In 1976, the year of the nation’s bicentennial celebration and the height of a hawaiian renaissance, Polynesian Voyaging Canoe Hokulea’s set sail on its maiden voyage of cultural rediscovery to Tahiti. Buffalo Keaulana was the double-hulled canoe’s steersman.
After enduring 35 days beating in rough seas, drifting in doldrums, and dealing with others’ experimental ideas, Buffalo, 41 at the time emerged tested and toughened in his own sense of self worth and Hawaiian culture.
On return to Makaha, Buffalo got a chance to steer his path in what originally was the pastime of Hawaii ali’i, Larry “The Weatherman’s” suggested that Buffalo start a big board surfing classic at Makaha. The idea struck home.
The classic became a collective expression of giving back to surfing and for 37 years has flourished under Buffalo’s sense of what’s right.