Master Carver

PŌHAKU, KAHUNA KĀLAI PAPAHEʻENALU
Kānaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) Tom Pōhaku Stone (Pōhaku) is a living legend.  Recognized in Hawaiʻi and the world over as the foremost authority, carver, and rider of traditional Hawaiian surfboards.  Pōhaku is a descendant of the Aliʻi of Kaʻu, Moku o Keawe (High Chiefs of the southern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi), a place legendary for its surf and aliʻi surfers.  As a youth, Pōhaku was taught the skill and art of surfboard carving from his father, who was taught the same from his father, and so on and so forth from generation to generation.

Like his kūpuna (ancestors), Pōhaku is a true Hawaiian waterman: professional surfer in the 1970s, Pipeline pioneer, Surfer Magazine cover star, former windsurfing champion, and North Shore professional lifeguard.  But, Pōhaku also sought to be pono (balanced in body, mind, and spirit) completing three Masters Degrees in Polynesian Studies and becoming a professor at the University of Hawaiʻi, Manoa.

Pōhaku heads Black Koa Surfboards and ensures that every board is historically accurate and culturally appropriate.  Traditional protocols are followed during the board making process (see Tradition).  The only exception here is that modern day hand tools are used to keep time and cost down so that more people may have the opportunity to enjoy these traditional yet relevant boards.

Note:  It is important to note that boards carved by Pōhaku are not mere reproductions of ancient relics found in a museum, but modern day originals, as taught to him by his father, and his father before him.

PHOTOS:

Pohaku, Pipeline 1970Pōhaku, Pipeline 1970

Tom Stone, Pipeline, 1970. Photograph by Art Brewer. Originally printed on the cover of Surfer Magazine, 1970.

Pōhaku, Pipeline 1970.  Photograph by Art Brewer. Originally printed on the cover of Surfer Magazine, March, 1970.

Pōhaku, Pipeline 1975.  Photograph by Lance Trout.

Pōhaku Today

PŌHAKU’S SHORT BIO:

Education:

  • BA. in Hawaiian Studies, University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa
  • MA. in Pacific Island Studies, University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa
  • PhD. Candidate in Pacific Island Studies, University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa

Achievements:

  • Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Center for Hawaiian Studies, 2009 to present.
  • Presentation on Hawaiian Surfboards, National Museum of American Indian, New York, 2014
  • First papaheʻenalu wiliwili (olo surfboard) constructed in contemporary times, 2003.
  • Featured in Surfer Magazine, Surfing Magazine, Surfers Path, International Surfing and International Windsurfer Magazine.
  • Canoe voyaged the entire length of the eight major Hawaiian Islands
  • Molokaʻi to Oʻahu Paddleboard race, 2002.
  • Paddleboard attempt Oʻahu to Kauaʻi, (longest paddleboard attempt on record, 120 miles), 1998.
  • Molokaʻi to Oʻahu Paddleboard race, 1997
  • Organizer of Hoʻolauleʻa o Lono-Makahiki, UH-Mānoa, 2002, 1999, 1998, and 1997.
  • Solo paddle board Molokaʻi to Waikiki (2 crossings in less than 2 weeks), 1996.
  • Organizer of Surfing Expression Session at Sunset Beach, 1991, 92, & 93.
  • Organizer of the Blue Water Open Ocean Challenge, 1987.
  • First to windsurf every channel of Hawaiʻi; only windsurfer and paddle boarder to go from Oʻahu to Kauaʻi, 1985 – 1987.
  • Lifeguard and District Supervisor (Sunset, Pipeline, Waimea Bay, Makapuʻu, Sandy Beach, Kailua Beach, and Waikiki 1978 to 1993.
  • Professional Surfer in the 1970s. A regular at Pipeline, made the cover of Surfer magazine twice and featured in numerous surf movies including Pacific Vibrations (1970), Cosmic Children (1970), and Five Summer Stories (1972).

Magazines:

Urban Surf – Native Made (2017)
http://us4kmag.org/native-made-tom-pohaku-stone/

Tracks – Celebrating a Century of Commercialization in Surfing (2014)
https://www.tracksmag.com.au/news/celebrating-a-century-of-commercialisation-in-surfing-425054

Salt of the Earth:  Exploring the Cultural Diasporas of Surfing (2013)
http://saltoftheearth-ucsc.blogspot.com/2013/01/tom-pohaku-stone.html

National Museum of the American Indian – Interview with Pōhaku Stone (2012)
http://blog.nmai.si.edu/main/2012/05/part-1-qa-with-native-hawaiian-surfer-craftsman-tom-p%C5%8Dhaku-stone.html

Maui Magazine – A new Wave for Wood (2011)
http://mauimagazine.net/wood-surfboards/

The Surfer’s Journal – The Transformation of Tom Stone (2009)
http://www.coastalwatch.com/surfing/6536/the-transformation-of-tom-stone

Videos:

Surfing Like Ancients (2018)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVAXua1v2r4

Heʻe Nalu (2016)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVAXua1v2r4

Traditional Board Designs (2016)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b-tgz-2Vzw

Board of the Gods (2015)
https://vimeo.com/128281912

Largest Surfboard in the World (2015)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOHY18Gh6YA

Surfers and Shapers The Larry Fuller Story OFFICAL TRAILER (2015)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJpkR_epGOA

Hawaiʻi Wisdom Project presents Tom Pōhaku Stone (2015)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YPQ6cVIO7g

Tom Pōhaku Stone with curly (2015)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPd8ec296nM&t=18s