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The Freedom Surf Contest

The anticipation is in the air when you show up at the beach in the morning.

Your hoodie is still on because the Hawaii sun hasn’t lingered over Waikiki long enough yet.

You see judges make their way to the scaffolding with coffee in hand.

You’re about to surf Queen’s with just a handful of friends in a fun competition.

Playing games in the sand, setting up your hammock and hanging out with friends

while live music plays, are the few things on your schedule for the remainder of the day.


These are just a few memories that people have made when over the past several years of the Freedom Surf Contest.

This September, we are bringing it all back to you!

September 27-29th, The seventh annual Freedom Surf Contest is happening at Kuhio Beach in Waikiki. This year’s contest will also be featuring The Surf Garage Hawaiian Nose-Riding Championship and the ITSA Prom/AM Tandem Hawaiian Classic.

The Freedom Surf Contest is one of our favorite weekends because it really is fun for everyone! Three different surf contests, live music and entertainment, all in a family-friendly environment.

Come enjoy the weekend with us as we celebrate a drug-free Hawaii and promote a positive image of surfing. Bring your surfboard, your hammock, your volleyball, your friends, your family and get ready to make some great memories!

See you there!

Register for the FSC here.

Any questions? surf@surfingthenations.com

Not Your Average Family Trip

Today’s blog is from an extraordinary woman, Carla Hanes. This year, she and her husband and their three young boys are embarking on a life changing trip to Bali, Indonesia. It would be easy for this Alabama family to find a much easier trip to go on, especially with their youngest son being 4 years old, but Carla knows that this is an invaluable experience. Here, she shares with us why it’s important for her family to do this, and what she’s experienced through the process thus far.

The Hanes household is officially on count down: Taylor, Carla, Jack, Luke and Tay have 28 days to raise $10,000 so that we can join the 15th annual Surfing the Nations trip to Bali! The Bali adventure is a dream that’s been a long time coming. My husband, Taylor and I, have talked, planned and dreamed of taking our boys on an outreach trip for years. Jack and Luke are 9 year old twins and Tay is 4.

We firmly believe that the sooner children can see the world on a global scale, the better. Shaping our kids’ worldview is one of the most important jobs we are tasked with as parents. I grew up traveling internationally, joining my parents and three younger sisters in far-flung nations from China to Russia to Tahiti. As my sisters and I often say, once adventure travel is in your blood, there’s no escaping it. The experience of traveling and being exposed to foreign cultures and diverse people groups is an education unlike any other.
 
It’s true that taking children under a certain age into foreign countries can seem a bit daunting. When the voices of those challenges seem a little louder than the excitement and reward of the adventure, I’m reminded that anything of significant and lasting value requires a leap, a risk, an embracing of the unknown. The other night as we were tucking our boys into bed, Luke said, “Mom, I’m excited because I know that we are going to get to help people and change their lives, but most of all, our lives are going to be changed.”
 
There are also the life lessons that have come from having to write support letters and hold car washes to raise the needed money. Learning the value of earning money to spend it not on oneself but on others takes the idea of selflessness to a new level – especially in the mind of a 9 year old. It has been especially rewarding to watch Jack and Luke’s friends come alongside and support them with their time, energy and allowance. These are the life experiences that shape a boys’ character – these are the lessons that remind us all to take the focus off ourselves and put it on others – when we do that, we are all nourished and we all grow.
 
We look forward to sharing stories of our adventures in Bali – not just this summer but for many to come! -CH

If you would like to help the Hanes family reach their goal and be a part of sending them to Bali, please email robert@surfingthenations.com and put in the subject line ‘Hanes Family.’

Jack, Luke and Tay are ready for an adventure!

Carla and Taylor

New Series: On Our Bookmarks Bar!

An organization is first of all, people.

At Surfing The Nations, people from several nations, backgrounds and influences come, bringing with them a countless number of interests.

One thing that we all have in common is that we all strive to live inspiring lives, and thus have our specific sources of inspiration.

In this new blog series, On My Bookmarks Bar we introduce an STN staff member and their favorite websites that they’ve bookmarked and continually frequent to keep their creative juice flowing.

We hope you find a few new favorites of your own, and get inspired!

On My Bookmarks Bar

Kirstin Anderson, Graphic Designer

From Naples, Florida, USA

 


1.) For all things design, I love to get inspiration from this site:

 

 2.) Radiolab is my source of food for thought. The podcasts are full of creative and interesting stories based on science. I like to mix it up and listen to this instead of having music on while I work.

3.)  I use these two websites to keep up on upcoming concerts. BAMP keeps me in the know with what shows are coming to Hawaii, and with songkick, you can search for shows in cities across the globe.

 

4.) I love getting new music from the Roxy Blog. Roxy is a brand that reflects the surf lifestyle and I can always find something I like from their picks.


5.)Refinery29 is one of my favorites to keep up on the trends in fashion.

feature photo: cultofmac.com

Aloha to long term staff member, Chris Rehrer!

Surfing The Nations bids farewell to its long-term staff member, Chris Rehrer. After eight years, three cities and over 15 countries with STN, he has left his mark on the character of this organization and impacted many lives around the world. Read to end to see where he’s off to next (ok, it’s Australia!) and all the fun bits in between to get the insider’s look at what it means to be a long-term staffer with STN. -GP

 

GP: What was your very first full day at STN like?

CR: I arrived on June 15, 2005 at Honolulu airport. I borrowed a cell phone to call the office (I’m old enough to not have owned a cell phone by the age of 21!). I was told to look for two girls driving a white van: Kristin Flynn – who would later be my co-worker for years – was one of the girls to pick me up. She put an orchid lei around my neck and threw me in the car, telling me how much I was going to love Surfing The Nations. We got on the highway to go to Kalihi valley, where STN was then located, when our car sputtered and ran out of gas. We sat in the middle of the intersection, so my first official STN duty was to push a 15-passenger van out of the middle of the road with the other girl in the car, my new little Brazilian friend Sophia. About 25 minutes later, the oldest man in the world to me at that time, Bobby Baggett (who is still with STN!), came down with a gas can to help us out. This was the start of my amazing adventure with STN.

Once we arrived at the property, I was greeted by a team packing for their trip to Indonesia. I met Hanna who was from Switzerland, David (Davo) Strigl who was from Florida, Sam Culver, Shane and Brad from Florida and some others. As I was unpacking, I got this crazy feeling. “What the heck am I doing?” I thought. “I just moved on a one-way ticket to an island in the middle of the ocean!” I soon realized that this was going to either be a terrible decision or a great one but I needed to simply embrace it for what it was and fight the urge to immediately buy a ticket back home.

In the afternoon my friend Petey Helenius, who had convinced me to go to Surfing The Nations with him, arrived and we talked about the adventure ahead. Pretty soon someone invited us to go to the beach to surf. We headed out to Kewalos and had a blast! I remember being surprised by the power of the waves even on the South Shore compared to what I had been used to in California. Later that night, we arrived back at STN where we were having an orientation for the Indonesia trip. I met some people who became my first local friends in Hawaii. They took us around over the next couple of days and taught us about what it was to be a Haole and if someone calls me a kook it’s probably not a good thing. I learned what a moke and titta were as well as how not to speak pidgin!

That was my first full day. The adventure started out amazing and has continued to be an incredible journey. I wouldn’t trade the past eight years of my life with Surfing The Nations, for anything. They are the best years of my life hands down! I will be forever changed from that first day.

 

GP: What’s the most exciting country you’ve been to with STN?

CR: It would probably be Iran. As soon as Tom and Kristin Flynn and I decided that we were going, people decided to tell us why it was impossible. We were told that we couldn’t get visas as Americans. We were told that if we did get in, we would be harassed by customs officials and put in prison. We were told that it was foolish and that we should look for a better time when it was safer to enter the country. After all of these warnings, we decided to go for it anyway. It was an amazing journey. We had no problems. Kristin and Nikki Beck went one way around the world from the US and Tom and I went through the Middle East. We stopped in Bahrain and Quatar and arrived in Tehran where our official guides met us. We drove through the night and woke up the next morning to fresh snow on the mountains. Throughout the next nine days we made amazing relationships with our guides, their wives, their families and friends. We were welcomed back and we met some of the friendliest people in the world. Everyone was blessed and curious as to why Americans would be coming to Iran when Iran and the USA were obviously so at odds politically.

I think that the risk we took to go there during a time when people said it was stupid, showed the Iranian people that we were just people too, that we didn’t hate Iran, that we loved people. We wanted to be genuine and kind and share life with people all around the world, no matter their religion, ethnic background or nationality. It was one of the greatest trips of my life. The cool thing about going where people aren’t willing to go is that they want to hear about what happened when you went. Tom and Kristin and I had so many opportunities to come and share what our experience was with people when we came back. People always want to be on the cutting edge of things but often times lack the ability to push themselves over. We had pushed the envelope and returned unscathed and now have the stories to tell personally. We lived the adventure on that trip and that’s why I love STN because it’s all about living the life that others want to live but often need an example to follow.

GP: At Surfing The Nations, you get to meet a lot of people and live with a lot of people. Over the past eight years, who has been your  best and/or worst and/or weirdest roommate?

CR: My best roommate was Andrew Carrier. He and I spent a couple of years together after my friend Peter Helenius left STN. I liked that we could both be either clean or dirty, which meant that often our room would look super clean and we would both be stoked and often it would look trashed and we would both be stoked!

I think the weirdest roommate I had was Niklas Eriksson because he had a whole closet full of strange moisturizers and lotions. I always told him he should open up a salon or something. He might be the prettiest man I’ve ever met. If I ever have skincare questions there’s no way I’m going to the doctor, I’m just calling up Nik!

 

GP: What are the things you’ll miss most about STN?

CR:  I’m going to miss the friendships and the culture of people who want to live radically. People here are striving to do really great things for the world. I know that this is not unique to STN, but I’ve found it in this family that I have been a part of for eight years.  STN is a family; it’s not just a job, so, in a sense, I’m leaving my family and going into the unknown. I will miss traveling the world and meeting 150 new roommates every year. I’ll miss the late night conversations and early morning surf sessions. I’ll miss the adventurous personalities who come through. I’ll miss Swedes arguing about whether spanking is right or wrong, why it’s illegal to fish with live worms. I’ll miss the melting pot of nations who come through Hawaii and STN. I’ll miss the weather! I grew up at STN. I became the person who I am today because of the trials and the joys that happen in that place. I’m 100% positive I would not be the man that I am today with out the experiences of traveling the world with Tom Bauer and having him show me the kind of life that I want to lead. If we’re really all going to just die and take nothing with us when we’re gone then we might as well spend all of our time giving to others while we are here. That is what I’m going to miss about STN but hopefully I’ll take it with me wherever I go and instead of a subtraction it will become a multiplication of what Tom and Cindy Bauer started 16 years ago.

 

GP: What’s next for you?!

CR: I am going to work with an organization called XXX Church. My first assignment with them is in Australia, so I’m headed there June 1st to start the next adventure!

To keep up with Chris Rehrer, check out his website www.chrisrehrer.com

The Rain Room

It’s one of those days when you wish you were in New York city.

The ‘Rain Room’ installation by Random International is now on exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

Ten people at a time are allowed into the dark room of pouring rain and, with the help of highly sensitive 3D camera motion sensors, will not get wet. What an experience it must be to walk through a downpour and watch the water part for you!

It’s almost a paradox, that such advanced technology would clash with something so natural, and ‘everyday’ as rain.

This exhibit has the power to awaken wonder by the way that one can manipulate the rain, while also giving us the opportunity to see the extraordinary in what we may have wrongfully tagged as ‘normal’.

We’re assuming most of you can’t just hop down to the MoMA any time soon, so get a glimpse of the experience through the video:
Photo cred: My Modern Met

Weekend Jam: Yosef

Sometimes people look for their ‘calling’ in life, and find it after much seeking. For others, their calling finds them. Yosef, real name Hunter Duncan, is a musician whose road seems to have found him. Hunter was captivated by music as a middle schooler in Lexington, South Carolina and since then has poured himself into developing his natural talent as musician, singer and songwriter. From bands in basements, to solo on big city stages, Yosef has come a long way, and is just now gaining more momentum than ever. In the midst of working the release of his first solo album in July, he took some time to answer some questions for us for this week’s Weekend Jam:

 

EJ: Can you give me a brief background of how you got started playing music?

HD: This whole journey of mine started when I was about 11-12 years old. I came home from summer camp and noticed a guitar on my bed, but back then I had no interest in music whatsoever. My sister wanted to take lessons and she didn’t want to go alone, so I went with her. I’ll never forget sitting there with that tiny three-quarter size guitar and learning those first chords. It felt right, and I wasn’t going to look back. I played more and more everyday and started to play with my friends in middle school. I began writing songs and tried to sound like Nirvana. I played in a few bands throughout the years, the most recent was The Lion In Winter, but then I decided to go solo.

 EJ: Being from the middle of a small state like South Carolina, what was the music scene like, and what would you change about it if you could?

HD: The music scene in Columbia is a love-hate situation for me. There are so many talented musicians here and I hate that the city doesn’t recognize them. I feel like the scene is shaping up though. People are trying harder, going on tour, and putting out solid records. But that’s the city, I’m originally from Lexington right outside of Columbia and there was not a music scene at all.

EJ: How would you describe the experience of transitioning from playing with bands into doing solo projects?

HD: I loved playing in bands growing up and playing music with my friends, but it became more difficult for me to deal with 3-4 other people trying to schedule our lives to make shows and practice work. I miss being loud, though. I will have people play with me later this year when I release my record since the record is a full-band record.

 EJ: Who are your influences, both musical and non-musical?

HD: My influences are Jeff Buckley, Nirvana, Radiohead, and recently Sleeping at Last. My non-musical influence would the relationships I have had in the past and present.

EJ: What type of lifestyle would you say represents your music?

HD: The lifestyle that would be best fit for my music would be couch surfing. Floating around from place to place sleeping on floors and couches.

EJ: What is your dream gig?

HD: My dream gig is to play at a stadium or something of that size and sell it out. To know that all those people are filling the place out just to see you, I couldn’t imagine the feeling.

EJ: What are your goals for the future?

HD: My goals are to keep my head up, stop getting discouraged so often, put out my new record and start working on the next. I’m working on releasing my first solo record under the name of Yosef, titled “Run Wild”. It should be out this July. I’ll be getting physical copies of it and I’ll work on getting T-shirts to sell at shows.  As far as shows go right now I don’t have any booked for this month.

Thanks, Hunter!

Follow Yosef music here:

www.facebook.com/yosefmusic

www.twitter.com/yosefmusic

www.Yosef.bandcamp.com

 

Check out the video of his single ‘Run Wild’ below:

 

 

And here’s a song he did with fellow South Carolina artist, Mel Washington (to be featured in the future here soon!)

 

 

 

Photo cred: Alexis Schwallier Photography

Weekend Jam: The Great Gatsby Soundtrack

*This link is no longer active, as it was a limited time offer*

Americans were required to read it as high school students. A story both exciting and troubling at the same time, it’s possible many of us only remember it as an assignment on our calendar. But from May 10th on, thanks to the vision of Baz Luhrmann and the work of  countless others, The Great Gatsby will be remembered as explosive and arresting. The film hits theaters next week, and from the looks of the trailers, is sure to enchant.

This week, while we’re waiting for the roaring 20′s extravaganza, we get to sample the musical morsels from the grand party with NPR’s first listen of The Great Gatsby Soundtrack.

Director Baz Luhrmann and hip-hop great Jay-Z  teamed up to produce an album that appeals to a variety of tastes, with remixes of soulful songs, upbeat jazz age tunes and some original tracks from some of today’s most talked about artists including: Lana Del Rey, Florence + The Machine, The XX, and Jack White.

Creating a soundtrack for the Great Gatsby is no easy task. It is a packed grenade of emotional fuel: the story itself a raw layer peeled from author F.Scott Fitzgerald’s own life and heartbreak. Add onto that the turmoil of several characters, each facing their own demons, their own longings, regrets and joys. Then,try to incorporate the weight of  an excessive, and often elusive American dream, displayed in the glamour and shine of the jazz age.

We’re not sure a single album can ever capture a timeless book, and we’re not putting that on this album itself; Yet we can appreciate that it is a well thought-out and innovative album. What else would we expect from the creator of Moulin Rouge and Romeo + Juliet, Baz Luhrmann? NPR music states “‘He is cinema’s boldest remixer, infusing familiar works with new rhythms that refresh their relevance.’”

At Surfing The Nations, we love things that are out of the box, and it seems that this film and soundtrack is busting out of the borders to bring something new to the table.

Give it a listen this week and get ready for the main event, May 10th at theaters nationwide!

Have a great weekend!

*Disclaimer: Some of the tracks on this album contain explicit lyrics.*

 

 

 

 

 

SLS Big Adventure: Waimanu Valley

When it comes to adventure, Surfers Leadership School does not mess around. Surfers Leadership School (SLS) takes place during a staff member’s first three months of  being on staff. Among reading books, writing papers on leadership, leading group lessons and apprenticing in a department, the ‘crown’ of the three month training is the Big Adventure.

For eight days, SLS students strap on 50-70 pound packs and hike into the Waimanu Valley of Big Island.  There in the wilderness, they set up camp right next to a black sand beach and forage for food from the earth and sea. Hiking to waterfalls for water and keeping track of your water purification tablets becomes a number one priority.

The hike is strenuous, but for every painful step, the valley compensates with beauty, eclipsing the present discomforts. The time in the valley is filled with pristine star gazing, falling asleep to the sound of the ocean, exploring untamed wilderness, and of course,  taking everything learned about leadership and putting it into practice.

Here are are some of the photos captured on the trip:

 

 

Before the trail.

The SLS crew at the start of the hike in.

On the trail

Crossing streams along the way

Finally in the valley!

Fishing for survival 101: When you forget your net, use your wetsuit!

A view worth every step.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Jam: Field Recordings

A few months ago, I blogged about the Black Cab Sessions: where well known musical artists pile in a black cab and record live while driving through the city.  It was so fun to watch these musicians get into these cramped spaces and belt their hearts out as they moved through the streets.There’s something about the unexpected environment that made the music seem that much more special.

Now, we bring you a new out-of-the-box recording experience, one with much more space, but just as much randomness!

NPR Music has a series called ‘Field Recordings‘, where musical artists do a live recording in a variety of spaces; sometimes literally in a field, other times on bridges, on top of picnic tables, or in the middle of the forest, to name a few.

Not unlike the Black Cab Sessions, you feel like you’re there with them. You see them goofing off,  taking in the scenery, trudging through nature to get to their destination. Some of the videos are slightly humorous as you watch them awkwardly adjust to their surroundings, some of them highly unfavorable for recording.

The one thing I love most about this series is that I imagine these silent and unexpected settings could be where many of these musicians discovered their art: Inspired by nature and their surroundings, inspired by the moments when they were alone. Those are the moments when nothing’s expected, and everything is gain with only the wild for an audience.

See for yourself from our picks below! And next time you go on a hike, bring a guitar, a harmonica or just some pen and paper and your voice and have your own field recording session.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: NPR

 

An Insider’s Look At Summer Challenge

It’s always fun to work in a place with creative and talented people. Today’s post is from native Floridian and musical artist, Sheree Pantuso (artist name, Sheree Michele). Sheree is currently on staff here at Surfing The Nations, but she first experienced Surfing the Nations when she came to our one-month summer program, Summer Challenge. The Summer Challenge program is packed with opportunities to give back to the community every week, and go exploring the island the other half of the time! Here she gives us her perspective on her month in Summer Challenge (and while you’re at it, give a listen to Sheree’s amazing rapping ability on her new EP here !)

 

“Have you ever experienced a time in your life where you have felt refreshed on the deepest possible level?  Have you experienced a much-needed time of rejuvenating your soul and washing away all of the burdens that life can soil us with?

I experienced this deep refreshing during my experience of serving at Surfing the Nations in the Summer Challenge program.  Before I arrived, I felt weary from the place life had me at.  I was nervous to move to an unfamiliar place for a month and experience something totally new and different. This leap of faith to go serve and experience the Summer Challenge program turned out to be one of the best decisions that I have ever made!

Participating in Summer Challenge gave me so many incredible experiences and growth opportunities, ranging from acts of serving like Feeding The Hungry to teaching kids how to surf and swim. My eyes were truly opened to the world’s needs around me.  I got to experience giving back to the community that I was in and I learned that I really come alive when I put the needs of others before myself.  It was a beautiful thing to see the hope and transformation that Surfing the Nations has brought to Wahiawa. To personally be a part of that transformation and witness it first hand was a great honor and joy.

Another aspect of the Summer Challenge program that brought me refreshment was the constant adventure that we pursued : Diving into the beautiful waters of Hawaii and witnessing the beauty of the land is something that will stay with me forever.  I was so blessed to have the opportunity to go on different hikes around the island, spear fish for the first time, camp on the beach while falling asleep to the sound of the tossing waves, and of course, surf!  I felt like a little child in complete awe of the beauty of everything around me.

I would highly recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and pursuing an experience like Summer Challenge.Not only does it refine you as a person, but it also refreshes your spirit, soul, and body with new adventures, new friendships, and memories that will last a lifetime. ” -SP

Sheree Michele
Photo credit Michael J Photography