Surfing Like Ancients: Hawaii Rooted

Tom Pohaku Stone handcrafts traditional Hawaiian surfboards to ride the waves of time on the windward side of Oahu.

Tom’s favorite surfboard is not a modern fiberglass board, but the board he has built with his own hands, using techniques that have been passed down through generations.
He first learned of hand-crafting wooden surfboards from his father, who once carved a board for him in the traditional way. Although as a child he told his father he hated the traditional surfboard, 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 have surfed waves for generations, and will always continue to surf waves. For him, standing upon a wood board is like listening to a beautiful symphony, 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. By perfecting the art of crafting surfboards in the traditional Hawaiian way, he feels it’s his kuleana (responsibility) to continue passing on the tradition to the next generation.

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