Statue tribute planned for surf legend Sunn


POSTED: Sunday, November 22, 2009

Before legendary surfer Rell Sunn died of breast cancer nearly 12 years ago, community members had already suggested a statue to commemorate her accomplishments.

Sunn's daughter, Jan Sunn-Carreira, said others have encouraged her and she hopes to realize that idea by dedicating a life-sized statue of Sunn on Oahu within five years.

Next Sunday, Sunn-Carreira is holding her first concert jam on the North Shore to raise money for the project. The Waimea Valley event includes entertainment by Henry Kapono, Kaukahi, Paula Fuga and other musicians.

Sunn, who was born in Makaha and died at 47, was Oahu's first female lifeguard, an internationally recognized surfing champion and founder of the Menehune Contest. She was widely known as the Queen of Makaha, her favorite surf spot.

Her daughter says the family is still looking for a location to place Sunn's statue, which could cost $250,000. They've considered Waikiki, East Honolulu and Leeward Oahu and have approached neighborhood boards for input.

“;At this time, we don't have a location,”; said Sunn-Carreira, who now lives in California. “;We're just saying Oahu.”;

City spokesman Bill Brennan said if it's a memorial or a monument, it could require the approval of the City Council before it is installed.





Rell Sunn Aloha Jam

        » Next Sunday, 7 to 11 p.m., Waimea Valley, 59-864 Kamehameha Highway

        » Doors open 6 p.m.

        » For tickets, visit www.rellsunn.com.

Sunn-Carreira said her focus for now is raising the money because she wants to have enough for maintaining the statue. She estimates it would cost $8,000 a year to care for the statue and its surroundings.

Already, Sunn-Carreira has a miniature model of the statue.

Oahu artist Lynn Liverton, a friend of the surfer, designed the miniature by poring over video footage of Sunn surfing, scanning dozens of photos and even shooting still pictures of video.

She said the actual statue could be different, depending on the funds available and the location. It could be smaller, and it must blend with the environment, she said.

Liverton's model is of Sunn surfing on a 9-foot board. Beneath her board, a sea turtle swims out to sea, representing Sunn's spirit returning to the ocean. Sunn's story is also written on the memorial.

“;This is the design we love,”; Liverton said. “;She was in the stance that was captured a million times. She's just super-relaxed and having fun.”;

Liverton said her mission was to show the grace and beauty Sunn portrayed despite her challenges with cancer and as a female surfing pioneer. The design also tries to captivate those who don't know about Sunn, she said.

Liverton said the full-size statue would be about 10 feet tall and take 11 months to build.