Dubbed the Queen of Makaha
and the First Lady of Surfing, Rell Sunn's middle name, Kapolioka'ehukai, is Hawaiian
for "heart of the sea
." This was an appropriate name for Rell who excelled at many watersports including surfing
and open-water outrigger canoeing
She was born and raised in 1941 in Makaha, Hawaii
. By the time she was 16, she was already winning surf contests. In the 70's, she established the Women's
Professional Surfing Association and founded the first woman's pro-surfing tour. In 1977, she was named Hawaii's first female lifeguard.
In addition to being a role model for women, Rell was also a swimwear model, radio
personality, motivational speaker
, and hula
instructor. She established the Rell Sunn Menehune Surf Contest
, a contest for children that helps future pros get their start in the surfing world.
In 1988, Rell died after a fifteen year battle with breast cancer
at the age of 47. And from all the research I've done on Rell, she is most remembered for her giving spirit
"The aloha spirit is real simple. You give and you give and you give . . . and you give from here (the heart), until you have nothing else to give."