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Located just south of mile marker 4.5 on Ali’i Drive, adjacent to Kahalu’u Beach Park, stands perhaps the only ancient temple in the world dedicated solely to the sport of surfing. This heiau is part of the greater Keauhou Historic Area of heiau and temple precincts. Ku’emanu was a luakini heiau (a temple where human sacrifice was practiced) and on the north side of the site is a laupa’u, or bone pit where the remains of the sacrificed were discarded. After surfing, Ali’i washed themselves of saltwater in a nearby brackish pool called Waiku’i (pounding waters); the pond has become brackish and stagnant in recent times. This is a particularly striking place to photograph the sun or moonset, through the legs of the upraised anu’u platform.

Parking can be tight during times of good surf, and Ali’i Drive can be hazardous to cross.

This place is still sacred to native Hawai’ians so remember to be especially respectful of this unique site. Do not disturb, nor take as souvenirs, offerings left upon the anu’u platform. Remember: take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.

For more information on exploring the Big Island of Hawaii in general, and ancient temples, beaches and surfing there in particular, visit: and

Produced by Donnie MacGowan.


One Comment

  1. Kona is one of my favorite places to visit in Hawaii. Check out the Four Seasons in Hualalai if you can afford it.

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