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Early accounts of the origins of surfing range from Africa to South America to Polynesia, but it’s undeniable that the islands of Hawai’i have played a very special and singular role in the history, growth, and development of the sport.

The thing is, surfing in Hawai’i has always been more than that—long before it ever became the sport many know it as today, Hawaiians were riding waves, and surfing was a key part of a thriving culture; stories and traditions of which were passed down from generation to generation. Surfing was for all reaches of society, and it was a vehicle for community, identity, and belonging.

MEET MAHINA FLORENCE

MEET MAHINA FLORENCE

Surfer and Hawai’i Episode Host

Mahina comes from a legendary family of watermen and women. Whether it’s surfing or rock running 30ft underwater, Mahina embodies the spirit of the islands in so many ways. Growing up on the island of Oahu instilled in her a deep connection for the ocean and her culture. It’s this connection that made her the perfect guide to help us learn more about the complex experience that is surf in Hawai’i. There’s many places on the island that have shaped the history of surfing as a whole, but in order to get to the heart of it, we needed someone who knew of those traditions, stories, and most importantly, someone who knew the meaning of surfing to the people that call Hawai’I home.

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"We want to share our surfing culture but we don’t necessarily want to sell it, and we don’t want to change the culture, because that’s what is so beautiful about it—it doesn’t need to be changed"

MEET HA’A

MEET HA’A

Surfer AND PHOTOGRAPHER from Hawai’i

In many ways, and to many people, Ha’a gracefully bridges the gap between past and current generations in Hawai’i. Granddaughter of revered Hawaiian waterman Buffalo Kealuana, and daughter of legendary big wave surfer Brian Keauluana, Ha’a carries the legacy onwards. Whether she’s charging solid Mākaha, shooting photos off the back of a ski at an outer reef, or yes, even working as a stunt double, she embodies what it means to be a waterwoman. Her love, passion, and respect for the land and ocean that have raised her is tangible, and her prowess in or on the water serves as an inspiration for many.

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"Surfing taught me to be grounded. I go back to it every time I feel like I’m losing myself and who I am. That’s where I find myself."

MEET TAMMY MONIZ

MEET TAMMY MONIZ

Surfer, Mother and Owner of Moniz Family Surf School

Even when she was in high school, Tammy Moniz’s friends called her “mom,” and today, Tammy is without a doubt a mother figure to many in Waikīkī and Hawai’i in general. Born and raised in Honolulu, Tammy beams passion and love for the culture of surfing. It’s something you can just see from the moment you meet her and something she has deeply instilled in her entire family. Her own children, of which there are five, (Micah, Kelia, Isaiah, Josh, and Seth), are recognized as some of the best professional surfers in the world and the Moniz family and their two surf schools are without a doubt, an anchor in the everchanging landscape that is Waikīkī. As someone who has seen the area change, and been a part of that change at times, Tammy’s insight on the importance of upholding the traditions of the surf school in Waikīkī speak volumes to the significance of learning the culture behind surfing in Hawai’i.

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"To understand surfing as a sport is one thing, but to understand surfing as a culture, as a love and as something that we’ll do for the rest of our lives is another. It’s the one thing that, as old as I am, I will continue to do because it keeps me inspired and fresh."

MEET Luana Silva

MEET Luana Silva

Billabong competitive surfer from Hawai'i

The North Shore of O’ahu is known for turning out some of the best young competitive surfers in the world, and Luana Silva is no exception. At only 17 years old, Luana has officially qualified for the 2022 World Surf League’s Championship Tour of surfing, and is showing no signs of slowing any time soon. Luana’s parents moved to the North Shore from Brazil with the exact intention of raising their family in a place where spending time in the ocean, specifically through surfing, would be second nature. Luana’s a fierce competitor with the kind of drive and talent that it takes to make it as a world champion—but under all of that is a deep love for the sea and appreciation for the famed shoreline she calls home.

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"Surfing is my lifestyle, I do it everyday growing up around the ocean… Surfing is very therapeutic for me. It always has been. It always calms me down and just settles my mind a lot."

MEET ALESSA HOLLOWAY

MEET ALESSA HOLLOWAY

Billabong Competitive Surfer From Hawai’i

Alessa Holloway (formerly Quizon), has made a name for herself as a professional surfer since she was only 12 years old— and is part of the tight-knit community that calls Mākaha home. Although she’s traveled the world for a lot of her life, Alessa has returned home to the place that helped shape her as a surfer. As part of a generation who paved the way for women’s competitive surfing, it’s clear that she has a passion and love for the sport that runs deep within her and has been an inspiration to many. What started as a dream, has now become so much more than that. The experiences, the traditions and the culture of surf growing up in Hawai’i have played a big role in making her who she is today.

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"Surfing is more than just riding a wave. It’s an outlet to meet new people, make new friends - a place to go to relieve yourself. Its more than just a sport, its family, its an art, its a gift."

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