History of Surfing

surfing history

Surfing is among the oldest practiced recreational activities on earth. The act of flying waves with a wooden plank originated in Western Polynesia over 3 thousand years ago. The first surfers were fisherman who found that riding waves was a fantastic way of receiving their catch to coast. The sport has spread to all areas where waves are of adequate size. The present-day surfers are eternally seeking the perfect wave. Surfing Timeline – 300 – 750 AD – Polynesians arrive at outrigger canoe from Tahiti. 1700’s – 1777 – British explorer Captain James Cook sees canoeists flying waves in Tahiti.

history of surfing timeline

1778 – Captain Cook finds the Hawaiian Islands and provides them the name Sandwich Islands. 1779 – The Polynesians who arrived in Hawaii were exceptional fisherman and were recorded as playing in the surf together with belly boards.

1800’s – 1820 – The decrease of surfing was hastened by Christian missionaries who put limitations on the action, which subsequently contributed to the meltdown of Hawaii’s culture. 1866 – Famous author and humorist Mark Twain, went to Hawaii and attempted browsing, demonstrating that browsing wasn’t dead yet, but was quickly declining.

1876 – British author Isabella Bird writes about her trip to Hawaii. It really is a most thrilling pastime, and in a rough sea requires immense nerve. The surfboard is a tough plank shaped like a coffin lid, about two legs broad, and from six to 9 legs long, well-oiled and cared for.

1898 – The US declared Hawaii a U.S. Territory.

1900 – 1910 – Early 1900 – Surfing had completely disappeared through the Islands except for a few isolated spots.

1900 – 1915 – Hawaiian Englishman George Freeth learns to surf and teach islanders and visitors alike – Famous author Jack London traveled to Hawaii where he has been introduced to browsing by Alexander Hume Ford and has been taught to surf by George Freeth.

London, Ford, and Freeth recognized that they shared a common love for the ocean. London wrote about it, and Freeth surfed it, and Ford campaigned on behalf of the recovery of surfing. The Illustrated London News presents a picture of browsing on the front cover. Duke Paoa Kahanamoku became an internationally renowned surfer. Surfing reached the mainland USA in the early 1900 s, with the game itself introduced at surfers like George Freeth, Duke Kahanamoku and many others – 1920 -30s – 1920 – The Prince of Wales learns to sail during a trip to Hawaii by Duke Kahanamoku. The Times wrote that the Prince, reveled in the new sport, greatly enjoying the exhilarating rides.

1919 – Soldiers returning from the World War I, surf on wooden bellies in the West Country, the Channel Islands and on the south coast.

1920 – Duke Kahanamoku started participating in swimming contests and taking his surfboard through his travels, with the mission to spread the sport.

1923 – Nigel Oxenden founds the very first surf club, Island Surf Club of Jersey. 30s – 50s – 30s – 50s – Surfing gradually becomes a worldwide phenomenon, gaining popularity through film, music, and the dedication of surfers.

1934 – The very first guide to surf flying in Britain is released, The Art of Surf Riding at Ronald Funnell. 40s – English actor Peter Lawford, friend of Frank Sinatra, learns to surf in California.

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