What’s in a name?

Whenever I am asked what little man’s name is, I am often met with a confused look when I say “Laird” and quickly follow with spelling “L-A-I-R-D”.  It doesn’t seem that difficult a name to say to me, but neither does “Shimogaki” and don’t ask me how many times I’ve heard that butchered.  So, I thought I would explain the name that has been mistaken for “Lard” (yes, someone repeated “lard”, as if I would name my kid after meat fat) and “Larry.”


I have been a fan of Laird Hamilton, legendary big-wave surfer and master of anything to do with salt water, since I first saw him in a surfing magazine.  Blown away that anyone would have the guts to ride such massive waves, I was immediately drawn to his fearlessness and intensity.

Shortly after I learned I was pregnant, I discovered that he had come out with a new book, Force of Nature.  I borrowed it from the library and became even more impressed by this man’s philosophy on life and his passion for the ocean.  He is constantly creating new ways to ride waves and explore the sea.  And unlike some of the younger surfers, has a maturity and poise that separates him from the rest.  Stand-up paddlers can thank him in-part for reinventing the water sport.  All this and he’s not too bad to look at either.  Sorting through the couple of names we had come up with, this was the one that just seemed right.


Many people know Iz (Israel Kamakawiwo’ole), the beloved Hawaiian singer known for his size and popular remake of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  I first heard Iz sometime in middle school, loving every song on Ka’Ano’i, his initial album and my favorite.  But one song, Kainoa, stuck with me.  Everytime I hear it, I picture my beautiful home island: the midday sun reflecting on the ocean and the sound of the tropical breeze in the trees.  I have always remembered this song and when we discovered that Laird was a boy, Kainoa was a natural choice for a middle name.

So why did I choose both names and not Curt?  Well, he does have Curt’s last name. 🙂 Fortunately, I married a go-with-the-flow kind of guy who couldn’t deny the significance of these names and how it would connect Laird to Hawaii.

Incidentally, I never did bother to find out what Kainoa translates to in Hawaiian and only after we named Laird did my sister tell me it’s meaning: Namesake.  The only problem is Laird hasn’t been too fond of the water, go figure.


2 responses to “What’s in a name?

  1. I remember having this conversation about what you were thinking about naming him at Nicole’s 30th birthday party…but, I can’t remember what other names you were thinking at the time…it feels like that was forever ago, but not really!
    By the way, I think its good that littles are a little scared of the water…McKaylee was not scared of the water till she “almost” drowned in the pool so now she has more respect for it and doesn’t go crazy around it.

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