Da Hui Backdoor Shootout: a contest run by Hawaiian with Hawaiian rules | Photo: Hui O He'e Nalu

The Da Hui Backdoor Shootout is an alternative surf contest. The Hawaiian event subverts all the standard rules of competitive surfing.

If there's one thing that native Hawaiian surfers are proud of is their Polynesian culture.

The Da Hui Backdoor Shootout is a unique surfing competition created in 1996 and run by Hui O He'e Nalu.

The Hui O He'e Nalu is a nonprofit entity dedicated to the education, coordination, preservation, and support of Hawaiian activities and culture, aiming to promote their progress.

Distinct from the sister company Da Hui, which functions as a for-profit business, the Hui O He'e Nalu operates independently.

Da Hui originated in Hawaii, founded by a surf gang called the "Black Shorts."

These passionate native Hawaiians were dedicated to protecting and preserving Hawaiian surfing, unyieldingly defending it.

Their notable presence in the late 1970s, disrupting professional surfing contests on the North Shore by non-Hawaiians, marked the beginning of their significant impact on the global surfing community.

Da Hui elicited various reactions - fear from some and dislike from others, but most held a deep respect for their stand for justice and principle, understanding that respect is something to be earned.

Da Hui's clothing line journey started with the initiative of Eddie Rothman, Bryan Amona, Kawika Stant Sr., and Clyde Aikau.

These surfers crafted a clothing line independently that would reflect and promote the stories of the Hawaiian people.

Continuing its legacy, Da Hui actively supports local talents, enabling them to gain global exposure and promote the brand professionally.

Their ethos is about supporting the right causes for just reasons.

Through hosting various events, they aim to benefit people across the islands and around the world, fostering unity and good times filled with positive energy.

Da Hui's message is about safeguarding their rights and peace while building a network that resonates with the spirit of Aloha.

Da Hui Backdoor Shootout: an alternative and anti-establishment surf contest | Photo: Da Hui

An Alternative, Anti-Establishment Event

Therefore, the Da Hui/Hui O He'e Nalu Backdoor Shootout highlights the classic Hawaiian surfing approach, focusing on style, strength, and reverence for the sea.

Participants are evaluated based on their technical skills, general strategy, choice of waves, and proficiency in tube riding, emerging with poise and flair.

The contest features shortboard, longboard, stand-up paddleboarding, and bodysurfing divisions.

Although not as prestigious and old as the Pipeline Masters - a contest founded and nurtured by the mainstream surf industry - the Backdoor Shootout holds a famed reputation.

The specialty invitational event often features some of the world's best Banzai Pipeline tube-riding experts.

It only runs when the conditions at the legendary North Shore of Oahu surf break shine in all its glory.

Each competitor is part of a team that is only announced moments before the start of the competition.

The judging scale does not follow the industry standard. Waves are scored from 0 to 12.

The event format has remained unchanged since its creation in 1996, and the live webcast is usually free from all the regular surf culture clichés and normalized commentaries.

Hawaiian Pidgin is the official language of the broadcast.

The contest in memory of Duke Kahanamoku is held every year in January with a tight waiting period.

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