Tom "Pohaku" Stone

"I heard the kahea kahiko, the old call, and I stopped denying my
culture. I started wanting to rediscover the old ways."


  • A.A. Windward Community College, Kane'ohe, Hawai'i 1995
  • B.A. University of Hawai'i, Manoa, 1998.
    (*Hawaiian Studies)
  • M.A. University of Hawai'i, Manoa 2002.
    (*Pacific Island Studies)
  • Historic Preservation Certificate, UHM -5/2002
    (*Dept. of American Studies)
  • M.A. University of Hawai'i, Manoa 2002.
    (*American Studies In progress - expected completion date 5/04)


  • First papahe'enalu wiliwili (olo surfboard) constructed in contemporary times (June 2003)
  • Featured in articles on Surfing and Hölua sledding in Surfer Magazine, Surfing Magazine, Surfers Path, International Surfing and International Windsurfer Magazine (Europe)
  • First to windsurf every channel of Hawai'i; only windsurfer (and paddleboard) to sail O'ahu to Kaua'i ('85 - '87)
  • Canoe voyaged the entire length of the eight major Hawaiian Islands
  • Solo paddleboard Moloka'i to Waikiki, 1996; 2 crossings in less than 2 weeks
  • Moloka'i to O'ahu Paddleboard race, 2002
  • Moloka'i to O'ahu Paddleboard race, 1997
  • Paddleboard attempt O'ahu to Kaua'i, 1998 (longest paddleboard attempt on record, 120 miles)
  • Organizer of Ho'olaule'a o Lono-Makahiki, UH-Mänoa, Nov. 1997, 98, 99,02
  • Organizer of the Blue Water Open Ocean Challenge, 1987; 1st group Windsurfing and sailing canoe channel crossing
  • Organizer of Surfing Expression Session at Sunset Beach, 1991, 92, & 93
  • 1978 -1993:  Ocean Safety Officer II & III, City & County of Honolulu.
    * Provided services to insure the safety of the public at various beaches throughout O'ahu; oversaw training and development of staff; District Supervisor responsible for all district operations, personal, scheduling and payroll, equipment, training, and public safety (Areas worked - Sunset, Pipeline, Waimea Bay, Makapu'u, Sandy Beach, Kailua Beach, Waikiki, etc.)


"It's a blood sacrifice," Tom Pohaku Stone says, his torn and blistered hands proving his point as he pulls tight another crucial knot in the thin, rough coconut-fiber lashing of the papa holua. "You bleed when you make the sled, and you bleed when you ride it."



Since 1994, Pohaku has been teaching kids about holua through a variety of Hawaiian cultural and educational groups, like this summer youth group from the Mohala ka 'Ike program at Maui Community College.

Tom "Pohaku" Stone, a legendary native Hawaiian surfer and waterman, has been on a life long journey in search of his cultural heritage. Starting in the ocean surfing as a young boy, Pohaku grew up in a world of contradiction. Part of his life was surrounded by beauty and pride, surfing in the paradise where he was born, while another part was surrounded by a world of frustration, where his native culture was cast aside as backwards and ignorant. Through his career as a pro surfer Pohaku often battled this contradiction, always searching for clarity and unity between his pride as a waterman and what he deeply felt should be his pride as a Hawaiian.

It has been through education that Pohaku has been able to find clarity. Using his love of he'e nalu (surfing) and his culture as a focal point Pohaku has spent the last ten years at the University of Hawaii , gaining his masters degree in Pacific Island Studies, specializing in ancient Hawaiian sports. He is credited with single handedly revitalizing the sport of he'e holua (Hawaiian sledding), a centuries old extreme sport, and for the past several years he has been sharing his knowledge and his aloha as a teacher and craftsman, instructing students in the arts of sled building and ancient surf board carving.

Through this balance of riding, teaching, and craftsmanship, Pohaku has found peace within himself and a sense of pride in his culture that can never be broken. It is this peace and pride that is put into every papa holua and papa he'e nalu he crafts, making these works of art truly "He mea Kanaka Maoli - Native Made."



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