Explorer, navigator, cultural revivalist, educator, and storyteller: Nainoa Thompson has led the rediscovery and revival of the ancient Polynesian art of navigation. Through his voyaging, teaching, and engagement, he has opened a global, multi-generational dialogue on the importance of sustaining ocean resources and maritime heritage. Nainoa has dedicated his life to exploring the ocean, maintaining the health of the planet, and ensuring that the ancient marine heritage and culture of Polynesia remain vibrant into the future.
Thompson is the first Native Hawaiian in 600 years to practice the ancient Polynesian art of navigation: long-distance open-ocean voyaging on a traditional double-hulled canoe without the aid of modern instruments. His work has led to a renewed understanding and revival of traditional voyaging arts lost for centuries due to the disappearance of such travel methods and the colonization and Westernization of the Polynesian archipelagoes.