In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Native Hawaiians surfed at hundreds of surf spots on all the islands, but each island had one or more places that were especially famous for surfing. More than just surf spots, these sites were communities where food from the land and sea was abundant and where good surf was in close proximity. As important social centers, these places were favored by Hawaiian royalty and are often mentioned in legends and early historical accounts. The most well known were Hilo and Kailua on the island of Hawai‘i; Hāna, and Lahaina on Maui; Waikīkī on O‘ahu; and Wailua on Kaua‘i. But of all these communities , Waikīkī stood above the rest. With one of the greatest concentrations of surf spots anywhere in Hawai‘i, Waikīkī has always held a special place in the hearts of Hawai‘i’s surfers, from the Hawaiians who discovered its waves centuries ago to those who ride its waves today. In 1940, E. S. Craighill Handy and Elizabeth Green Handy described Waikīkī and explained its appeal to traditional Hawaiian surfers. Almost certainly the first settlers [in Hawai‘i] chose protected bay and beach areas where fresh water was available and where there was good inshore and offshore fishing. On Oahu, Waikiki and adjacent localities, with Palolo, Manoa, and Nuuanu Valleys lying inland, offered ideal conditions for early settlement. Prehistorically and historically, the area of densest population in all the Hawaiian Islands was that flanking Waikiki on the island of Oahu. Here the chiefs had their residences near the now famous beach and the offshore waters where conditions were ideal for their prized sport of surfriding. This in early times idyllic area was flanked by the great wet-taro lands of Manoa, and the area between that valley and the sea which was one continuous spread of taro lands and fishponds. —Handy and Handy. Native Planters. pp. 268–270. When big south swells roll into the islands during the spring and summer +$:$,,$1685),1*  months, Waikīkī is the greatest amphitheater of surfing in Hawai‘i. The amphitheater , which is the bay of Waikīkī, was created by Diamond Head to the east and the extensive wetland that once stood behind Waikīkī Beach. Stream waters from three inland valleys, Pālolo, Mānoa, and Mākiki, flowed into the lowlands of Waikīkī, creating the wetland and its many springs. Waikīkī means “spouting water,” a reference to the springs, many of which are marked on old maps. Although most of the springs were filled during reclamation projects, springwater still surfaces in the ocean off Waikīkī in the shallow reefs along the beach, especially during the winter and spring and during periods of heavy rains in the inland valleys. The wetland was an essential component for life in Waikīkī, providing water for domestic needs and creating many acres for agriculture, especially the cultivation of kalo (taro), the source of poi, the major starch for precontact Hawaiians. The wetland supported more than a dozen fishponds, where stocks of fish were kept and caught as needed. Several streams flowed out of the wetland and crossed the Waikīkī shoreline, including Kūkaeunahi, ‘Āpuakēhau, and Pi‘inaio. The fresh water running into the ocean was vital in helping to support marine resources. Many edible seaweeds in Hawai‘i flourish in areas where fresh water mixes with salt water, and these seaweeds grew in abundance in Waikīkī. They were the beginning of the food chain, which, besides providing food for people, provided shelter for small fish, crabs, and shrimp, which attracted larger fish that fed on the smaller ones and on the seaweed, and so on up the chain to the largest species. The Waikīkī wetland, with its springs, fishponds, and flowing streams, not only sustained life in Waikīkī but helped create a unique site for ocean recreation. The fresh water flowing into the ocean in the lee of Diamond Head shaped the bay and influenced the development of its channels and reefs, which in turn created a series of exceptional surf sites. Hawaiians knew these spots as Kalehuawehe (Castle’s), ‘Aiwohi (Publics), Maihiwa (Cunha’s), and Kapuni (Canoes), but of all of them, Kalehuawehe was the most famous. Kalehuawehe is a deepwater, big-wave spot that only breaks on the biggest south swells, and Hawaiians regarded it as the epitome, the Holy Grail, of surfing. This magical spot is part of what drew the traditional surfing...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.