Hawaii: this is what surfing in Waikiki looked like back in the day

How do you say "surfing" in Hawaiian? Are there multiple Hawaiian expressions to say "wave"? Learn how to translate English surfing expressions into "Olelo Hawai'i" (Hawaiian language).

John R.K. Clark, the author of "Hawaiian Surfing: Traditions From The Past," has extensively studied the presence of surfing in the Hawaiian language.

The sport of kings is richly portrayed in the Hawaiian culture. Historians have proved that surfing is intrinsically connected to the Polynesian archipelago.

That is why there are words, expressions, and meanings for the whole wave-riding universe.

Naturally, in many cases, English names have similar - not identical - interpretations in the Hawaiian language, and vice versa.

"During the 1800s, Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian writers described surfing as a 'national pastime,' a phrase that highlights the prominence surfing held among native Hawaiians," notes John Clark in his must-have dictionary.

Traditional surfing language is a treasure of hidden meanings, so the "poetic interplay of words often makes translation into other languages difficult or perhaps impossible at the time."

However, here's a short and concise English-Hawaiian dictionary of surfing expressions.

For HTML reasons, we removed the macron (kahako) symbol and replaced the okina mark with a simple apostrophe.

Try to say the words and dive into the spirit of Aloha:

Afraid - maka'u;

Back of a wave - ha'i muku, halehale, halehale po'ipu, kawaha, po'ipu, puku, uhi, waha, wahawaha;

Backwash - ha'i ka nalu a ho'i hou i waho;

Barrel - ha'i muku, halehale, halehale po'ipu, kawaha, po'ipu, puku, uhi, waha, wahawaha;

Base of a wave - konua, kumu;

Beach - kahakai, kahaone, 'o, one, one loa;

Beginner - 'akahi akahi, hemahema, holona, malihini, mea hawawa;

Board - papa, papa alaia, papa he'e nalu, papa hoe he'e nalu, papa he'e one, papa kiko'o, papa la'au, papa lana, papa li'ili'i, papa olo, papa omo, papa pae po'o;

Bodysurf - he'e umauma, kaha, kaha nalu, pae po, pae po'b;

Break - kalana nalu (lineup), po'ina nalu (shorebreak);

Buoy - mouo, pua;

Canoe - wa'a (outrigger), wa'a pakaka nalu (surfing);

Catch a wave - pae;

Channel - kowa, kai kowa;

Contest - heihei, ho'okuku;

Coral - 'ako'ako'a, ko'a kea, puna, puna kea;

Crest of a wave - 'ako, 'ako'ako, weleau;

Curl - muku, 'opi;

Current - au;

Dawn - molehulehu;

Dunes - pu'e one, pu'u one;

Fin - kuhoe;

Flat - nalu 'ole;

Foam of a surfboard - papa lana;

Harbor - awa, kai kuono;

Help - kokua;

Home break - nalu kama'aina, nalu o ka 'aina;

Injury - 'eha;

Lagoon - kai kohola, kua'au;

Lifeguard - kia'i ola, po'e ho'opakele ola;

Limestone - pa'akea;

Lineup - kulana, kulana he'e nalu, kulana kai, kulana nalu, kulana nalu kupono;

Longboard - pa loa, papa lo'ihi, papa nui;

Lost at sea - nalowale;

Nose of a surfboard - ihu, maka, po'o;

Ocean - kai, moana, moana hohonu lipolopo (deep blue), moana lipopo (dark blue);

Outside - waho o kua nalu;

Paddle for a wave - hoe, ka, oma;

Paddle out - 'au;

Rail of a surfboard - 'ao'ao;

Reef - 'apapa, hapapa, laupapa, papa, papapa;

Rescue - ho'opakele;

Ride - he'e, holo, kakele, pae, pae pu;

Ripples - 'ale'ale;

River surfing - he'e pu'e wai;

Sand - one;

Sandbar - pu'e one;

Sea - kai, moana;

Sea spray - 'ea, 'ea'ea, 'ehu, 'ehu kai, huna kai;

Seaweed - limu;

Set of waves - kaka'i;

Shaper - kahuna kalai papa alaia he'e nalu;

Shark - mano;

Shell - pupu;

Shorebreak - po'ina nalu, po'ina one;

Shortboard - pa poko;

Shoulder of a wave - hokua, po'ohiwi;

Skimboard - papa he'e one;

Skimming - he'e one;

Slide - he'e, lala;

Sound of waves - 'a'ina nalu, halulu, haluku, kapo'o, nakolo, ne, nehe, 'owe;

Sport - hana le'ale'a;

Stand-up surfboard - papa hooe he'e nalu, papa ku;

Stand-up surfing - hoe he'e nalu, ku hoe;

Storm surf - 'ale'ale 'ino;

Stormy - kupiki'o puleileho;

Sun - la;

Sunset - napo'o ka la;

Surf, surfing - he'e, he'e nalu, kha, kaha nalu, kakele;

Surfboard - alaia, kiko'o, olo, 'onini, papa he'e nalu, papa he'e nalu ha niu, papa hoe he'e nalu, papa ku, papa la'au, papa lana;

Surfer - kanaka he'e nalu, wahine he'e nalu;

Surf spot - kahi o ka nalu, kai he'e nalu, wahi he'e nalu, wahi nalu;

Surf wear - lole 'au'au kai, malo kai, malo puakai, pa'u, pa'u he'e nalu, pa'u puakai;

Swim - 'au, 'au'au, 'au hula'ana, 'aukai, 'au umauma, ho'au;

Swimmers - po'e 'au'au kai;

Tail of a surfboard - lemu;

Tandem - he'e koko'olua;

Tsunami - kai ho'e'e, kai mimiki;

Wait for the wave - ho'olana;

Wave near shore - nalu;

Wave in open ocean - 'ale, opu, 'opu'u;

Wet - pulu;

Whale - kohola, kohola kuapu'u;

White cap - kuakea;

Whitewater - hu'a, hu'ahu'a, kapa kea, kuakea;

Win a contest - eo, lanakila;

Women of the sea - po'e wahine o ke kai;

Wooden board - papa la'au;

Are you looking for a glossary of surfing terms?

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