Surfers Unite in Hashtag Campaign to Protect Maunakea
Thousands of surfers lent their voices on social media over the weekend in a hashtag #SurfersForMaunaKea campaign to raise awareness of their effort to protect Maunakea from the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.
Among the participants were prominent Native Hawaiian surfers including: two-time World Surf League, World Longboard Champion Kelia Moniz; Championship Tour competitors Seth Moniz and Ezekiel Lau who posted their support on Instagram; and two-time WSL Champion John John Florence, who is a proud resident of the North Shore of O‘ahu.
Participants used the hashtags #SurfersForMaunaKea and #MaukaToMakai and posted images of themselves supporting the protection of Maunakea.
“Their solidarity with the kia‘i (guardians) of Maunakea illustrates how the mountain and oceans are all connected. Furthermore, he‘e nalu (surfing) was invented in Hawai‘i therefore the international surf community and Native Hawaiians have a shared cultural ancestry,” said Tiare Lawrence in a press release announcement.
Organizers say paddle outs are also being planned at various beaches on August 25 to increase awareness of the protection of Maunakea and unify wave riders and kia‘i (guardians/protectors).
Those who support the TMT say the telescope would support the local economy and astronomical research. TMT representatives have announced that they are seeking the necessary permits to construct the telescope at their plan B site in the Canary Islands, but maintain that Mauna Kea is their preferred location.
Opponents of the project say construction at Maunakea would further desecrate a mountain that they consider to be sacred.