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National Geo explores Hawaiian culture through photos

Mel Pu'u plays with his kids in the Makaha surf © Paul Nicklin



Surf Culture

Amazing images capture surf culture beyond the North Shore

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 26 January, 2015 - What happens when the culture that gave birth to surfing comes under the National Geographic lens? Amazing images. That, and a culture familiar to most of now given the same treatment as, say, an Inuit tribe in Alaska. It’s a little uncomfortable but well done.

National Geographic spent a month in Makaha and on the North Shore studying Hawaiian and surf culture. The piece focuses on the Hawaiian surfing community of Makaha and discusses how surfing binds Hawaiians to a cultural identity. The piece also features stunning images of Makaha residents by photographer Paul Nicklen. 

SUPSquatch © Paul Nicklin


While working on the piece, Nicklen spent two weeks with Makaha locals without his camera, to build trust and learn about their culture, before taking any photos. 

Nicklen said- "It's not about the money, it's not about the glitz, it's not about the bathing suits or the surfboard, or the brands. When you hang out with people from's just they have an obsession — they have salt water running through their veins."

The article comes out in the February issue of National Geographic.

Traditional Hawaiian tattoo technique © Paul Nicklin


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