Tom Pōhaku Stone paddles out to the break on his favorite surfboard – not a modern, fiberglass board, but a board he built with his own hands. Stone is an educator, craftsman and former pro surfer. He’s obsessed with reviving and perpetuating lost aspects of Hawaiian culture, like perfecting the art of crafting papa he‘enalu (surfboards) in the traditional Hawaiian way.
About a quarter mile from shore, he takes off on a small, playful wave. Tom wears his traditional malo, and seeing him surf here at Kahana Bay can make you feel like you’ve been transported 1,000 years back in time.
Why is surfing so special to Native Hawaiians?Standing on a board originates in Hawaiʻi. Surfing is who we are as native peoples. We come from the ocean, we love to surf waves. We surfed waves for generations, and we surf waves still. And that's what those boards are about, it's about being able to constantly ride the waves of time. It's an endless wave that never stops.
"We’re not land people, we’re ocean people."
How did hand-crafting surfboards start for you?I was a pain-in-the-butt kid, right? And I so wanted that beautiful shiny fiberglass board. And we come from a family that just didn't have that kind of money. My dad, he said he'd take care of it. He got a piece of wood, he cut it out. Started carving it in the traditional way.
But at the end of it, I just looked at the board and told my dad I hated it. And in his anger, he just took the board, broke it, lit it up in the fire pit and burned it. And that's actually the number one regret I've ever had, and I've only had a few.
That was an awesome thing my dad did for me. I'm glad before he passed away that I really had the opportunity to express that to him. That I began to go down this pathway, that he had given me that gift, and that he saw the boards I made and he was pretty ecstatic. He was happy.
“When you stand up on a wood board, it's like listening to a beautiful symphony playing that's just soothing to your soul.”
When you stand up on a wood board, it's like listening to a beautiful symphony playing that's just soothing to your soul, and you just embrace it. It's a harmonization between the wind, the motion of the water, the breaking of the wave. I'm not in this time era, or this time point or era. I'm out. I'm in another place. And I love being in that place.
What’s it like riding a traditional wood board?
This isn't my knowledge, this is my kūpuna's (ancestors) knowledge that they gave to me and now my kuleana (responsibility) is to give to those that want to carry it on. That's what's important, passing that tradition on.
Why is carrying on what you’ve learned so important to you?
Perched above legendary Hanalei Bay, Princeville Resort brings you Princeville Makai Golf Club , Mr. [...]
Hawaii is a group of tranquil tropical islands, filled with beaches, iconic sites like the Waikiki Beach [...]
Humble Tours is a locally owned hiking company which seeks to leave our hikers with in awe and respect [...]
Aloha! The Wailea Golf Club on Maui's sunny south shore is one of Hawaii's largest and most highly [...]
There are many analogies one could make about all that transpired to create Copper Bar. Long an iconic [...]
Hotel with modern artful design. Location center of Honolulu. Walking distance to Ala Moana Center, [...]
Nestled in sunny Poipu Beach, Keoki's Paradise is famous for its fresh seafood, local island cuisine and [...]
Vacation Rental on the beach, Laie Bay, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii. Clean, convenient, beautiful beach [...]
Explore Oahu from the rainforest to the reef. Learn from our professional nature guides while Downhill [...]
Our business has been family-owned and operated since 2008, and offers more than ten years of experience [...]
The Holiday Inn Express Waikiki is located at the gateway of Waikiki in Honolulu. This 44-storey hotel [...]
Aston Islander on the Beach's plantation-style architecture and direct proximity to the beach offers an [...]