Off Diamond Head
June 22, 2015 7:08 AM   Subscribe

Anyone have a non-paywall link?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:12 AM on June 22, 2015

It's not paywalled for me, I don't have a subscription. I am in private browsing mode which might be the difference.
posted by ellieBOA at 7:16 AM on June 22, 2015

The link worked for me, even without private mode. If private browsing mode doesn't work, try accesssing through a Google search (currently my top hit, but you can add if you want to get precise.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:20 AM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

Probably the best memoir of childhood i have read in years. Just lovely.
posted by jmccw at 7:24 AM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

Yes, that's a superb piece, well worth the read.
posted by languagehat at 7:38 AM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]

I believe The New Yorker has a 6 free stories per month limit, then you hit the paywall. ellieBOA's link should be fine for anyone who doesn't read the magazine very often. If you do, either subscribe or use one of the workarounds described above.

Great story, though not helpful to my work focus in the office on a beautiful summer day.
posted by Wretch729 at 7:56 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Surfing is one of those activities I can read about it despite having no real interest in trying it myself. This story is no exception, just an excellent read.
posted by inthe80s at 8:01 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Surfing is one of those activities I cannot even read about, I'm so uninterested. But this story was the exception -- such an excellent read in so many ways.
posted by Dashy at 8:15 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

It is a surfing story for sure, and a darn good one, but I thought it was more about fear, living with it, conquering it and even succumbing to it. I don't read the New Yorker regularly (maybe I should?!) so I looked up Finnegan's bio and he has faced fear or fearful situations that lead to a lot of his stories. He certainly travels the world for his writing.

Thanks for posting. Great article.
posted by AugustWest at 8:39 AM on June 22, 2015

Beautiful piece.
posted by rtha at 8:45 AM on June 22, 2015

I have been oddly obsessed with surfing lately (watching & reading, not doing), so thanks for this.
posted by JanetLand at 8:46 AM on June 22, 2015

Gorgeous, thanks.
posted by Cocodrillo at 10:00 AM on June 22, 2015

Finnegan's forthcoming book.
posted by JanetLand at 10:26 AM on June 22, 2015

This was a really good read - even with all the surfing jargon I don't understand. Thanks for sharing it.
posted by jillithd at 10:51 AM on June 22, 2015

Part of this article is about surfing.

The other part is about racism.

It's worthwhile, now that the disease of white supremacy has come to the surface in our country in an abominable terrorist act, to look at the history of racial friction in part of the US that's far from South Carolina, and that exhibits a racist dynamic that's substantially different from what mainland Americans are accustomed to.

The history of racism in Hawaii began in the 19th century, when Christian missionaries received vast tracts of fertile land from the Hawaiian monarchy. Many of their descendents--who are portrayed in the George Clooney movie The Descendents--remain at the top of the economic heap, sharing power in the state with other ethnic groups. Native Hawaiians, deprived of their land, subsisted for many years at the bottom, occupying a blue collar stratum shared with Samoans and other ethnic groups.

The article is about an era in the 1960s and 70s when, as the author points out, civilian and military country clubs limited their membership to the haole (white) minority of the state. Public schools, during this time, became the ground zero of a backlash against this white dominated world. White bankers and executives of the sugar companies isolated their children behind the walls of the private college prep academies, such as Punahou (President Obama's alma mater) and Iolani; for these kids, interactions with Polynesian ethnic groups were limited to scuffles on municipal buses to and from school. But occasionally, kids like the author, a transplant from the mainland whose parents lacked connections to the white business and banking oligarchy, ended up in public school. For them, a tiny drop in an ocean of Native Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese, life became a nightmare.

The epidemic of anti-white bullying of the 1960s and 70s is all but over in the Hawaii of today. The sugar industry, unable to compete with South America, has sold its plantation land to hotel and suburb developers. Country clubs are integrated. Interracial marriage is universal and applauded. But it's a less-than-fond memory in the minds of whites who attended public school during this era, and were subject to acts--mostly teasing and bullying, but occasionally violent--that have left traumatic scars. For them, the word haole, now largely a term of endearment, continues to grate.
posted by Gordion Knott at 1:15 PM on June 22, 2015 [7 favorites]

Waves were the playing field. They were the goal. They were the object of your deepest desire and adoration. At the same time, they were your adversary, your nemesis, even your mortal enemy. The surf was your refuge, your happy hiding place, but it was also a hostile wilderness—a dynamic, indifferent world.

I'm not a surfer, but I'm a climber and a skier, and this paragraph just nails that relationship between the do-er (surfer, climber, whatever) and the natural phenomenon you're engaging with.

Wonderful article, thanks so much for posting it.
posted by suelac at 4:59 PM on June 22, 2015

Definitely one of the best pieces in the magazine in recent memory.
posted by Standard Orange at 12:48 AM on June 23, 2015

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