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Fierce Heart: The Story of Makaha and the Soul of Hawaiian Surfing
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Fierce Heart: The Story of Makaha and the Soul of Hawaiian Surfing

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  82 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Fierce Heart is the biography of a community and a portrait of its people. Although Makaha is a small, isolated town on the Western coast of Oahu, it has produced some of the most intriguing Hawaiians of the twentieth century: world-class surfers Buffalo Keaulana and his sons Rusty and Brian; beautiful skin diver and surfing pro Rell Sunn; and larger than life singer and
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by St. Martin's Press
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Andrew O'Riordan
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
It's not easy to write about the Waianae Coast, one of the most complex and troubled corners of a paradise state that promotes easy sunshine living. It's a place full of myths and legends, heroes and villains, hope and despair.

In his second book, Coleman rises to the challenge of demystifying the West Side. He tells human stories of the most revered West side figures: Buffalo Keaulana, Rell Sunn, Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, the extended Keaulana clan. Through the words, thoughts, and struggles of th
Aug 04, 2009 is currently reading it
Stuart has contributed another gift to the Hawaiian community, especially those who love surfing. Eddie Would Go was his first book and this, his second on Hawaii, is about the West side of the Oahu island and the community of Makaha (which means Fierce Heart in Hawaiian). We appreciate his hours of work and dedication to this project!
Sep 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hawaii, outside
Interesting subject, very poor writing, too-narrow focus. The writer fawns, but doesn't delve.
Laura Lutes
May 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
I was SO excited for this book. The topic is very interesting to me but the execution sucked. I just found the writing very juvenile and did not like the author's style at all. He spends too much time singing the praises of the people he likes and bashing everyone else. Nothing is nuanced or subtle and I don't feel like I learned anything.
Aug 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Doing this Saltwater Buddha book tour, I’ve felt a little saturated with surf book talk. In-fact, I’ve been on a bit of surf lit boycott. Nothing against them, it’s just that in my little spare reading time, I’ve wanted to curl up with fantasy novels that make me dream of wizards and fairies rather than Amazon rankings. But waiting for my computer to reboot one day, Stuart Coleman’s new book, Fierce Heart: The Story of Makaha and the Soul of Hawaiian Surfing,
was lying in front of me, so I starte
Jun 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: surfers, people interested in Hawaii's culture
Shelves: hawaii, non-fiction
Fierce Heart is highly recommended for anyone even remotely into surfing—Makaha is one of the classic surfing spots in the world. But it’s not just about that, it’s a take on a distinctive modern Hawaiian culture forged in the remote shores of West O’ahu. Readers who want to catch a glimpse of its recent history, as seen through the accomplishments of its most inspiring citizens will find this a pleasurable read. It’s a collection of “talk story” tales and first-person accounts, expertly weaved ...more
Jun 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Surfing and Hawaii sounds awesome thing to read but when it is written in the most dull and boring fashion imaginable... good grief. Very informative and I learned a lot of new things about people and Hawaiian culture, but I realized this was the same author who wrote Eddie Would Go. Eddie Aiku's story is fascinating and at times an unbelievable life and yet, the author's style manages to make these things dry, less exciting, or simply drag on. Certain moments, there are flashes of creativity in ...more
Feb 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a really interesting, detailed history of Mākaha and the people of O′ahu’s westside. People like Buffalo Keaulana and his family; Rell Sunn; Iz and the Makaha Sons of Ni′ihau, and the early surfers from the mainland. Some of the history I’ve heard before, but Coleman really brings it to life with many interviews and quotes from the people who were there at the beginning, when Mākaha was known only to locals. Coleman, who also wrote the book Eddie Would Go, is Hawai′i Regional Coordinator ...more
May 28, 2009 rated it liked it
An informative book that tells much more of a story than the bios of three people. For me, the best part of the read is the surfing history parts, where Coleman's writing is less broken up by personal anecdotes of interviewees. Well worth reading. I'm now planning to read Coleman's previous book, Eddie Would Go.
Jun 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing

What can i say about Coleman's follow up to the captivating Eddie Would Go but mahalo. With so much focus on North Shore surfing in the popular press the story of surfing on the west side (Makaha) and the flourishing of the true Hawaiian spirit is bedrock for anyone who loves the ocean.
Get the book, read it, think about it and then pass it on. ALOHA!
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great quick read that gives you some background on a few of Hawaii's recent icons, the people you SHOULD know if you want to know about the real Hawaiian vibe. It is inspirational and sad at the same time because some of the people who are written about have passed on. I feel like I missed an important era of recent Hawaiian history. Guess I'll have to soak in what's left.
Eric Shaffer
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Certainly, this is best multi-thread narrative history of the west of O‘ahu, with a great deal of great information about the lives of Rell Sunn and Iz as well as the Keaulanas. For an idea of what Hawai‘i is like off the resort trail, this book gives a convincing glimpse.
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Puts you right there in Hawaii for an introduction and the biographical storytelling of a few interesting and influential people from Makaha. If you like Iz, surfing and history, this is a good read to feel Hawaiian Aloha while on the mainland.
Niki Haworth
Aug 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
As with Eddie Would Go, Coleman's love of surfing and respect and appreciation of the Hawaiian culture comes through on every page. He manages to show both the greatness and the fallibility/humanity in everyone he writes about.

And this book didn't make me cry!
Kathy Priester
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Definitely worth reading, I laughed and cried and recommended it to my daughter who lives in Hawaii. Made me rethink how I perceive the Hawaiian culture. I also read 'Eddie Would Go' by the same author and would recommend it as well.
Herb Bradley
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. I never wanted it to end.. Its more of a bunch of short stories.. I don't want to spoil it for anyone That's all I will say. If you surf you will absolutely love it.. If anyone wishes to trade books especially books on surfing I would be more than happy..
Jan 01, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed it - but if you have not lived on Oahu, you might not. For me, it brought back many lovely memories of living there...
Apr 11, 2011 rated it liked it
This book is a must read if you spend any time in the Makaha area. Otherwise, the story is too regionally specific to be interesting.
Pamela Shimono
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
It was interesting reading about some history of Hawaii that I did not know. This book took me a long time to finish but well worth the read. Also nice to read about IZ
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
awesome awesome awesome!
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Stuart Holmes Coleman has had two lifelong passions, writing and surfing. The son of a minister, he was baptized as a surfer in the small waves of Charleston, S.C. Surfing helped him overcome his childhood fears of tidal waves and drowning. While taking a unique course called “Cultures of the Pacific” in school, he began dreaming about living in Hawaii some day. After graduating from the Universit ...more
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