The History of Surfing

The first known events of surfing are connected with the ancient Hawaiian tradition of “he’e nalu”, signifying “wave-sliding”. For this ancient Hawaiian society, the ocean had an appended persona, which could reflect feelings. A decent day of surfing required the best possible waves, and to persuade the ocean to give these waves, Ancient Hawaiians depended on Kahunas (priests) to appeal to God for good surf. Kahunas would participate in ritual chants and dances, with the intention of satisfying the ocean to provide the individuals with surfable waves.

The ancient Hawaiians, left us more exact evidence of their sport. Petroglyphs of surfers, carved into the lava rock landscape, and serenades that tell the stories of incredible surfing deeds, conveyed a typical legend all through the generations. Some of these serenades date as far over as 1500 A.D., which heads us to accept that surfing may have started much sooner than this time in the Polynesian culture. What we do know about the origin of surfing in Hawaii is that it was some piece of the Kapu system of laws, which held Hawaiian sovereignty over the commoners in the kingdom. Chiefs utilized surfing and other Hawaiian sports as competition to keep up their strength, speed and command over their people.

Surfing’s Spread and Crisis

It wasn’t until 1779 that the Western world knew about surfing, when the compositions of Lieutenant James King, delegated to a British endeavor led by Captain James Cook, published his accounts of the Hawaiian Islands and the exotic ocean pastime and beach lifestyle enjoyed by the locals. The Europeans soon started to utilize Hawaii as a Pacific junction and exchanging post, so it wasn’t excessively long after in 1821 that Calvinist missionaries landed from Britain to impose their religion and repressed ideologies on a population which they saw frivolous. As surfing was frequently a forerunner to couples getting it on, the missionaries concluded that it wasn’t at all right or fitting, so they banned surfing which very nearly wiped the pastime out totally. This very nearly led to the termination of traditional Hawaiian culture for the rest of the nineteenth Century and if it hadn’t been for a couple of native inhabitants and a few curious travelers like Mark Twain (who wrote about “surf bathing” in his 1872 book “Roughing it”), surfing may have vanished altogether.

The Revival of Surfing and the Start Modern Surfing

Around the start of the twentieth century, Hawaiians living near Waikiki started to revive surfing, and soon re-established surfing as a sport. The revival is linked to real estate development to boost tourism. Duke Kahanamoku, “Ambassador of Aloha,” Olympic medalist, and avid waterman, helped reveal surfing to the world. Kahanamoku’s part was later memorialized by a 2002 first class letter rate postage stamp of the United States Postal Service. Author Jack London wrote about the game in the wake of having attempted surfing on his visit to the islands. Surfing advanced hugely in the twentieth century, through innovations in board design and perpetually increasing open introduction.