26 JUL 2018:  Tom Pohaku Stone handcrafts traditional Hawaiian surfboards to ride the waves on the windward side of Oahu. Tom’s favorite surfboard is not a modern, fiberglass board. His board is one he has built with his own hands, with techniques that have been passed down through generations. 

He first learned of hand-crafting wooden surfboards through his father, who once carved one for him in the traditional way.

Although he mentions as a child he told his father he hated it, he grew to appreciate the gift and now sees the importance of passing on the tradition of the craft.

When asked about why surfing is so special to Native Hawaiians, Tom explains that Hawaiians surfed waves for generations, and continue to surf waves. For him, standing up on a wood board is like listening to a beautiful symphony, and a harmonization between the wind, the motion of the water, and the breaking of the wave. As an educator, craftsman and former pro surfer, Tom continues to revive and perpetuate lost aspects of Hawaiian culture. Through perfecting the art of crafting surfboards in the traditional Hawaiian way, he feels it’s his kuleana (responsibility) to continue passing on the tradition.

 

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