On the nights of November Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd, we hosted our 2nd Annual Surf Art and the Surfer Art Show. The event was lead and coordinated by our Surfers Leadership School students as a part of their class project. Between both nights, over 350 people attended to see live art and the work of artists such as Paul Forney, Mark Brown, Leanna Duncan-Wolf, and many more. It was quite an extravaganza bringing the art community to Wahiawa. On Friday night, live music was provided by the Ron Artis II band, while Streetlight Cadence performed Saturday evening. Various vendors and foodtrucks participated in the event as well. Awareness was not only brought towards Surfing the Nations, but also Wahiawa and surfers in Bangladesh.
One of the significant moments of Saturday night was the presentation of a check for $60,000 for the building of the Community Outreach Training Center, given by First Hawaiian Bank.
President of First Hawaiian Bank, Sharon Shiroma Brown, who has been an advocate of STN from the beginning stages, presented the check.
”When I first got the offer on my desk from Surfing The Nations, I said to my friend ‘Take me there!’ I wanted to meet Cindy Bauer. I wanted to see what was happening in Wahiawa. It just surprised me, in terms of what was happening here (before), and I’m so glad I came out. I met Cindy and I saw her vision and how passionate she was; how committed she was to make this all happen and we (First Hawaiian Bank) are so proud to help in this transformation.
Check out photos from the event on our flickr page!
This holiday season, Walmart is running a Food Pantry Holiday Makeover campaign to help food pantries across the nation refresh their facilities. The competition is run via social media and the top 75 food pantries with the most votes will receive $20,000. Funds from this campaign would allow us to continue constructing the food pantry in our Community Outreach Training Center, and all it takes is five easy steps!
- Go to walmart.com/holidaymakeover
- Scroll down to where it says VOTE TODAY!
- Type Hawaii in the search bar
- Click VOTE under Surfing The Nations
- Share with all your friends and REMEMBER TO VOTE EVERY 24 HOURS!
(Voting ends 11:59 pm EST December 12th)
This year, Surfing The Nations is once again preparing to host a fall Thanksgiving event for the community of Wahiawa. This year’s event is luau themed! We are planning to bring the traditions of both the classic American Thanksgiving with that of the local Hawaiian community. Our motto here at STN is “Surfers Giving Back” and what a better time than Thanksgiving to show our amazing community just how much we love and appreciate them.
Our heart for this event is to provide a safe and loving environment where residents of our local community who might not have a place to spend Thanksgiving, can come together to share in a meal, fellowship with each other, and to enjoy the night’s festivities.
This is a completely free event being held on the STN grounds at 64 Ohai Street. Activities for the kids will include pie-eating, limbo, hula hoop contests, coconut bowling, and a photobooth. We’ll also have a “Thankful Tree” set up for people to write down things they’re thankful for on paper leaves and place on the tree.
In addition to the games, our very own Ulu Pono Kids program will be performing a traditional hula dance and live music for the night will be provided by local talent, Jeh. The night’s festivities will conclude with hula and fire dancing performed by Kalena’s Polynesian Ohana.
The dinner menu will boast delicious foods such as seasoned turkey and pineapple ham cooked in the ground traditional imu style, garlic mashed potatoes, corn, green beans, bread rolls, pumpkin pie and this year we will be barbecuing fresh caught ahi provided for us by Deep Blue Spearfishing Center.
All are invited to this Thanksgiving event taking place on Wednesday, November 26th from 4:30pm-7:30pm .
The Island of Oahu has some of the best waves in the world, creating a place where surfers of all kinds can thrive. Right in the middle of the island on the way to the legendary North Shore, lies the town of Wahiawa, a place many surfers drive by every day. We at STN love both surfing and Wahiawa and are constantly asking ourselves how to best incorporate the two while contributing to this town!
So, on November 21st and 22nd, 6-10 pm we want to put Wahiawa on the map and make this a culturally vivid place. Taking our passion for surfing, art, and Wahiawa, we are putting on our 2nd annual art festival, with the theme ‘’Surf Art & the Surfer”. We want to celebrate this sport and the people around it!
We are featuring some of the island’s top artists like Susanne Ball, Mark Brown, Peter Sterling, Ben Trail and many more! We are stoked to have secured an amazing live-music lineup including: The Ron Artis Family Band (Friday, 11/21/14 @ 9-10pm) and Streetlight Cadence (Saturday, 11/22/14, 6:30-7:30pm)! Our coffee bar – Surfer’s Coffee Bar- will be open for you to enjoy some delicious drinks and will also include exhibits and collections from surf icons like Mark Cunningham and Al Frenzel.
Something new we are excited to feature this year is a live art showcase each night. The live art will be done on surfboard blanks donated by John Carper, Eric Arakawa, and Ron Maize and will be custom-painted by local surfboard artists! The special edition boards will then be put up for online auction and all the proceeds will go to buying surfboards for kids in Bangladesh!
All of STN’s property, parking lots, and Kamehameha storefronts will be full of surf art, photography, food, live music, vendors and live art. Come join the festivities and help us make Wahiawa come alive!
The Philippines team arrives back in the Hawaii tomorrow!
We have been drooling over their insta feeds…believe it or not, there is a natural beauty that even surpasses Hawaii, and it’s all over the remote Philippine islands!
We’ll give you a full update on what the team got up to when they return, but for now, here’s some travel eye candy to add to your Halloween bucket.
Unleash the wanderlust and sign up for next year’s trip now!
Photos by Mitchell Guapo, Kate Amm, Allie Wiebe, Mirjam Torstenston, Adriana Weber.
1) The boardwalk to Cloud 9. 2) Taking advantage of secret surf spots! 3) Cuteness overload 4) Getting ready to go help out at a food distribution 5) Speaking of food…a lechon on Dako Island 6) The men take the weight and lug donations from village to village…in some inventive ways! 7) The adventure and beauty of the Philippines is endless 8) Kids line up to receive a snack 9) Sunset watching on Jing and Jasmin’s boat.
The Middle East trip has been an integral part of STN’s international program for years.
From the shores of Egypt to the ruins of Turkey, no trip looks quite like the other, but each one offers an incredible amount of adventure.
Surfing The Nations is excited to announce this year’s Winter trip is to the intoxicating land of Morocco!
The trip is full for this year, but stay tuned for updates on the trip and follow the team on instagram with the hashtag #stngo
Cover photo from dragonkiteschool.com
Today’s blog comes from Katie Redmond, our incredible, world-traveling humanitarian barista at Surfers Coffee Bar! Katie just recently returned from an STN surf trip to Sri Lanka! Here she shares about the land of the Jungle Book and all she experienced there.
In 1998, Sri Lanka breached the radar of Surfing the Nations. STN found the world-class point break wave known as Main Point on the tip of Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka. Sixteen years later, I had the privilege of seeing this masterpiece with my very own eyes on the 12th annual Surfing The Nations outreach trip.
Myself and five others trekked across the width of Sri Lanka from Colombo to Arugam Bay where we spent the entirety of our 24 day trip. Our team consisted of five who came with Surfing The Nations, and we were also joined by a couple from Italy, a team from Bali, a team from Southern California, and a local family.
In an environment with a widespread mix of locals and tourists, it was refreshing to stay in a village where we could really get to know the people. I could take a walk through the village and see faces that have names I knew at every turn. We held a number of activities during our stay: women’s tea, surf school, movie night, and, my favorite, Family Night.
On Family Night, we would hop in a tuk tuk to the next city and bought multitudes of chickens, coconuts, vegetables, spices and rice. The smells were overwhelming. Surrounded by mothers, daughters, and sisters, we sat crowded on a single mat on the floor, cutting kilos of vegetables and the largest amount of garlic I have ever seen. We then started serving families the creation we made. We started with 70 paper plates and soon found ourselves scrounging for more. Ninety people ate dinner with us in one night. These evenings were filled with laughter, family, dancing, spicy food, and warmth. The families adopted us into theirs so quickly; I marvel at their acceptance and long to be back in it.
Whether the waves were pumping way overhead or barely a ripple, we surfed and swam the East coast of Sri Lanka. Joining us were children and women who once were terrified of the ocean as they watched it rip their village apart in the 2004 tsunami. I watched a woman who once would not leave her home alone catch her first wave, and I understood her reality in a new way. In a highly Muslim community, infused with Buddhism and Hinduism, it is not a culture that is comfortable with women surfers. This woman was also mother of a Sri Lankan surfer and she has seen the opportunities her son had been given through surfing. He competed in the Red Bull Ride My Wave competition, and she began to encourage the girls in her family to surf.
In a culture so founded on family, it is surprising to see the absence a father figure plays in the children’s lives. As we surfed or swam with the local boys daily, we found they were longing to be involved in everything we did. They even volunteered to help us rebuild the STN Sri Lankan property fence. A group of eight 16 year old boys, one father, and the 5 of us partially clueless team members worked side by side for days and hours. These boys with pasts I can barely put into words simply want to be wanted and to do something significant.
Finally, the day to leave the country I had come to love arrived. We walked the village, stopping house to house to say our goodbyes. One of the 16 year old boys we spent a lot of time with hugged us all and simply said, “No goodbye. See you later”.
Until next time Sri Lanka, until next time
Today’s blog post comes from Ulu Pono director Brittany Southwick. The Ulu Pono program has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, and with the continued support of local charities and volunteers, so have the kids! Brittany writes about the amazing summer that the Ulu Pono kids an teens had and tells us what’s happening this school year
“The summer of 2014 brought deeper relationships, more fun and education to the Ulu Pono Department at Surfing the Nations. Over the months of June and July, we traveled all around the island every Wednesday and Thursday giving the youth experiences outside of Wahiawa, that, realistically, they would usually not be able to have. Using funding from grants received from Friends of Hawaii Charities, we took them to the Honolulu Zoo, Bishop Museum, snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, to volunteer at our Feeding the Hungry outreach and even took some of the teens camping for a weekend on the North Shore! The Summer Program is designed to keep the kids out of trouble that they get into during the summer when they are bored, and stuck in Wahaiwa with nothing to do. It rewards them for being consistent with their attendance during the school year, and helps us to get to know the kids on an even deeper level as we spend more time with them.
Now that summer is over, the school year has been in full swing with our Genius Factory program on Wednesdays as well as a brand-new community outreach on Saturday afternoons! Genius Factory focuses on the younger demographic, Pre-school to 5th grade, providing free after school homework help, virtue lessons and healthy outlets such as dance, community clean-ups and art lessons. Our newest outreach, the Ohai Community BBQ is just taking off here in September as a way to reach out to the teenage demographic of Wahiawa. This presents an opportunity for us to connect with not only the kids of Wahiawa, but their families as well. Students from our internship program are involved in our Ulu Pono outreaches each week, fostering an even more community-minded lifestyle within Surfing the Nations. Ulu Pono means “To thrive on a Righteous Path” which is our heart behind the program- and none of it would be possible without the support and grant money from Friends of Hawaii Charities each year. We are so thankful and honored to receive their support and know that none of this is possible without them. We are looking forward to the 2014-2015 school year and all the growth that is going to happen in each one of our kids! ” – BS
To find out how you can volunteer or if you’d like more information on the Ulu Pono program, email email@example.com
In a history-making moment this past July, 19 surfers departed the USA, Europe, Asia and Australia to bring one of the most freeing experiences known to man – surfing – to the most closed nation on earth: The Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea (a.k.a. North Korea). Each person returned with incredible stories about a country that very few foreigners have experienced.
The main purpose of the trip was to lead two surf camps, showing the North Koreans how to enjoy their coastline with the sport of wave riding. The students were 10 tour guides from the country’s official tour group, Korean International Travel Company (KITC). Along with the surf camps, the team spent a total of 10 days within the DPRK touring the capital, Pyongyang, visiting museums and experiencing various exhibitions of North Korean culture.
Julie Nelson, staff member at STN and one of the first women to surf the shores of North Korea, planned and led the surf camps along with co-worker Ryley Snyder. “It was surreal,” explained Julie, “I grew up watching films like The Endless Summer but it’s crazy to think that such isolated places like those in the film still exist today!” Even though the concept of surfing was completely new to the North Koreans, they met the new sport with a strong enthusiasm. “People were so excited to surf that they even tired us out!” Ryley said.
At the end of the surf camps the team held an awards ceremony, in which each instructor affirmed and acknowledged their KITC pupils and then gave them each a chance to speak about their experience. “I specifically remember three of the people who shared,” long-term staff member Robert McDaniel said. “The man I taught to surf was probably the best surfer of the group. He stood up the most and was the most active. I remember pushing him on a wave and thinking that if the one reason I came to North Korea was for this one wave, then it was enough. At the awards ceremony he stood up and told us, ‘Surfing is my best friend.’ Among the other participants, was a man who shared that he believes surfing is bringing peace between Korea and America. Another KITC surf pupil shared, ‘Surfing has made me brave. Before this I didn’t want to try things…I was afraid. Now I want to try new things.’”
Of course, everyone wants to know what the surf was like in North Korea! For two of the surf days the coast was like a lake, but on the third day an offshore typhoon generated a little swell, perfect for beginning surfers. The final day, consistent, glassy, overhead sets came in. The STN team had an amazing session all to themselves, and their students were treated to a show of the best surfing they’d ever seen. The locals of the Majon area named the surf spot “Pioneers”.
Robert, who has served on STN’s international department and been on most of STN’s international surf trips, said that in comparison to all his travels, nothing was quite like North Korea. “This was the first time seeing surfing enter a country. Being able to witness the first moments of a nation’s surf history was incredible. People know Hawaii as the first place that was surfed, and you just wonder, could North Korea be known as one of the last?’’
STN is hoping that this is not the last time they’ll be in North Korea, and with the stoke already spreading in the country, there is sure to be a demand for more boards besides the 13 they already left behind on this trip, knowledge and instruction in the future. STN is excited to see North Koreans gain a love for the water in their own country, and become, like the surf spot, ‘Pioneers’ for the surf culture of North Korea.
The Surf Camp
And when the surf picked up…