“To say this program is unique is a gross understatement, the fact is that no other program in the State of Hawai‘i or the entire United States incorporates the active mentorship that Surfrider Spirit Session does.”
~ Judge R. Mark Browning, Hawai‘i Family Court
Kids love us!
Surfing is COOL. Surfers are Rad. Our kids want to be one of us and that makes all the difference. Kids actually request to be in our program and judges and probation officers often use us as a reward.
Once in, kids get stoked on new identities as “cool surfers” and members in our positive “Surf ‘Ohana” community.
When I go surfing, I can just have fun and forget about everything.
The ocean is my healing place.”
He‘e Nalu, to slide on churning water, to start anew
In Hawaiian, surfing is called he‘e nalu . Literally translated, it means “to slide on churning water;” however, its significance is reflected in the deeper meaning of one of its root words: nalu, which also means “amniotic fluid.” When we are born we can be thought to he‘e nalu. To the Hawaiian sensibility, surfing is a means of celebrating life. To go into nalu is to return to the womb, to cleanse, and to leave it is to be born anew. The ancient Hawaiian ritual of pi kai, or pi wai, is the practice of cleansing in water to wash away negativity and impurity.
We surf together and become family
We teach our youth that when we he‘e nalu together, we are sharing the nalu of mother earth. In the process of he‘e nalu we become ‘ohana (family). With us, youth have an opportunity to wash away their past mistakes, traumas and stresses. When we return to the beach, we can all start fresh and find ways to give back to our aina (land) and each other. Together we malama aina (take care of the land) thought beach clean-ups as a mahalo (thank you) for the time enjoyed in the surf. Youth take pride in knowing they have contributed to our community by practicing and helping to preserve a cherished Hawaiian tradition and are part of a positive community.