Historic Hawaiian He'e Nalu and He`eholua
Pi`i Mai Ka Nalu

A Traditional Hawaiian Surfing and Sledding
(Catch the wave)

Honolulu, HAWAII (Nov.17, 2006) - Picture Waikiki, Hawai`i in the 1920's, swaying palms, white sandy beaches, Hollywood socialites taken surfing by dark skinned young Hawaiians, everybody happy, faces full of smiles. The emergence of the early surf clubs gathered on the shores, sitting atop heavy wood boards basking in the warmth without a care in the world. The Hawaiian Beachboys gliding across the face of the waves as their fathers did before them, sitting in the sand under a coconut tree strumming their ukuleles singing sweet melodies to all the wahines. This was an era of Hawai`i that many of us wish we could have been a part of. The carefree lifestyle, the pure enjoyment of surfing with friends - what surfing was all about - and today, Hawai`iBC will take you on a journey back to those days of old Hawai`i when....

Come with us and learn how surfboards from the late 1800’s were built, from the time a “koa or wili wili” (endemic species) trees were felled, to the cultural significance of location, to carving of a solid wood slab transforming its kinolau (body form) and life through ancient ritualism of the Hawaiian using the implements of old – creating story and chant in the process. Follow the journey of resurrection, life reborn, from the eyes and hands of native Hawaiians as we revive the traditional practices of surfing with the construction of “Olo” (longest) and kiko`o” (averaging about 3.3m), alaia (shortboard) surfboards, and the making of the papaholua (Hawaiian sleds) for competition for the first time in nearly two centuries as we honor the Hawaiian people and their culture, nearly vanished. Traditionally the process begins with the giving of the koko (blood) - to it’s bonding with sea and land – to the finished implement (using traditional methods of preservation) - to sliding across the face of a mountain and wave.

Then come along to the North shore of O’ahu, or Kailua,Kona, or perhaps to Maui to join in the ho’olaule’a of Makahiki (festival), with chants and ancient protocol reintroducing the traditional form of surfing and sledding, Hawaii's great extreme indigenous sports, at surf breaks and off of the high mountains or barren lava fields where ancient surfing and holua sledding would often occur with the blessings of the many akua, ‘aumakua, küpuna as we gather at the old places in the spirit of competition as a means o re-invigorating the Hawaiian culture yearly. Adorned in traditional dress (malos, etc.) and surfing the various types of wooden surfboards and sleds spanning nearly two millennium of design these contemporary competitor’s (women and men) will test their skill in the old way. Coming together to experience what it was like to ride a wave with no fins to steer their surfboards or handbrakes to slow their sleds as it was in those early days of riding the great waves of the sea and the mountains. They will compete against each other as was done in the days when the Ali’i (Hawaiian chief and chiefess) would challenge one another, most often for fun but sometimes for ritualistic purposes of acquiring “mana”. During this time of ancient Hawaiian pageantry, we will re-unite the ancient art of surfing water and land as we bring back the practice of "rock sliding" on a papahölua (Hawaiian sled), considered one-and-the same as it's more widely known papahe'enalu (surfboard) displaying once again the two forms of sport that was evident in ancient Hawaii, but rarely seen by the Western world.


Hand Carved Papaholua (Hawaiian Sleds)
Click here to learn more.

Tom "Pohaku" Stone

Tom "Pohaku" Stone, a legendary native Hawaiian surfer and waterman, has been on a life long journey in search of his cultural heritage. Starting in the ocean surfing as a young boy, Pohaku grew up in a world of contradiction. Part of his life was surrounded by beauty and pride, surfing in the paradise where he was born, while another part was surrounded by a world of frustration, where his native culture was cast aside as backwards and ignorant. Through his career as a pro surfer Pohaku often battled this contradiction, always searching for clarity and unity between his pride as a waterman and what he deeply felt should be his pride as a Hawaiian.

It has been through education that Pohaku has been able to find clarity. Using his love of he'e nalu (surfing) and his culture as a focal point Pohaku has spent the last ten years at the University of Hawaii , gaining his masters degree in Pacific Island Studies, specializing in ancient Hawaiian sports. He is credited with single handedly revitalizing the sport of he'e holua (Hawaiian sledding), a centuries old extreme sport, and for the past several years he has been sharing his knowledge and his aloha as a teacher and craftsman, instructing students in the arts of sled building and ancient surf board carving.

Through this balance of riding, teaching, and craftsmanship, Pohaku has found peace within himself and a sense of pride in his culture that can never be broken. It is this peace and pride that is put into every papa holua and papa he'e nalu he crafts, making these works of art truly "He mea Kanaka Maoli - Native Made."


Hand Carved Surfboard
Hand Shaped Papahe’enalu (Surfboards)
Click here to learn more.


KonaBC.mov (170mb)
- A large format video of the process involved in making a Papahe'enalu.

Waikik.mov (9mb)
- A classic video of oldschool Hawaiian longboarding, and Waikiki in general.




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