The search has begun for the KAPA slippah

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A pair of koa KAPA slippahs are hidden on the Big Island as part of the 2nd annual KAPA Slippah Hunt. (Photo credit: Darde Gamayo)

The hunt is on for the KAPA slippah.

The 2nd annual KAPA Slippah Hunt started Monday with KAPA-FM DJs reading out clues on air as to the whereabouts of a pair of koa-engraved slippers. A $1,000 cash prize from the radio station as well as a myriad of other prizes are up for grabs to whoever finds the slippers first.

With the left slipper hidden in West Hawai‘i and the right stashed somewhere on the east side, a new clue will be read daily, Monday through Friday, during KAPA radio shows until they are found.

With over 100 clues written, KAPA DJ Darde Gamayo said the riddles will start vague and get more detailed as the weeks go on. Last year, she said hundreds of people participated in the search for the slippers.

“Some people are so serious they only go nighttime hunting because they don’t want people to know where they’re searching,” the DJ said.


Gamayo knew the slipper hunt would be popular with the community as it’s an opportunity to bring families together.

“Not just immediate households but extended families,” she said. “Kids, babies in strollers, grandma and grandpa. It gets the kids outside away from their iPads.”

Mahana Ka‘awa and her family found the slipper hidden in Hilo last year. 

On Tuesday, Ka‘awa couldn’t contain the excitement in her voice as she recalled last year’s hunt for the slipper with her husband and three kids, ages 8, 7 and 5. Still feeling the rush of her family’s win, she’s looking forward to getting started on the new hunt.

“It seems far-fetched we’ll find it again, but the kids believe we will,” Ka‘awa said.


Ka‘awa said the search for the KAPA slipper became a tradition for her family last year where every day after school she’d pick up her kids and drive around Hilo looking for the slipper. They hit several beach parks and went into the jungle trying to figure out the clues.

“It was a rush just going out and looking,” Ka‘awa said.

The Ka‘awa ‘ohana found the Hilo slipper at Kaumana Caves 28 clues into the hunt. Ka‘awa said they went to the cave three different times during their search and hadn’t found anything.

But as the clues got more specific, talking about waiwi (strawberry guava) trees, lehua and fruit bats, all things found at the cave, the family decided to go there for a fourth time.

During the final visit to the county park, Ka‘awa noticed other people had the idea to search there as well as leaves on the ground had been tossed about.


“My husband lifted up one of the monstera leaves then dropped it,” Ka‘awa said, adding he announced to her and the children he found the slipper.

“The kids were excited and screaming,” she said.

Winners of West Hawai‘i’s Slippah Hunt contest last year mailed the slipper back to the KAPA station in Hilo and anonymously donated the $1,000 cash prize to Big Island Giving Tree. The slipper was found at Kīholo Bay scenic lookout.

The hunt also gives people the chance to explore parts of the island they may not have seen before. Gamayo said clues not only tell people where to go and where not to go, but they also include interesting facts about the location of the slippers, pointing out different landmarks. 

Gamayo said a letter is attached to the slipper providing instructions on what to do next for the person who finds the slipper. You need the letter to claim the prizes.

Every Friday at noon certain sponsors of the hunt will post clues at their establishments. Gamayo asks that people not call those businesses asking for the riddle.

Winners receive a $1,000 cash prize from KAPA as well as a myriad of gift certificates, including a one-night stay at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort. Businesses around the island are offering thousands of dollars in prizes to the winners.

Other prizes include a $500 shopping spree at Simply Sisters, Gloss Mastering for full detail on a vehicle, an Airgas high-pressure wok burner, Lex Brodies Tires ultimate car washes and gas cards.

Gamayo said the prizes are still growing.

KAPA and Big Island Now are both entities of Pacific Media Group.

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a full-time reporter for Pacific Media Group. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.

Tiffany can be reached at [email protected].
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