The History of Surfing

If we were to follow back the history of surfing, we should not be surprised to find its roots deep down Polynesian cultures where the community members were wave riders. The chief of the tribe was actually the best surfer of all, and his board was crafted from the greatest wood. According to the same history of surfing, the Polynesian nobility had the best beaches, the most exquisite boards, and did come to develop the most impressive skills. Nevertheless, the other members of the community were also allowed access on the beaches, and the ability to surf well brought them prestige among the others.

It is not difficult to trace religion and myth marks in this history of surfing, since the ancient communities took activities like surfing spiritually. Such practices go back three thousand years ago without one being able to tell when surfing became a sport. The first records in the history of surfing appeared at the very beginning of the 18th century when Europeans came into contact with the civilizations of Tahiti for the first time. It is in the log of captain James Cook that we find the description of a Tahitian catching the waves in his canoe just to have fun.

The history of surfing extended to Hawaii where the practice was apparently implemented by the Polynesian settlers. The simple surfing form practiced in the old times gradually turned into the Hawaiian surfing variety that remains one of the most popular in the world. As for the surfboard making, there was a whole ritual involved, with a careful selection of the trees and special offerings to the gods as a sign of gratitude for their great mercy. Afterwards, the process of shaping began and in the history of surfing as practiced in Hawaii four distinct types of boards were created.

Presently, the history of surfing serves as a reminder of how old things and customs can remain actual, respected and widely practiced. Surfing has no age requirements, all one needs is a good physical shape and the desire to ride the wave. Furthermore, given its immense popularity and the large extent at which it is practiced, surfing is still writing its history every day, in many parts of the world. We would be very much in the wrong to consider that there is nothing new we can learn about it, since experience has taught many surfers that there is always something challenging to try.