A brief history of surfing
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Skimming turquois pipes of cascading swells under the baking sun sounds like a perfect day for those with the passion to surf. The free spirited yet athletic sport which we have come to associate with tropic beaches and bohemian laid back lifestyles has actually been around for centuries.
Our modern recognition of surfing as a leisure or extreme sport primarily began as a means of survival and instinct in Western Polynesia. Over three thousand years ago fisherman would ride out to sea on wooden boards with spears and netting to catch fish over the incoming tide and tremulous waves. Really there is no distinct point in which stand up surfing went from being purely resourceful to being a pastime. Surfing was enjoyed by the latter kings and queens of the Sandwich Isles in the 15th century, though the art was not historically noted as a means of leisure until the 17th century. When the European and Polynesians settled in Hawaii, where the art was only practiced by selective skilled natives, these modern settlers transformed the he’enalu “wave sliding” to a luxury game for the wealthy.
By the turn of the 19th century the sport had all but died out, returning to the beginning practiced by natives on short boards. The sport was not revived until the early 1900s when Duke Kahanamoku known as “the father of surfing”, an Olympic swimmer started a surf club and began to compete in competitions all over Europe and the United States.
The myth began that only a Hawaiian native could stand and reach the articulated balance to conquer surfing. And by the 1930s the art had once again become a sport that is one of few which has created its own lifestyle and culture.