This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. Ka po'ina nalu (the surf zone) constitutes a Native Hawaiian realm, an overlooked space extremely significant to Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians). While surfing was a thriving aspect of Hawaiian culture in ancient days, in the twentieth century it served as both a refuge and a contested borderland for many Native Hawaiians. In other words, it was a place where Hawaiians felt free, developed Native identities, and thwarted foreign domination. This book provides a history of this contested Hawaiian surf zone by analyzing particular Hawaiian surfers, including ancient Hawaiians, Waikīkī surfers of the early 1900s, a radical environmentalist group called Save Our Surf, iconic professionals like Eddie Aikau, and finally the North Shore club Hui O He'e Nalu. These surfers are unique to Hawaiian history in that they provide examples of ardent and successful Hawaiian cultural-based resistance that thrived throughout the twentieth century. The book also addresses issues of Hawaiian manhood. Through the surfers discussed in this book, it is argued that Hawaiians did not always subscribe to stereotypes about Hawaiian men, but instead contested, rewrote, or creatively negotiated within them.
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