Hölua, or heÿeholua (
to slide together or as one entity) , refers to the ancient
art of surfing mountain slopes and lava fields on a specialized
Hawaiian sled, a papahölua , constructed of
wood lashed together with coconut fiber that is capable of
attaining speeds up to 50 mph+ over rock lightly covered
with pili, a grass native to Hawai'i.
It is a traditional form
of ritualized athleticism unique to the Hawaiian Islands
as a means to honor " Pele ", the mythical Hawaiian
goddess of the volcano. Hölua with its abundant
architectural features, monumental in scale, reminiscent
to lava flowing down a mountain slope or cliff side emphasizes
a religious practice significant to the native culture of
these islands. He'ehölua is a unique athletic performance
of cultural expression and self-sacrifice of the Hawaiian
willing to risk his or her life in an attempt to successfully
ride the waves of Pele .
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