While there are many definitions of the Hawaiian word he‘enalu that has been traditionally translated surfing, a more specific translation is “wave slide,” therefore, this class includes topics such as voyaging, paddling, fishing and all forms of wave riding. Class materials and student projects extend beyond surfing to ocean activities, awareness, environmental issues and other performative arts or sports that could be classified within the same category as surfing.
In this course, we will review a collection of traditional Hawaiian surfing mo‘olelo in conjunction with contemporary surf literature comprised from films, documentaries, contests, museums, books, galleries, magazines, websites, and social media to consider how each of these venues connect and interact with the ocean. We will draw comparisons across this archive of surfing literature to establish elements of creative writing that can be found in journalism, biography, poetry, chant, lyrics, short story, photography, videography, and forms of new media. Students will be challenged to consider if the practice of surfing or other ocean related activities can serve as a form of creative writing and they will be encouraged to implement performance related artforms into their assignments or projects. In this context, reading may refer to the way a surfer interprets the ocean prior to paddling out and literature might represent the skills, composition, and styles that a surfer chooses to respond and interact with the waves.
Students are required to write a daily journal, a literature review, an essay about a favorite surf spot, beach or sacred space, and a final project to meet the 4000 word count minimum for the writing intensive (WI) requirement. There will also be short daily assignments that students will post on Laulima.