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  • Writer's pictureBilly V

Editorial – Alison Teal: Paris Catacomb “Surfing” Makes Naʻau Uncomfortable

Alison Teal is a woman who comes from Hawaii Island and has spent much of her life growing up there. Teal has also made an awesome career going to places with her pink surfboard and bikini, taking viewers and social media followers “filming environmental and cultural phenomena” with a mission to educate through entertainment. Just looking at what she is doing and her brand, you have to acknowledge how well she has done as setting her direction and business acumen.  There have been pictures and times where Alison and her friends and/or followers are doing positive things like beach cleaning etc…

Putting that aside, there are several publications that have identified Alison Teal as a “hawaiian woman”. That term itself is vague either identifying someone that comes from Hawaii or as a woman that is of hawaiian descent. Alison moved to Hawaii Island in her youth when her parents were relocated here like many of us have experienced.  Ok she is a woman from Hawaii.

However it’s the values of our Hawaii that has made some of her actions uncomfortable in my eyes.

As a Hawaiian, both resident and hawaiian descent, I can’t help but feel my naʻau tie in a knot when I saw her actually climbing on bones.  Even if they are far away and people that I may or not be related to; we weʻre brought up with a respect for our ʻiwi not just of my family, but any ʻiwi; that you donʻt bother and contact of that type would be so frowned upon (as I use the term lightly).

Parts of the Paris catacombs are open to the public, most are not.  To see they had to move a stone and a metal piece to go down tells me that was not open to the public, therefore illegal.  Even in the narration they say it is highly illegal.  While maybe that was put there for the “theatre” and may be staged; that gives the impress of not doing things with aloha, to go to another place where you are a visitor and just doing stuff like that…and we get mad when people do it here?  (Iʻll give Teal and company benefit of the doubt that maybe it was “staged” that way for television/video which Iʻll admit is very possible.

In August, Teal was also on a surfboard in the waters off of Hawaii Island. Teal is quoted as saying:  “Pele, the goddess of the Volcano, is a highly respected and often feared force in Hawaii and very specific traditions must be followed to avoid certain death. ‘We consulted with the Elders and with their guidance, permission, and followed cultural protocol.”  Being that she comes from Hawaii Island and has lived in the area for 20+ years, I have to give that some benefit of the doubt, but still; Hawaii Volcanoes National Park spokesperson Jessica Ferracane said, ““Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a reckless thrill-seeker has sought their 15 seconds of fame by doing something irresponsible and dangerous around active volcanoes and sharing it to social media,”


She has a “watch what I do, but donʻt do it” demeanor which can get others into trouble as well.  Disturbing and dangerous. When you represent Hawaii, there is a certain amount of kuleana that goes along with it to adhere to; some of the values we are brought up with, but you take with you when you go elsewhere.  Which is why I appreciate the talent, efforts and values/kuleana of peopIe  like John John Florence or Carissa Moore.

Iʻm sure there will be those that see absolutely nothing wrong with anything she is doing.  I was just brought up with a different set of values.

(Views given on this post are not necessarily those of Hawaii News Now or BVO Enterprises LLC; they are those only of the author)

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