Reclaiming surfing as a traditional native women’s sport

By Alexandra Mehl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Tofino, BC – As the sun beamed onto Esowista beach, youth of the Mu?aa, Rising Tide Surf team gathered around Lacy Kaheaku, a native to Hawai?i, to learn how to carve traditional wooden surfboards and the Indigenous roots of the sport. “Women did a lot of the surfing in native Hawaiian culture,’’ said Kaheaku, adding that royalty, alongside warriors, would also surf. “But majority of the leisurely surfing was done by women.’’ Since ancient times, Pacific islanders have surfed. The pastime is believed to have originated in Polynesia, where cave paintings from the 12th century illustrate people riding the waves. During seafaring journeys the activity reached Hawaii, long before contact with European explorers and the process of colonization began. Despite these Indigenous roots,…

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