Iron and haircuts at Tui Ickes’ ‘Tokelau Pit’

Kamehameha senior Tui Ickes enjoyed playing in the Hawaii Sandlot Classic with brother Elijah, a sophomore, in late July, 2020. Photo by Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser

Tui Ickes knows his way with a tool in his hands.

The 6-foot, 197-pound senior brought skill and power to the plate for the Kamehameha Warriors last spring, hitting .515 in 37 plate appearances — preseason and two ILH games — with a slugging percentage of .667. Two home runs and three doubles helped bring 10 runs home for Ickes. His versatility is another tool. Ickes plays third base, first base and the outfield.

“He’s got some enormous strength and great hand-eye coordination. He doesn’t miss often. He has middle linebacker mentality as a two-sport athlete,” Kamehameha coach Daryl Kitagawa said. “He’s really quiet. He doesn’t say much, but he leads by example. He just sticks his nose in the ground and does his work. He’s a tone-setter for the culture we’re trying to build, being a good person and doing the right thing.”

Ickes, pronounced eh-KEEZ, also picked up a new skill after the COVID-19 pandemic began: hair cutting. Ickes has given haircuts to family — father Warren and younger brother Elijah — and teammates. Among them are Casey Kitagawa, Hanu Racoma and football player (and Washington commit) Kuao Peihopa.

“We do it at my house our my grandma’s house,” said Ickes, who charges a modest $12 per cut. “We call it the Tokelau Pit.”

He also cuts Betty Ickes’ hair.

“She asked me to,” he said of his grandmother. “She’s my first girl customer.”

Kitagawa is a believer.

“My next haircut will be at Tui’s barber shop,” he said.

The “Tokelau Pit” is also where Ickes pumps iron. His max at the squat rack is 405 pounds. He also has a 265 max on the bench press and 385 on the dead lift.

When he’s not sharpening his hair-cutting skills, Ickes is busy working on his swing. Ickes and his father travelled to the Arizona Fall Classic, where he played in the junior and senior tournaments.

“I enjoyed playing with athletes from around the island,” said Ickes, whose family resides in Wahiawa. “Everyone played like we’ve been on the same team for a long time.”

It was the game between Team Hawaii’s Blue squad — his team – and the Gold squad that he remembers best.

“I hit an RBI bomb to the warning track,” said Ickes, who went 4-for-7 at the Senior Fall Classic.

Ickes has a 2.95 grade-point average and a clear horizon ahead.

“I currently have no offers. I don’t really have a specific school I’m looking at, but I would like to play on the West Coast somewhere. I also wouldn’t mind playing here at home or anywhere else that would offer me. My options are open,” he said.

Kitagawa is looking forward to Ickes’ progress though senior year and the next level.

“For him, I think COVID-19 was unfortunate because he’s not able to be seen, but last week he got some interest. Some coaches did approach him after the Fall Classic. I’d be happy to talk with coaches and answer any questions they have,” Kitagawa said. “He’s getting interest from some D-I coaches.”

Lockdown staples

Top 3 movies/shows

1. “Tax Collector.”

2. “Lucifer.”

3. “Legend.”

Top 3 food/snack/drink

1. BBQ ribs, Texas Roadhouse. “They got the best bread there, as well.”

2. Reese’s Peanut-Butter Cups.

3. Lipton Brisk raspberry ice tea.

Top 3 music artists

1. Rebel Souljahz. “Irie Beach Party.”

2. Luke Combs. “When It Rains It Pours.”

3. Gregory Isaacs. “Night Nurse.”

New life skill: Hair cutting. See more on IG @tflowwwcutz.


Ickes: “I used my Brett Cobon wood bat and Baum bat, both 33/30. Franklin batting gloves, Wilson A1K, 11.75. I got my New Balance 4040v5 cleats, which are blue and white.”

Shout outs

Ickes: “Shout out to my coaches, Daryl Kitagawa, Keith Komeiji, Brandon Toro, Ashkhon Kuhaulua, Jason Doi. Also shout out to my workout partners Casey Kitagawa, Kuao Peihopa, Kaeo Bailon, Elijah Ickes.”


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