Friday, November 15, 2013

Waikiki Historic Trail Marker #2

Waikiki Historic Trail Marker #2

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This site is located in Kuhio Beach Park, Honolulu, Hawaii. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 21° 16.290 W 157° 49.370. There are twenty other markers on the Waikiki Historic Trail.

You can log your visit to this landmark at

Waikiki means "spouting water" because it was a vast marshland fed by man streams. You are in fact standing on what was the mouth of an old stream, the Kuekanunahi. From ancient times Waikiki has been a popular surfing spot which is one of the reasons why the chiefs made their homes and headquarters here for hundreds of years. Though it's been called "the sport of kings," everyone surfed. Surf spots had their special names and the most famous in Waikiki was Kalehuawehe or "take off the lehua." It was so named when a legendary hero took off his lie of lehua blossoms and gave it to the wife of the ruling chief with whom he was surfing. Romance and surfing often went together.

Believe or not, by 1900 surfing had nearly died out in Hawaii partly because of missionary opposition to the sport which took people away from worship and other religious obligations. Waikiki has some of the best summer waves in the world. The swells vary in height from 2 to 8 feet and on rare occasions, have reached as high as 35 feet. A ride can easily extend a hundred yards or so. The longest ride recorded took place in 1917 when the great Duke Kahanamoku caught a 35-foot wave and rode it to shore, a distance of a mile and a quarter.

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