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Learn To Surf Where Surfing Began

The art of surfing, known as he'enalu in the Hawaiian language, was a central part of ancient Polynesian culture and predates European contact. For Ancient Hawaiians surfing was no mere recreational activity or sport, but instead was integrated into their culture and daily life. They referred to this art as heʻe nalu which translates into English as “wave sliding.”

Prior to entering the ocean, the priest would aid the surfers in undertaking the spiritual ceremony of constructing a surfboard. Hawaiians would carefully select one of three types of trees. The trees included the koa, ʻulu and wiliwili trees. Selected craftsmen of the community would then shape, stain and prepare the board for the surfer. There were three primary shapes: the ʻolokikoʻo, and the alaia.

The most skilled surfers were often of the upper class and pastors including chiefs and warriors that surfed amongst the best waves on the island. These upper class Hawaiians gained respect through their enduring ability to master the waves.

Around the start of the 20th century, Hawaiians living close to Waikiki began to revive surfing, and soon re-established surfing as a sport. Duke Kahanamoku, "Ambassador of Aloha," Olympic medalist, and avid surfer, helped expose it to the world. Ever since, people have been flocking to Hawaii to experience surfing for themselves.