We Tried It: Roller Skating at Kiha Public Skate

Go to skate school and then show off your moves under the disco lights at this rink complex in Kapolei.


What:  A roller skating class and open-skate session

Who:  A group of 6-year-old friends

Where:  A warehouse in Kapolei

When: A Saturday afternoon from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.


Kiha Public Skate

Photo: Laura Dornbush


A fter our successful ice skating outing, we decided to tackle another first-time adventure: roller skating. My 6-year-old son, Duke, and his friends met up at Kiha Public Skate for an afternoon of fun (and lots of falls!). None of the boys or girls had ever roller skated before but were all excited and eager to try. Thank goodness Kiha offers a roller skating class, because the other moms and I agreed that our kids never want to listen to us for advice on learning something new.


Upon arrival, we received wristbands and hand stamps to admit us into the class and the open-skate session. The kids were already pumped up—I mean, what kid doesn’t love an ‘exclusive’ wristband and hand stamp?! Next, we headed to the skate rental desk. I loved that the kids’ skates came in vibrant, retro colors like yellow, blue and orange, depending on the size. I was also impressed at the condition and quality of the skates—newer and nicer than the ice skates we had rented at Ice Palace.


Skate Class

Skate Class. Photo: Laura Dornbush


The kids’ first movements on the skates were VERY unsteady and unbalanced, so they borrowed ‘walkers’ to hold onto as they scooted out onto the rink. The class was a mix of kids and adults of varying levels. The three coaches split up the group based on skill level. The beginner class focused on marching movements, learning how to fall safely (called the turtle fall) and mastering the T-stop position, while the advanced group perfected their graceful crossover steps.


The good news? Duke actually paid attention to his coach, Alex, who dressed the part in a 1970’s inspired skate outfit. At the end of the class, the whole group reconvened at the center of the rink for a Hokey Pokey dance. This hilarious exercise was a real test for the kids’ balance, especially when they had to “turn yourself about.”


Mila Isla Trevor And Duke In Skate Class

Mila, Isla, Trevor and Duke in Skate Class. Photo: Laura Dornbush


Trevor And His Coach Alex

Trevor and his coach Alex. Photo: Laura Dornbush


After a water break, the rink was open for a public skate session. With the overhead lights off, dancing disco lights and music filled the facility with a fun vibe. Note: there are two rinks within the facility, but only one was utilized when we were there.


SEE ALSO: We Tried It: Ice Palace Hawai‘i


Still using their walkers, the kids made their way around the rink in counter-clockwise loops, some faster than others. When Duke’s friend Isla fell, she pulled herself up and admitted to me, “I think that was my 12th fall today.” Despite the challenge of the sport, I was proud that the group of friends kept at it—that is, until they got hungry.


Duke Under The Disco Lights

Photo: Laura Dornbush


Duke and I headed over to the snack bar for some fuel. There is a full snack bar on the upstairs mezzanine level and a snack bar kiosk downstairs. The offerings include pizza, hot dogs, nachos, soft pretzels, ice cream and a variety of drinks. We opted for a soft pretzel and were handed a digital pager to notify us when it was ready. That was unexpected twist for a rink snack bar!  


As we ate, we watched the rink staff set-up for a game of limbo in the middle of the rink. All skaters were invited to glide under the bar one at a time. After each pass, the bar is lowered, forcing the skaters to see “how low can you go” with the whole crowd cheering them on.


Limbo Game

Limbo Game at Kiha Public Skate. Photo: Laura Dornbush


The whole experience was enjoyable for the kids and me. In fact, it was nostalgic to get back in roller skates—just like my Girl Scout troop outings as a kid. Though unlike my childhood rink memories, I was surprised at how modern and fresh the rink complex looked—from the condition of the two rinks, to the freshness of the skates, to the high-tech snack bar.


Kiha Public Skate

Photo: Laura Dornbush

Our Tips

          1. Opt for quad skates.  You’ll have the option of renting in-line or quad skates, but the latter is easier to balance—especially for first-timers.
          2. Buy light up skates. If you are planning to purchase your own skates (beforehand or at the on-site pro shop), dazzle your keiki with a pair outfitted with light-up wheels. They’ll add some fun and pizazz to the dark skate rink.
          3. Wear PPE.  Beginners are bound to fall a few times, so consider wearing knee pads. We didn’t, but were glad we came in long pants to protect our knees from scrapes.
          4. Bring a full water bottle. Water is available for purchase at the snack bar, but there are no reusable water bottle refill stations.
          5. Stash your stuff.  To use the available lockers, you’ll need to BYOL (bring your own lock). Or you can buy one for $2.
          6. Host a party. Yes, they offer birthday packages starting at $160 for four skaters and include pizza, ice cream and a seating area. Find more info here.


Kiha Public Skate is open Friday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Sundays from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Check their site for session times. Admission is $10 per session. Rental skates are $5. Kiha Skate School is offered Saturdays from 2:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. for $20 per person including rental skates, a 1-hour class, and a 2-hour open-skate session. (808) 682-5442. 1057 Ōpakapaka St., Kapolei. kihapublicskate.com@official_kiha_public_skate