As I write this, I’m sitting on the deck of a coastal New Zealand home, watching perfect lefts stretch across the enormity of Raglan Bay. I’m thousands of miles from home, yet I feel as comfortable here as I would on my own porch in little Anahola. I had to stop and question why, how can that be? How can one feel so comfortable in a country they’ve never been before? I’ve come to the conclusion that the ocean is my home.
Being a grom and growing up on the beach, surfers learn to love the sea and all it offers. That’s the legacy of being raised as a grom in Hawai’i, a unique upbringing that ties you to the ocean for the rest of your life.
The life of a Hawai’i’i grom is extremely unique because we have been immersed in the surf culture from our earliest days. I believe we’re some of the luckiest people on earth. The sport of surfing is so important because, as groms, we can go anywhere in the world and find solitude in the crashing waves on the shore. We’re given the opportunity to see the world through an entirely remarkable perspective.
Now that I’m sixteen years old, I’m beginning to lose my title as a grom. It’s exciting to watch upcoming kids catch their first wave, or pull a move for the first time. It makes me think back to my early days of surfing and realize how far I’ve come. Without the support of my family, sponsors, and countless friends I’ve met along the way, nothing I’ve experienced in my grom days would be the same. I would’ve never imagined being given the awesome chance to be the guest editor for Freesurf. I’ve had an amazing experience helping out with this issue, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.
– Mainei Kinimaka, guest editor
Being a grom, growing up in Hawai’i’i was a blessing amongst many. I was given the privilege to learn and understand the true meaning of respect and aloha.
For me, surfing is a form of art, it is my passion. Surfing has also given me so many blessings throughout my life, like the network of friends that is priceless, and the education I’ve obtained along my journey. It’s all amazing. Basically, surfing is everything to me.
The lifestyle of being a grom is unique because a lot of it is pure innocence. Having fun with friends, making as much noise as you possibly can, and enjoying all that Hawai’i’i has to offer. It’s so great! I am super thankful to be a grom born and raised in Hawai’i’i. To me, it’s funny because I believe at heart we are all still groms, even the elders, because we all froth to surf no matter what our age.
That being said I am eighteen years of age, I’ve been surfing my heart out, and having a wonderful time. I am totally convinced that I will be a grom forever. But it’s come my time where I have something to prove to myself and I choose to take this step into manhood humbled by the experience and lessons I have learned. Throughout it all, I will always keep at heart the stoked grom that I am.
– Uluboi Napeahi, guest editor