffs, bamboo bridges and rocks on regular occasions) but the approach, looking up and seeing the platform I would soon be rappelling down from inflicted a slight tremble in me. But before heading all the way up, participants head to the sign in room to share nervous small talk and suit up, with the help of the Over the Edge Global team. You know, so you have more time to overthink.
The international adventure team specializes in urban rappelling experiences for NGOs looking to raise funds. They handle set up, safety and the entire experience, including the snazzy headset, helmet and top-of-the-line gear. Once you have your equipment strapped on you (and tested), everyone makes their way further up to the rooftop. At first one can’t help but admire the view. That is until you feel the gust of wind coming up the side of the building, as if it were tapping you on the shoulder to remind you how far you need to get down. Down one of the tallest buildings in Hawai‘i, that is. Just in case you had forgotten.
No turning back
So I’m on the roof. My photographer continues to ask me “are you sure?” All I can think about is climbing up on the makeshift platform I will begin my drop from because once I’m up on that, there is no turning back. Luckily I’m the last to go and I get to go on my own. Why do I enjoy this privilege? As a bit of a competitive soul, going down alone means I won’t feel rushed and being last means I won’t feel guilty about holding someone else up. Everyone is different so simply ask the team if you can go first (get it over and done with), go with a group (for support), to go last (if you’re childishly competitive like I am) or whatever you need.
On the way down
Before I make the plunge I get one last safety check from the team. I’m strapped in, I pose for the money shot (see, first image) and start walking myself down the wall. Small steps—this is what I’m used to when I rappel down waterfalls and cliffs—until the wall turns into a lānai for a hotel room. At this point I have to focus on my core, keep my feet up (by sitting back into the harness) and rely on the foolproof equipment to make my way down the ropes. As I’m inching down, there is a voice in my headset—it’s the team giving me advice and encouragement. They tell me Im doing great and to enjoy the view. 90% of my view was a postcard experience, while 10% included hotel goers sitting on their balconies looking confused (one guy was brushing his teeth naked #LiveYourBestLife).
From raising money for an amazing cause to the adrenaline rush of dangling above Hawai‘i’s most famous beach, this is a great experience for kama‘aina who actively avoid Waikīkī.
How to Get Involved
You can very easily donate to someone who will be joining the event. Or you can be the risk taker and prepare for this amazing experience. The registration deposit for individuals is $100—unless you get in on the early bird discount, which is $50 (use the promo code “EARLYBIRDOTE” at checkout)— and for team members is $25. The minimum for teams is three people and each person needs to raise at least $1,000. Luckily the deposit fee is waived for returning rappellers.
- Wear long pants. The easiest way to avoid bunching, front and back wedgies as well as awkward photos is to wear long pants or thicker leggings made for outdoor activities. This also helps with walking away without a nasty case of chub rub. Ladies, thank me later.
- Slow down. As mentioned earlier, this is not a race. When else will you have the opportunity to hang 400 feet above Queen’s Surf Beach in Waikīkī? Take your time to look around.
- Have a GoPro strapped to your helmet. Then definitely slow your roll when it comes to looking around. I was so excited that I could not stop snapping from side to side, trying to take every view in. My poor photographer who had to watch the footage later felt motion sickness.
In order to participate, rappellers must be over the age of 18 and weigh less than 300 lbs.