Think Spot Sessions: Surfing

Jul 12, 2016

Credit Pixabay Commons

Since its inception surfing has changed, boards change, breaks change.  This month's Think Spot Session looks at issues and perspectives on surfing today: Tuesday, July 19, 5:30 p.m. in HPR's Atherton Studio.  Call 955-8821 to reserve.  Always free, Think Spot Sessions are a partnership between the Hawai'i Council for the Humanities, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and Hawai'i Public Radio.  

Think Spot Sessions Featured Speakers:

Karin Amimoto Ingersoll was born and raised on O‘ahu where she attended Punahou for high school.  She received her BA from Brown University in history and international relations in 1996, her PhD from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in indigenous politics in 2009, and was the recipient of the Hawai‘i-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2010.  She has published a short story entitled, “An Oceanic Nation,” in Indigenous Encounters: Exploring Relations between People in the Pacific, and her first book, Waves of Knowing: A Seascape Epistemology, is being published by Duke University Press, and will be in print in November.  Karin is the mother of two young boys, teaching summer school at Punahou, and writes in her spare time.

Tom "Pōhaku" Stone, a legendary native Hawaiian surfer and waterman, has been on a lifelong journey in search of his cultural heritage. Starting in the ocean, surfing as a young boy, Pōhaku grew up in a world of contradiction. Part of his life was surrounded by beauty and pride, surfing in the paradise where he was born, while another part was surrounded by a world of frustration, where his native culture was cast aside as backwards and ignorant. Through his career as a pro surfer, Pōhaku often battled this contradiction, always searching for clarity and unity between his pride as a waterman and what he deeply felt should be his pride as a Hawaiian.

It has been through education that Pōhaku has been able to find clarity. Using his love of heʻe nalu (surfing) and his culture as a focal point, Pōhaku has spent the last ten years at the University of Hawaiʻi gaining his masters degree in Pacific Island Studies, specializing in ancient Hawaiian sports. He is credited with single handedly revitalizing the sport of heʻe holua (Hawaiian sledding), a centuries old extreme sport, and for the past several years, has been sharing his knowledge and his aloha as a teacher and craftsman, instructing students in the arts of sled-building and ancient surfboard carving.

Through this balance of riding, teaching, and craftsmanship, Pōhaku has found peace within himself and a sense of pride in his culture that can never be broken. It is this peace and pride that is put into every papa holua and papa he'e nalu he crafts, making these works of art truly "He mea Kānaka Maoli" - Native Made."

Mindy Pennybacker is a staff writer in the features department at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.  Most recently, she began a new column titled “In the Lineup,” which features stories about Hawai‘i’s special beach and ocean culture.  She is the author of Do One Green Thing:  Saving the Earth through Simple, Everyday Choices.  She has been editor in chief at Honolulu Weekly and at The Green Guide in New York City, and a columnist for Martha Stewart’s Whole Living.  Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The Nation, Self, Sierra, Bamboo Ridge, and The Huffington Post.

She was born in Honolulu and graduated from Punahou School, Stanford University, the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, and the King Hall School.