3/14/09

From Polynesia, with Love

The History of Surfing From Captain Cook to the Present
By Ben Marcus.

By 1779, riding waves lying down or standing on long, hardwood surfboards was an integral part of Hawaiian culture. Surfboard riding was as layered into the society, religion and myth of the islands as baseball is to the modern United States. Chiefs demonstrated their mastery by their skill in the surf, and commoners made themselves famous (and infamous) by the way they handled themselves in the ocean. Anthropologists can only guess at the origin and evolution of wave-riding and surfboard construction in Polynesian culture, since there's no certainty about the timeline and movements of the Polynesians. Around 2000 B.C., the migration of humans out of Asia and into the eastern Pacific began, and Polynesians established themselves within a large triangle, with Aotearoa (New Zealand) at the south point, Tonga and Samoa along the western boundary and Tahiti and the Marquesas to the east.


Courtesy of Bishop Museum Archive

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