Pau Hana with Jeff Shonka

On weekends, Jeffrey Shonka likes to rip along the south shore of Oahu in his 20-foot Seaswirl speedboat.

“Fifty-six [mph] is the fastest I’ve had it up to,” says Shonka, CFO of First Insurance Co. “At that point, my wife, Heather, tells me to throttle it back.”

Shonka bought his first boat in the mid-1990s and was instantly hooked to high speeds. “When I’m on the water, it’s an open, expansive feeling,” he says.

On typical boat rides, he starts at Hawaii Kai harbor, skirts Diamond Head and stops a mile off Waikiki, where “other boats hang out and enjoy the sunshine.”

He once spotted a humpback whale and her calf playing in the water just 30 yards from his boat. Another time, a school of dolphins swam next to his boat for several miles. “The animals came out of nowhere,” Shonka recalls.

Despite his self-confessed “need for speed,” Shonka never has had a collision or near-accident. “I do like to go quickly, but I’m a pretty safe captain,” he says.

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