Haoles, Take Note

posted by / Magazine / February 12, 2014

This has everything to do with surfing HawaiiIllustration by Noa Emberson

ON THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS, THE MORES OF CONDUCT ARE MANY AND VARIED. DO NOT WEAR SHOES IN A HOUSE. Do not bring sand in a house. Do not stare unnecessarily at locals. Do not paddle for the same wave a local is paddling for because no, he will not miss it. Punishment for transgression is swift and harsh. It is three times as swift and four times as harsh if the transgressor happens to be a haole.

The exact origin of the word “haole” [pronounced HOW-lee] is lost in the mists of time. Some say its literal translation is “no breath,” referring to people who were unfamiliar with the Polynesian greeting of touching noses and inhaling each other’s breath. Others insist it means “robber” or “lazy.” Whether “no breath,” “robber” or “lazy,” any surfer who has been to the Hawaiian Islands assumes that, today, it simply means “Caucasian.” And not in a nice way.

It is true that Caucasians from Europe and the United States were responsible for many of the ills perpetrated on the Hawaiian land and people. And whether they know this, or whether they simply do not want to cause unnecessary trouble, the Caucasian surfer accepts the angry “Eh, beat it, haole!” yells from locals without consideration. The Caucasian surfer knows to tread lightly and keep his head far down.

THIS HAOLE PARADIGM, THOUGH, HAS A GLARING EXCEPTION. THREE, ACTUALLY. THEY ARE TALL AND GANGLY WITH EYES AS BLUE AS SAPPHIRES, LIPS AS RED AS RUBIES, HAIR AS WHITE AS SNOW AND AS STRAIGHT AS FLAX. They smile, broadly, at everything. Their voices are the Southern California beach stereotype. Their first names, Dane, Pat and Tanner, belong on the marquee of a San Diego dentistry practice. Their last name, Gudauskas, is from Lithuania, a country where 98.7 percent of the people are white.

The Gudauskas brothers are so haole that they make my tan, dishwater blonde, Anglo-German self appear downright soulful. They are the haoleist haoles on the planet. They are so haole that when surf judges screw one of them out of a deserved score they all get together and, no, not punch, no, not choke out, no, not yell. They get together and toilet paper the judges’ house. Toilet paper. The color of white suburban youth. And yet I have witnessed Dane stand among the biggest, angriest angriest Hawaiians and be accepted like he was one of them. I have seen Pat throw shakas and give hugs to Hawaiians I would not be able to look at. I have seen Tanner be hooted into Pipeline bombs and applauded by the locals when he shoots out. How in the world? Their haoleness should be an affront to everything Hawaiian. It should, regularly, be beaten off their pristine faces.

Curiosity at how they are even allowed to set foot on a Hawaiian Airlines flight has chewed at me for years. Finally, I could take it no more and I asked Dane. “Fffaaaa…” he let out a Southern California beach stereotype breath of air “…YOU KNOW, LOOK AT US. WE NEVER TRY TO BE ANYTHING ELSE. THERE IS OBVIOUSLY NO HIDING WHAT WE ARE. WE JUST GO AND ACT LIKE OURSELVES.”

“But how?” I pressed. “What is your mindset?”

“Ssshhhiiii…” he let out a Southern California beach stereotype breath of air “…every year my brothers and I go we are so thankful. Our whole approach is to give everything and take nothing. There is something about Hawaii that makes everything very real, whether it is the people or the waves, that can break even the strongest guy. It is just…real. And so we enjoy every moment. When we are sitting, looking over the ledge of a bomb and somebody shouts ‘go,’ we go, because that is what we are here to do, you know? WE ARE JUST VERY, VERY APPRECIATIVE.”

His answer could sound canned except it is not. The Gudauskases are some of the realest people I have ever met. They are, exactly, what they are and try to be nothing else. True, their whiteness is blinding. It is offensive even to me. But maybe whiteness is not, strictly, haole. Maybe shifty, pretentious, two-faced behavior is haole. Maybe an entitled attitude is haole. Maybe trying to act like something you are not is haole. Maybe. We will never know because, again, the exact origin of the word is lost in the mists of time.

Whatever the case, we will always have Dane, Pat and Tanner Gudauskas cruisin’ the islands, gettin’ classic, probably listening to Lawrence Welk records and not getting punched. —Chas Smith

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  • 808Surf

    You can summarize this entire rant and why the Gudauskas brothers get along so well in Hawaii in one sentence: If you show respect, you get respect. It’s not a Hawaii thing, an Aussie thing, Brazil, Euro or a “mainland” thing. It’s a global thing. It’s comment sense. You say “hi” or wave or nod when you enter a lineup. You run into one of “da boys” in Foodland or at Ted’s and make eye contact, you say “hi”. It’s a sign of respect. You’re acknowledging that you are in THEIR backyard and you respect them enough to let them know that you know who they are – the locals. Maybe some of them may not reciprocate the handshake or even give you stink eye, but that’s not the majority but minority and every place in the world has people like that. The next time you see them again, you wave and say hi again anyway. You don’t have to throw a Shaka or try speak pidgin. Like the bros said, BE YOURSELF. And if being yourself is showing respect then eventually you will receive it. If naturally being a dick is who you are then you will eventually be treated accordingly – ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD and not just Hawaii. just imagine myself , a hawaii born and bred surfer moving to Cali for 6 weeks every summer. And I walk the trail to trestles every day and not say hi to anyone. And for 6 weeks straight, I paddled out and didn’t acknowledge anyone or any locals but paddled just as aggressively for waves as if I was a local there. I’d be treated accordingly. Respect is both given an taken away by your actions and not the color of your skin.

  • Akoni

    This is one of the most idiotic columns I have ever read.

  • chris eaves

    dear mr.smith,
    sorry to be negative but this is a stupid article. the word halo’e is rooted in the hawaiian language. all someone has to do to understand a word is look it up in its native language and context. before the mixing of ethnic groups on the plantation and the bastardization of the hawaiian language, the hawaiian language was the main language of the kingdom. nowadays you have stupid tourist without any historical background speculating on a defined term and adding their own meanings. hawaii is like anywhere else on earth mind your manners or you will reap what you sow.

  • Fat Bennie

    I worked for years on the streets of the south side of Chicago (I’m white) and I found Hawaii to be the most overtly racist place I have ever been to. Despite the island hype, there are plenty of great waves elsewhere on this globe. The Hawaiians can have Hawaii, I’m sure they’ll find something to complain about even with no haoles.

  • 1LuckyDog

    Why would you want to beat Hawaiin localism? that means you have to be around the dirty bastards. Most of them are uneducated clowns that sit on the corner like those Mexicans in LA.

  • Naomi Knickerbocker

    I’m from SF and been going to Hawaii for my whole life. Always get asked if we want Kamaaina prices. I’m guessing because we mind our own business (and wear t-shirts and slippahs). But it’s always flattering. I have to agree with Chris Eaves, just respect anyone’s culture. Side note, my husband tried to hit a few golf balls on a beach and a few locals wanted to kill him… No judgement there because I hate golf too, but still a little scary and we were on their turf.

  • Peter Thomas

    If you have to demand respect and punish those you think don’t respect you are just a big egotist and with no clue in life. A bully to be honest. In what other state in the union do I have to fall down on my knees before every “local” or suffer a beat down? Get over yourselves Hawaiians.

  • Dude

    If you’re white, you may not see the racism on the mainland.
    As a brown kid in LA, I’ve had old guys say so much overtly racist shit to me and want to scrap with me, a kid. These were neighbors and people you’d see all the time in the lineup. These were not confederate flag waving skins.

    In Hawaii, on the other hand, race is a tiny part of growing up. Everybody’s family is mixed. People are chill. All this race-stuff about Hawaii’s just another way the industry’s trying to discredit locals and take their waves.

  • nhs

    I’ve been waiting for this topic. I spent my years in Hawaii during the Bronzed Aussie uproar with Da Hui. I have never experienced more racist prejudice anywhere in the world than on Oahu. Maybe worse in Egypt or Israel, where as a “haole” you can get either instant love or hate from both the Jews and Arabs, particularly in Jerusalem and Cairo.

    Despite having all appropriate respect for locals in the water in Hawaii and on the streets of Jerusalem, I have had hair raising experiences in both places simply because I was white. And always some self-appointed racist moron is the cause, irregardless of their ethnicity.

    Which bring me to Kala Alexander (808surf?), Hawaii’s poster child for self apppointed racist morons. Kala, who are you kidding putting your wannabe UFC smackdown on guys on the beach? You have to be the worst thing that ever happened to “Aloha Culture” in Hawaii. Even the New York Times, which I usually loathe, painted his picture correctly. And of course, he looked like a kook with his “Wolfpak” hat and related douchebag tat regalia. What a tragedy for Hawaii that that loser narrated that 808 series. And make no mistake, Kala is “Ha Hui” founder Eddie Rothman’s retarded child. The real irony is that Eddie Rothman is a mainlander and Jewish. It must be interesting being Makua or Koa knowing your dad is such a hatemonger who’s racist agenda spawned Kala. Also, the haoles who got famous surfing in Hawaii who could say something about this and who quitely dodge the issue as cowards are also to be blamed. And you know who you are. So to Kala and all those Hawaiian wannabe UFC kooks who worship at the altar of Kaiborg: you are the ones who spoil the scene for not just haoles, but for everyone, and for Hawaii itself. You’re also an embarrassment for President Obama. I don’t think you’ll see Kala or Rothman invited to the White House any time soon.

    I would like to see how many seconds Kala would last in the Octagon with someone like Benson Henderson. That would be sweet! What a righteous and well deserved beating for Kala the Kook! I wonder how many thousands of haole surfers who got hassled even though they respected the locals would fee the same way, But we’ll never seen Kala get his 15 seconds of fame in the Octogon because he’s a flaming coward outside his little tough guy zone in the sand at mean high tide. So, Kala, all I can hope is that you just quietly paddle your SUP out to third reef Sunset and never come back. May you fade away along with your particular form of “aloha” spirit. Oh, and you can kiss my ass, too, creep. I am speaking for the untold thousands who feel the exact same way.

  • Kenny

    “Which bring me to Kala Alexander (808surf?)”

    You think that dumb moke reads the internet, much less knows what a colon is? If he posted I’d expect some truly cave-man type shit.

  • jeff van wieren

    I was on Kauai working after Iniki and I met one hoale guy from Calif. that had been there 25 years and was married to a Mexican gal. About once a year he said some moke would go up to them at a restaurant and slap the shit out of him and say that’s what you get for being with a local girl. Locals would give me list of all the races they hated the most, unbelievable racist. I loved the Island, great waves and diving but not much Aloha.

  • kit

    Sorry to break it you all of you anti-Hawaiians, but you must remember this: the Hawaiian Islands were colonized. Hawaiians were not asking for assitance, welfare, Jesus Christ, or anything else from anyone who was not Polynesian. While I agree that rampant anti-haole senitments are a sign of ignorance, I must ask– have you lost your language, family, land? Has shit been taken out of your hands and you had no way of taking it back? You want to visit Hawaii, be prepared for anything. Hawaiians are upset about a centuries old situation for good reason. Do your best not to take it personally. The Gudangs sure as hell don’t.

  • Luiz Arena

    It would be interesting, since the Hawaiians are sufficient on its waves and arrogance that does not leave their islands. The Hawaiian waves are great but they are not the only ones on the planet EARTH. Enjoy what is around but stay same because outside of the islands, guys like Kala Alexander and O’Brien are shit and do not survive 10 seconds. Kala and others think they know Jiu Jitsu. Ask any member of the Gracie family what they think of it. Some native walked on account of this being finalized cluelessness. I am a very polite guy and did not go through problems in Hawaii because I knew how to avoid them, but there are many provocations. Unfortunately I think this way of thinking is already inserted in the head of most Hawaiian surfers, because they have witnessed problems in G-Land too.
    This will have to stop. Nobody likes to be disrespected and they will learn, one way or another that despite Hawaiians are not immortal!

  • Catchcracksonetime

    Chas, people want to punch you because you are a pretentious douchebag writer/troll, not because you are haole. For someone who navel-gazes as much as you do, I’m surprised you haven’t realized this yet.

  • Nexustelecom

    This article is a blatant attack on the 14th ammendment of the US constution’s bill of rights. Therefore, if Hawaii is regarded as such and one believes the inherent rights go with the land then the Gudauskas – as any object for criticism – are basically being treated as uncooperative niggers for corrupt state politicians.

    a Colonists’ protocol would take a portion of San Diego city and make a sister state with honolulu and give them a proper office job.

  • Luis

    What an amateur’s article. No one in their right mind would be comfortable to write a ” Niggers take note”…or “Jews take note”….kinda article. Starting your piece with racism doesn’t seem very intelligent.
    I happen to live in Hawaii and the word haole is just an outward expression of racism. Racism, like violence, works in a cycle, and unless you refuse to participate in it, it keeps on going. Its so true that you can see the cycle doing its re-cycle when you have hawaiians join the US army. Its like having a Jew join the German army…..pure ignorance, no self respect brainwashed group. Im kinda hoping for another Eddie Aikau , another Duke…but I dont see anyone in sight. Some of the most high profile “locals’ could use their influence to change things for the better…. but unfortunately racism is in the way.

  • Dane G.

    Hey Louis,
    It seems your analogies are similar to that of “Mexicans on a military base.” No premise there now so why bring a holocaust and survivors into the state of Hawaii and California for subscription. If I recall the Holocaust Survivor Museum’s deputy guard was just shot by a senior racist last year so your targeting doesn’t help the problem,

    you need to move along

  • Sutter

    Did Strom Thurman ever go surfing with Alexander Sr.? Like the big 5 – bishop alewander cooke and bishop, they must have surfed even brodie surfed. white businesspeople always looked good around the duke, the surfer not john wayne. Los Angeles was good to them and Hawaii was home. Go to the Kawaihao Church downtown and see their graves sometime. Even the excavated ones are recognized since the placement of a roadway. The respective families and their predecessors are the real ones that counted and should be thanked. This shouldn’t be so typographical.

  • Samuel Sterman

    Infringing rights over time had precipitous consequences that judges of local counties and jurisdictions must have thought of for any haole that stole from any hawaiian and those that should’ve had a gun to whom must be protected. As a whole, an armed statesman is a racist and onto those agressors who trespass regardless of taking the cultural slipper off at the door. Gun ownership is a moot point and as for any ownership there or thereof the ninth circuit will ultimately agree with upholding the 2nd ammendment in that regard, except for the prodigal cop.

  • Dave

    Wow. I never thought Surfer would publish such overtly racist and discriminatory BS as this. Its like reading something straight out of the deep south back in the 50′s.

    Is this OK because Hawaii was colonized and/or because the vast majority of humans are idiots? Newsflash – that’s everywhere.

    Will this article be followed up by an another on why Blacks like watermelon so much, why Hispanics smell like beans, or why Asians are such bad drivers?

    F this guy. F Surfer mag.

  • The incarcerated

    Looks to me like its time for a Pulitzer Prize

  • Filibusted

    Know this – I learned to tie on a fishing lewer from someone Mexican. The surfing world has done nothing for me fishing. and Im not Mexican.

  • IMPH

    yeeh here ehn neighn shight uh imph shwa, da dA and TA.

  • Shinler

    Does this person live in a brownstone stucko cottage? Geesh go back to school or figure out how to move away from civilization.

  • Consiliarte

    Whatever is added postscript doesn’t mean much. the authors intention – other than flagging unneccesary content – to the provider is useful to surfingmagazine.com as for-profit business. the cable company wants a piece of the pie just like the government does and thats kinda like the consumer price index, as the aggregate gov share or the mortgage prime rate/ index, as a fractional ownership of all content and future holdings. Its as if ownership and profit margins for everyone thats surfing professionally or not. Professional surfing doesnt really matter. There needs to be a clear distinction between the utility of surf media and the ability of surfers to gain ownership in perpetuity. Hawaiian or not, its all the same until surfers start having to meet a robotic quota.

  • cliff

    lived in Hawaii for almost 16 years, if your a kook your going to get fucked with, anywhere you are, not just Hawaii…stop being a kook and respect life and culture.

  • Tim

    Just read Haoles by Chris Smith, what a pathetic article. Locals everywhere think the same thing, but in truth these are just local goons that use intimidation and threats of violence to control their surf break. They are nothing more than the goons they are. And the notion one has to tread lightly and keep their head down is bullshit. And of course the token white boys with blue eyes is nothing short of token racisms. To Chris Smith you are a pathetic soul looking to find your little place among all the locals. Maybe just maybe you will be accepted as a token white boy when the Hui read this piece of shit article you conjured up.

  • DA LOCAL

    A FUCKING LOCAL
    Haoles do not understand hawaiians and the hawaiian language. we group all whites regardless of their cultural background into one category (HAOLE). If you do not like being called haole do not come to Hawaii because it part of our language and culture. If you wish not to be called a “FUCKEN HAOLE” then respect the island people and their right to practice their everyday life by minding your own business and not bothering island locals.

    Lets understand why island people get like this. Besides the history the word “FUCK, FUCKEN, FUCKING , ETC.” was not part of the hawaiian language. It was brought to the islands by who? I do not know… but like anything else it was adapted to fit into the culture.

    When used with the word “Haole” it describes the nature of the person (BOTHERSOME with strong white values and caring only for ones self). Ex.-

    A) I was fishing one windy and rainy day out on the berm and the next thing you know two kite surfers decide to come in and land on the berm. There was more than 1000 yards to the left and another 1000 yards to the right but yet they choose to land right where the fish was…….WHAT THE FUCK are these guys doing? Can’t they see I am fishing here. Kite flying all around in the sky and the shadow of the kite chasing away all fish. Meanwhile the haole is sitting in the water trying to unhitch himself from I don’t know what. After about 2-3 minutes he is still in the water with his kite soaring and CHASING / FRIGHTENING ALL THE FISH AWAY. WHAT THE FUCK is going on. He’s stuck because the bottom of the shore there is sharp coral. Meanwhile his friend leaves him in the water and leaves with his GEAR. Is this a HAOLE, FUCKING HAOLE, OR WHAT?

    So, I tell the guy if you having problems with your gear why not sail out and come in somewhere else because his kite is still sailing in the air. Then the guy leaves and sails out as i suggested. End of problem? No way.

    Another different HAOLE comes out and starts to walk into the water. I tell him what I said to the other guy and told him to meet him down the beach where he is going to come in. He answers that he wants to help him because he is having trouble with his gear and continues to walk out to meet him. By then the kite surfer is 150 yards out. I tell him if he is having problems he can just stand up because the water out there is only chest deep. Butt…… he insists he has to go out to help him. Now is this another HAOLE, FUCKING HAOLE, OR WWWHHHAAATTTTT? OR WHAT?

    So, now this HAOLE, FUCKING HAOLE, OR WHAT ends up walking around the berm following his friend and eventually ends up down the beach about 200 yards.

    These people are why we call them FUCKING HAOLES. A FUCKING HAOLE HAS NO RESPECT FOR OTHER PEOPLE AND THAT IS WHY WE SHOW THEM NO RESPECT BY CALLING THEM WHAT THEY ARE “FUCKEN HAOLE, PILAU HAOLE, HAOLE ROT. It is all the same. They show no respect for the people and the culture of the islands.

    We do not call people FUCKERS unless they Fuck us up first. You may see these rants on the internet but be aware of part you do not see on the internet. Get the whole story.
    FUCKEN HAOLES IS THE ONES THAT WE DO NOT NEED HERE IN THE ISLANDS.

    B) LOTS MORE INSTANCES IN THE ISLANDS but I’ll end here for the sake of all FUCKEN HAOLES AND FUCKEN TOURIST. Yes, FUCKEN TOURIST. (Note- Haoles should ask themselves why we do not call the other races FUCKEN _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _. iT IS BECAUSE THEY DO NOT FUCK UP LOCALS LIKE A FUCKEN HAOLE WILL.

    DA LOCO…..