Hawaiian Surfing: Traditions from the Past. John R. K. Clark. University of Hawai‘i Press. 495 pages. $24
Even just a cursory scan of established Hawai‘i beach and sea author Clark’s latest endeavor reveals he has again undertaken a serious and rigorous research project to explore his favorite pleasurable pastime.
This comprehensive ode to Hawaiian surfing is an impressive reference covering everything from board to river surfing, and detailing traditional surf sites across the islands, including Kaho‘olawe and Ni‘ihau. Clark weaves in excerpts of Hawaiian-language newspapers, myth—especially of surfing goddess Hi‘iakaikapoliopele—early texts by the likes of Malo and Beckwith, and even an account of surfing-related Hawaiian place names in Waikiki.
Perhaps most remarkable is the 250-plus page Hawaiian-English dictionary of surfing terms, with nearly all entries followed by passages illustrating how terms were used in context. Clark works closely with Awaiaulu, dedicated to fostering Hawaiian knowledge today.
–Christine Thomas for the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, On My Shelf
Categories: Culture, Hawaii Authors, Hawaiiana, History, Surfing