It's time for the waves to be UP at Waimea Bay!
To ancient Hawaiians, surfing (he'e nalu), the "sport of kings," was a celebration of talent, grace, and courage. The art of wave riding was the passionate heart of the society.
A timeless ritual of language, religion, and song, ali'i (chiefs) carefully chose the tree for the wood of their carved olo, kiko'o (long) or alaia (short) board.
About the spectacular sport, Captain Cook wrote: "The boldness with which we saw (the Hawaiians) perform these difficult and dangerous maneuvers was altogether astonishing."
Waikiki's beach boys, led by Hawaii's greatest surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku, rose to fame in the 1930s. They taught tourists how to surf the Pacific and transformed the island into a mecca for surfers searching for that "perfect wave."
"The perfect wave ride can be found anywhere," explained Kekai Kahanamoku, Duke's son. "You can't just pick the spot. You have to be lucky enough to be there. Whatever the waves offer you, you take it and make the best of it."
Today surfers continue to ride the dangerous wall of pulsing waves--thousands of tons of water that can be over 20 feet high. On Oahu's North Shore, the "seven mile miracle" stretches from Sunset Beach to Haleiwa and includes the surfing spots of legend--Banzai Pipeline, Ehukai, Waimea Bay, Chuns Reef, and Laniakea.
"Paddle, paddle, paddle!" described writer Catherine E. Toth. "You dig in, pushing yourself, faster, faster, faster, until you're riding the face, flying toward the shore."
Veteran Hawaiian surfer Jason Kimura had "a feeling of euphoria" after his first ride. His advice to novices who want to hit the waves? "You should know your abilities. Go with somebody who is experienced with the surf break, who has surfed before... If in doubt, don't paddle out."
Experience life's thrill. Ride your wave.