He’e nalu, the Hawaiian Art of Surfing
Hawaii is a surfer’s paradise. Volcanic activity, mild weather, and coral reefs create perfect and challenging waves on white, golden, green and black sand beaches. When the surf is up, the surfer’s heart dances with excitement as he eagerly anticipates the challenges of the great waves.
Hawaii is a surfer’s paradise. Volcanic activity, mild weather, and coral reefs create perfect and challenging waves on white, golden, green and black sand beaches. When the surf is up, the surfer’s heart dances with excitement as he eagerly anticipates the challenges of the great waves. The ancient Hawaiians called this feeling “hopupu”. Surfing means riding the waves with focus and balance, finding the perfect attitude between tension and flexibility. Surfers describe it as the very best feeling in the world.
They share a love for the ocean. It becomes their greatest teacher evoking deep respect, humbleness, and fear. With relaxed alertness the surfer watches the ever changing tide, the swell building or fading, the shape of the wave; until he finds the break and rides one of those big waves home. Surfing requires intense focus, strength, courage, and grace.
The history of surfing in Hawaii goes back to the 4th century A.D. To the ancient Hawaiian people surfing was a spiritual form of art which they integrated into their culture. They called it he’e nalu which means wave sliding. The art of riding the waves was a deeply spiritual skill and ritual in ancient Hawaii. The ceremony began with the creation of the olo (surfboard). After choosing a WiliWili, Ula, or Koa tree, Hawaiians faced towards the sea and said a prayer of thanks for the wood they would use. Then they honored the spirit of the tree by burying a fish underneath it.
Before entering the great ocean, Hawaiians performed a ceremony of special dances and chants asking for strength, protection, and great surf.
Around 1820, the missionaries prohibited surfing in Hawaii and it became nearly extinct until in 1905 a group of native Hawaiians, led by Duke Kahanamoku, revived surfing on the islands.
Today, surfing in Hawaii has become a way of life.
The magic of surfing inspired the creation of Mano (Shark), a Miniature Hawaiian Menehune Doll.
Here is part of Mano’s story:
Mano (Shark) is a Menehune he’e nalu (surfer) boy. Mano loves the Pacific Ocean and the surf is his greatest teacher. Mano knows that every wave presents a challenge of going with its flow. Mano watches the waves, feels them inside, and understands them with his mind. Surfing is magical; it has become his way of life. When the surf is up, Mano can’t wait to get into the ocean. His heart dances with hopupu (excitement) as he eagerly anticipates the challenges of the great waves. Mano flies along the sea, riding the waves with focus and balance, finding the perfect attitude between tension and flexibility. It is the very best feeling in the world.
Mano is named after his Aumakua (guardian spirit), the shark. It is a great honor in Hawaii to have the shark as your Aumakua. The shark evokes leadership, strength, and courage.
Mano always feels protected when he surfs because he knows that his Aumakua is watching over him.
Mano’s mana (spiritual energy) channels strength, courage and grace.
If you hanai (adopt) Mano he will always love and protect you, letting his strength, courage, and grace flow into you. Mano will guide you safely through the waters of life which sometimes may appear gloomy and dangerous…
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The beautiful, secluded mountains of Kau on the Big Island of Hawaii are my home. Creating Magical Hawaiian Menehunes is my passion. I was born and raised in Germany. Thirty years ago a coincidence caused me to move to Hawaii.
I am an artist, an educational assistant and a computer instructor at our local school. Living in Hawaii has been my greatest inspiration and led me to many wonderful things including the creation of Magical Hawaiian Menehunes.http://hawaiianmenehunes.blogspot.com/