Facebook Twitter Flickr E-mail

Thanksgiving Luau

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 .


-Anthony Perez



California, Here We Come!

It’s that time of year again!

STN founder Tom Bauer and our stellar staff member Ryley Snyder are in California and they want to see YOU!

Here’s how you can make that happen:

  • November 1st- STN Reunion Day at Huntington Beach Pier, Southside Pier from 10-1 !  Everyone is welcome. Come bring what you would like to eat and we will have a simple BBQ. It’s a time to catch up, talk story and surf! Lunch will be at 12, but feel free to come any time between 10 and 1!
  • November 7th-  There will be surf sesh/gathering for people that are interested in coming out to STN at T Street, San Clemente from 9-11 AM.
Tom and Ryley will also be hitting up the High Desert on the 4th,  Westmost College on the 5th, and San Diego on the 6/7th!


Stay updated on their whereabouts by following our facebook and instagram, and using the insta hashtag  #stnrecruit !

The Youth Of Wahiawa Thrive in Ulu Pono

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 brittany.southwick@surfingthenations.com



Ulu Pono Camping Trip


Serving at Feeding The Hungry


Busy At Work At The Genius Factory!



Hurricane Playlist: Pepa Knight

I sat in the Surfers Coffee Bar on an ordinary work day, trying to think of a band to write about for a weekend music feature.My friend, Tyler, was visiting from California and plopped down next to me as I stared blankly at my screen, weary from browsing. Seeing the chance to get some fresh ideas, I asked him to tell me a good band that I may have not heard of before. He grabbed his phone, scrolled through some music and threw out a name that was to become my new favorite band: ‘Jinja Safari’.

Fast forward to a few years later: Still growing in popularity and stretching beyond the borders of their native Australia, Jinja not only thrives as a group, but is made up of insanely talented solo musicians. Cofrontman of the band, Pepa Knight is one of those who has branched out to produce a solo project, and the first samples are TASTY.

Today, we introduce you to perhaps his most popular single, ‘Rahh!’

Pepa creates a surprising sound, picking colorful, lesser-used instruments like the sitar and the flute to accompany soothing, yet energy-filled vocals.
‘Rahh!’s use of drums- a very significant and spiritual instrument in many cultures- sets it all to life; carrying the song and waking you up with the rhythm of adventure. Jinja Safari was inspired by the sounds of the world, with frontman Marcus Azon crafting the feel and even the name of the band after his experiences in Jinja, Uganda. Pepa recently took a trip himself across India and that has heavily inspired what he’s written.

The fact that the creator of the music is a globe-trotter himself may explain the vagabond feeling that you get when you hear ”Rahh!’
It’s a song that seems made to accompany an epic sun rise; a reminder of the fresh and the new. It was made for one of those car rides where your arm stretches out of your window, and your fingertips float with the curves of the wind. It’s an ‘I’m awake to the world and going somewhere!’ song.

Inspiring, fun, refreshing.
It’s everything you want your weekend, or your life for that matter, to be.

Enjoy the sounds of Pepa Knight and follow him here as you wait for the release of the full album ‘Hypnotized’ in April 2015!


Falling In Love With FTH: A California Girl’s Story

STN’s Feeding the Hungry (FTH) program is 16 years in the running and one of the biggest food distribution productions in Hawaii. FTH has been featured on several news channels and in multiple news publications. Throughout FTH’s two main locations for food distribution, we distribute 30-40,000 pounds of food donated by the Hawaii Food Bank and Aloha Harvest to over 2,100 individuals in need. Regardless of how the numbers continue to grow, it’s the personal stories and individual experiences that keep us loving this life of service.


Rachael Andersen came to STN from Southern California specifically to work with Feeding the Hungry.


Rachael and STN go way back: Tom and Cindy Bauer, the founders of STN, were leaders at YWAM (Youth With A Mission) during her mother’s time there. Rachael followed in her mother’s steps and came to Oahu to work with YWAM. Through an unexpected turn of events, Rachael was unable to join her YWAM team on an international trip, and instead, chose to work with STN during that time. It was then that Rachael experienced and fell in love with FTH. “I was doing so much more than passing out food; I was building relationships,” Rachael explains “I got to know people’s names and their stories and see them on a regular basis.”


Through the closing of doors in one area, a world of opportunity opened up in another. “ I came to STN thinking it would just be a short term thing, but now I’m full-time staff with FTH and I love it!” Rachael says. “I love being busy. I get to see everything, interact with the people we are serving and all the volunteers. It’s so fast-paced and there are so many people to see.” Rachael and the other FTH staff and volunteers work 10-11 hours on distribution days and interact with almost 700 people. “It’s so exhausting, but so rewarding. I look forward to it every week.”


FTH’s food distribution program goes to Kalihi every week, alternates weeks in Waikiki and Wahiawa and goes once a month to Waianae. “It’s so satisfying to begin a day with 24,000 lbs of food and see it disappear throughout the day as it goes to families in need”. Seeing the people she interacts with throughout the week is one of the highlights of her job.

Rachael’s love of serving others began long before her arrival at STN. The high school she went to in Murrieta, CA had a small food distribution on Wednesday nights which she regularly served at. Once a month, she would also go to downtown San Diego and participate in a distribution whose primary participants consisted of Hispanic immigrants.


“It’s always been about building relationships. Growing up, I never wanted to be a missionary, but I’ve always loved helping people.” Rachael attributes her passion for service to her family upbringing. “I come from a good family and stable household, but both of my parents were raised by single mothers and lived off of food stamps. They taught me not to take things for granted.” Instilled with the value of being thankful, Rachael views her parents as the inspiration for her love for volunteering and serving others less fortunate than her.


Rachael first volunteered with FTH three years ago and has now been working with FTH as full-time staff almost every week for the past eight months. “The physical and mental demands are pretty tough,” she said. “It takes a hundred percent of my brain capacity a hundred percent of the time. Even on lunch breaks people are wanting to talk to you and ask questions or just hang out. You’re on your feet and socially ‘on’ the whole time; trying to be friendly and professional simultaneously.”


Despite the wear and tear on her body and mind, the rejuvenation in her heart keeps Rachael constantly looking forward to food distribution days. “Having the mindset that it’s enjoyable to serve people and that you can be ‘silly’ and let loose, in a sense, allows volunteers to have fun. It makes it less of a chore to serve,” she said. The relational aspects of FTH help to foster this kind of fun and familiar environment. “It’s like when you go to church or your old neighborhood and you get to see a whole bunch of people that you know and say hello to all of them. It’s like a family reunion every week”.


FTH has grown a lot since Rachael first volunteered with the program three years ago during her DTS. “It was pretty chaotic then, and now it’s really peaceful. That is a big change.” FTH has come a long way and is at a great place, but Rachael hopes that it continues to grow and develop even better coordinated orchestration. “I’d like to see FTH providing more services than just food-related needs,” she said. “Right now we have a lady bringing free cell phones for people and a man setting people up with medical aid.” Rachael’s passion for education also adds to her desire to see FTH grow. “There are people who want to learn; foreigners who need language classes, single mothers needing a career and people who haven’t finished high school,” she said. “Someday, I would like it to be that there is no more FTH because we aren’t needed anymore and people are taken care of.”


Farther down the line, Rachael hopes to become a teacher. She said, “Passionate teachers are way better than passive ones. So, having gotten to see so many different sides of life, I know I want to work with at-risk kids rather than middle-class or upper-class kids. Working with FTH is helping me to line those kinds of things up. Someday, I’d like to have my own food distribution in San Diego.”


If you, like Rachel, have a passion for seeing needs met, you can join FTH by volunteering, donating goods (i.e. finances, food, clothes or household items) or simply spreading the word about what is happening here.


Email us at info@surfingthenations.com

Details concerning distribution times and locations can be found at: http://surfingthenations.com/fth/

Check out more photos from FTH on our Flickr


Written By: Akela Newman

Sri Lankan Surf Safari

After his first trip with Surfing The Nations to Sri Lanka way back in 2008, Brendon Johnson is looking forward to leading the surf adventure to the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. We accompany him down memory lane to his trip 6 years ago to the war-torn nation and hear his thoughts about what the next month in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka is going to bring.



I’m excited to go back and see the change from 2008. Sri Lanka is a really rugged environment and only the really adventurous tourists would go there. The trip was incredible back then: we really had that surf safari approach checking out surf spots, riding those little three-wheel tuktuks loaded up with boards, just going out to explore. It was a really awesome way to be immersed in a culture that still wasn’t really used to foreigners. We came face to face with Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, and all of them had their own subcultures within Sri Lankan culture. I was just soaking it all up, seeing how they relate to one another there. Being open to that created a big awareness for me – it taught me to be flexible in building cross-cultural relationships. I had a lot to learn!

The surf is really fun. Every morning I went out, it was really glassy and pumping right hand waves. It would barrel in some sections and then go really flat and then connect again and go around this point. Then when you’re done surfing the wave, you basically walk onto the beach, walk around the point and start all over again!

I was around where all the local hardcore surfer boys were and they knew exactly where to take off and knew how to scoop around the tourists. If you stayed of their way, they were cool with you but they don’t want you getting in their way –everyone eventually learns the hierarchy.



We know a bunch of local people, since we’ve been going consistently for the past 11 years, especially this kid named Babu. He is a young surfer who’s really open to enriching his life and who has always been an amazing help to us on our trips.

The three-day Red Bull “Ride My Wave” surf contest happens right as we touch down and Babu is going to be in there with all the other hardcore local surfers.

We’re going to support him at the contest and he’s going to be getting his own special surfboard to compete with. We see him as someone who is going to bring some of that positive change to Sri Lanka’s surf environment, which has been a “taking” environment in a lot of ways. Some of the young guys learn to surf on their own and don’t know how to properly teach others about surfing, or giving to the community. We’re really trying to nurture that “giving back” aspect to this young man and he is really receptive.

What the local guys know about surf culture is almost exclusively from surf magazines, and it’s so far from their Sri Lankan and religious culture that it brings this contrast and conflict. The older people don’t respect it and the young kids just think they’re supposed to chase girls, get drunk, and live a wild life. They see surfing as a life of self-gratification.

We’re saying that that’s not what surfing is! Maybe that’s what marketing uses to sell the brand but it doesn’t show that positive side. Surfing is a fun lifestyle, and you can teach kids about the ocean and water safety, about taking care of the environment and enriching their lives.

We’re also going to be doing some community projects like beach clean-ups, working on some poor families’ properties, where we can get really hands on.

We are also lining up a teaching opportunity at a local Muslim school where we will be teaching English. We’ll go spearfishing for sure – the fishing is incredible! Whatever fish we catch, we give away to help feed local families, like Babu’s. It’s a good way to model that service and “giving back”.



Philippines 2014

Imagine yourself on a crowded ferry boat with about 200 other people all on the same deck. It’s late at night and there are bunk beds stacked all around you. Very few of them are being used, however, because everyone is mingling and conversing; sharing names and sharing stories, making a speedy transition from stranger to friend.

A guitar is pulled out and songs and laughter are exchanged. Food is passed around as if this midnight ferry ride is a family picnic. By the end of the trip, it is basically true because you’ve been welcomed into the hearts of many Filipinos who will consider you family thereafter. Now, stop imagining and go experience this as reality.

(Photo: Camille Abernathy, STN Staff)

The fourth annual surfing adventure tour to the Philippines is just around the corner! October 8 through November 1, you are invited to join STN Staff and volunteers as they travel to the islands of Siargao and Cebu (and take a ferry ride similar to the one above!), reaching out to impoverished youth, volunteering at orphanages, teaching at local schools and, of course, surfing with the Filipino community.

Brendon Johnson, on staff with STN, spent 17 years in the Philippines as a missionary kid, but didn’t realize it was a surf destination until after he had left for college. Years later, he returned to the islands on a surfing trip, and again in 2009 to help pioneer STN’s first outreach trip. Johnson will also be leading this year’s trip, marking the 4th annual of its kind.   (Photo: Far Right – Brendon Johnson, STN Staff)

While in the Philippines, the team stays with a local couple, Jing and Jasmine. “We met Jing in the water (at Cloud 9 surf break) a couple days after first arriving in the Philippines,” said Johnson, “He told us we had to stay with him.” Jing and his wife were there at Cloud 9 when the first surfers arrived. Jing was one of the first to tame the faces of this epic break, and lives only a short five-minute motorcycle ride away from the famous surf break.


What is special about the Filipino culture is the purity of their hospitality in which they offer their very best with absolutely no strings attached. “You’ll go to their house for a ten-minute visit and they’ll just start cooking chicken for you,” Johnson said. “It’s not like here in America though, they only eat chicken about twice a month, but their value of hospitality is so high that they’ll pull out the best they have to offer you right away,” he said. (Photo: Dave Winters)

“The Filipinos warmth is contagious, the surf is amazing, and the travel is adventurous,” Johnson said, “If you go on this trip, you’ll immediately want to adopt a whole bunch of Filipinos into your extended family.”






To apply for the trip or get more information about it, go to:  www.surfingthenations.com/philippines/

For more photos from our trips to The Philippines, check out our album on Flickr.

Waves For Water

We love water, whether we are in it, on it, observing it or ingesting it.

As surfers, the interaction between our bodies, surfboards, and the wave is something we live for. However, as human beings, water is more than just something we enjoy playing in, but a critical part of everyday living.  Unfortunately, access to clean water is a luxury often taken for granted.

Recognizing this reality, Waves for Water (W4W) decided to take action. W4W is a humanitarian, non-profit organization that helps provide communities around the world with clean water via portable filters. The idea is to make clean water available to those in need through an exponential community effort rather than a one-time mass donation.  With this mindset, W4W has partnered with Hurley International to create a DIY volunteer program called Clean Water Couriers (CWC).

CWC provides a platform for globetrotters from different backgrounds and interests to give back to the various communities they encounter by distributing water filters. This opportunity was one that STN could not pass up, and has now become an official Clean Water Courier through W4W.

Adding to their ingenuity, filters are very simple to manufacture and transport. All that is required are paint buckets, a knife or any tool to make holes, and the spigots and ceramic-drip filters that W4W produce. STN had a first-hand experience with the filters on its last outreach trip to Bangladesh. “We set up the filter in a school from a poor area,” said Zach Trein, International Outreach staff member. “Taking the water filters to Bangladesh for a trial run went amazing, so we’d love to bring them on all our international trips.” 

Next up for STN’s international outreach trips is North Korea (Check out our recent post about the trip: http://surfingthenations.com/from-north-shore-to-north-korea-2/, and the video of when W4W went to North Korea: http://www.wavesforwater.org/project/north-korea). W4W introduced the filters to North Korea in October 2012 and will partner with STN this month to bring even more filters. A single filter costs $25-50 and can provide approximately 100 people with clean water for up to five years. At STN, our long-term goal is to raise $5,000 for 100 filters in order to bring several on each of our trips. That could mean clean water for over 10,000 people around the world. 

Part of what connects humanity despite differences in interests, backgrounds, communication styles, etc, are our basic human needs. Not everyone surfs, but everyone needs clean water to drink. Help us reach across barriers and show love, in North Korea and around the world, through alleviating the need for the most basic element of life.

If you are interested in helping to create clean water waves through our International Outreaches, donate here through the W4W website: http://www.wavesforwater.org/courier/surfing-the-nations-impacts-local-and-international-communities-through-the-sport-of-surfing-selfless-service-by-meeting-needs-and-changing-lives

Learn more at: http://www.wavesforwater.org

Written By: Akela Newman

From North Shore to North Korea

There are very few unexplored frontiers remaining in the world of surfing! These territories remain un-surfed primarily because of their remote and geographically hazardous locations such as Antarctica, West Africa and Eastern Russia. However, there is one country with a much more accessible location, having approximately 1,550 miles of coastline that have yet to be explored via surfboard – North Korea.

In 2003, STN was the forerunner of surfing and surf culture in Bangladesh. This year, we have a similar opportunity to pioneer the sport in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (a.k.a. North Korea) through an invitation to host two surf camps…which we, of course, could not pass up.

At the end of July, our team of 19 STN members from around the world (including countries such as Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Australia and the USA) will be working in conjunction with Pyongyang Ocean Sports Club and other non-profit humanitarian organizations who foster community development and relief work. The surf camps will be held on the east coast of North Korea in the East China Sea, a region of water surrounding North Korea previously inaccessible. Now, however, we have been given the opportunity to enjoy the waves at STN’s surf camps: one at Shijung beach and the other at either Wonsan Bay or Majung.

Google satellite images show potential for epic (and completely empty) surf spots, revealing sneak-peeks at sandy-bottomed beach breaks and point breaks striped with an endlessly rolling lineup. In addition to taking a traditional tour of the capital city, Pyongyang, the team will spend the majority of the two week trip ‘giving back’ by sharing their passion for the sport of surfing. STN will also be bringing surfboards, wetsuits, and other surf gear to give to the “new” North Korean surfers to keep up their stoke for surfing after our team departs. Along with establishing a long-term surf community, we are hoping this trip will build a bridge between STN and the people of North Korea and allow us to return annually in the future.



Be part of this trip! Send your support of surf gear or finances, email go@surfingthenations.com or visit surfingthenations.com/donate.

Photo Credit: http://www.arcticsurfblog.com/2012/07/surf-guide-to-north-korea/ 

Written By: Akela Newman

Bye Bye, Brothel!

The month of May was history-in-the-making for Surfing The Nations as we took another big step towards Transformation Wahiawa! The much-anticipated demolition of an old brothel in the back of our property has finally come to pass. After years of being used as a house for illegal drug dealing and sex-trafficking, the plot of land has been flattened in order to rebuild a community center in its place.  The “Outreach Training Center” (OTC), as it will be called, will include a food pantry, art & music rooms for our Ulu Pono Kids program as well as permanent offices for our staff.


As exciting as this is, we still need your help! As grants trickle in and needs continue to grow, we ask that you consider partnering with us as we continue to take steps towards making this block a better place for the youth of Wahiawa to grow up.