"KOU" was a noted place for games and sports among the chiefs of long ago. A little to the cast of Kou was a pond with a beautiful grove of coconut-trees belonging to a chief, Hono-kau-pu, and afterward known by his name. Straight out toward the ocean was the narrow entrance to the harbor, through which rolled the finest surf waves of old Honolulu. The surf bore the name "Ke-kai-o Mamala" (The sea of Mamala). When the Sun rose high it was called "Ka-nuku-o-Mamala" (The nose of Mamala).
Mamala was a chiefess of kupua character. This meant that she was a mo-o, or gigantic lizard or crocodile, as well as a beautiful woman, and could assume whichever shape she most desired. One of the legends says that she was a shark and woman, and had for her husband the shark-man Ouha, afterward a shark-god having his home in the ocean near Koko Head. Mamala and Ouha drank awa together and played konane on the large smooth stone at Kou.
Mamala was a wonderful surf-rider, Very
skilfully she danced on the roughest waves. The surf in which she most delighted rose far out in the rough sea, where the winds blew strong and whitecaps were on waves which rolled in rough disorder into the bay of Kou. The people on the beach, watching her, filled the air with resounding applause, clapping their hands over her extraordinary athletic feats.
The chief, Hono-kau-pu, chose to take Mamala as his wife, so she left Ouha and lived with her new husband. Ouha was angry and tried at first to injure Hono and Mamala, but he was driven away. He fled to the lake Ka-ihi-Kapu toward Waikiki. There he appeared as a man with a basketful of shrimps and fresh fish, which he offered to the women of that place, saying, "Here is life [i.e., a living thing] for the children." He opened his basket, but the shrimps and the fish leaped out and escaped into the water.
The women ridiculed the god-man. As the ancient legendary characters of all Polynesia could not endure anything that brought shame or disgrace upon them in the eyes of others, Ouha fled from the taunts of the women, casting off his human form, and dissolving his connection with humanity. Thus he became the great shark-god of the coast between Waikiki and Koko Head.
The surf-rider was remembered in the beautiful mele, or chant, coming from ancient times and called the mele of Hono-kau-pu:
"The surf rises at Koolau,
Blowing the waves into mist,
Into little drops,
Spray falling along the hidden harbor.
There is my dear husband Ouha,
There is the shaking sea, the running sea of Kou,
The crab-like moving sea of Kou.
Prepare the awa to drink, the crab to eat.
The small konane board is at Hono-kau-pu.
My friend on the highest point of the surf.
This is a good surf for us.
My love has gone away.
Smooth is the floor of Kou,
Fine is the breeze from the mountains.
I wait for you to return,
The games are prepared,
Pa-poko, pa-loa, pa-lele,
Leap away to Tahiti
By the path to Nuumealani (home of the gods,)
Will that lover (Ouha) return?
I belong to Hono-kau-pu,
From the top of the tossing surf waves.
The eyes of the day and the night are forgotten.
Kou has the large konane board.
This is the day, and to-night
The eyes meet at Kou."