Surfing in Hawai'I

Surfing in Hawai'I : 1778-1930

3.5 (4 ratings by Goodreads)

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When the early European explorers traversed the globe, their journals held numerous accounts of Hawaiians enjoying surfing. Since Europeans of that era were not accustomed to swimming in their own cold waters, it must have seemed like a dream to watch naked native Hawaiians riding the waves of a turbulent sea. Nowhere in the ancient world was surfing as ingrained into the culture as on the islands of Hawai'i. He'e nalu (wave sliding) was the national sport and enjoyed by all. When a swell was up, whole villages were deserted as everyone fled to the beach to test their surfing skills. Legends of famous surf riders were retold in mele (song/chant), and fortunes could be decided on the outcome of a surfing contest. From these shores, modern surfing was born, along with the iconic romantic images of bronzed surfers, grass shacks, and hula.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 127 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 12.7mm | 294.83g
  • United States
  • English
  • 0738574880
  • 9780738574882
  • 20,928

Review quote

Title: Postcard history tells Kauai tale

Author: Burl Burlingame

Publisher: Star Advertiser

Date: 7/31/2011

Arcadia hits one out of the park with this nicely produced picture history of the early days of surfing, covering the period from Capt. Cook's first glimpse of board riding to roughly 1930, about the time surfing became more organized. There's a surprising number of images -- naked Hawaiian maidens riding the waves was a popular sort of illustration, apparently -- and the pictures get photographic around the turn of the century. That's the beginning of the Kahanamoku era, and the half-dozen Hawaiian brothers were aquatic superstars. The smart, knowing text is from DeLaVega, who's helped out on occasion by Kahanamoku biographer Sandra Kimberley Hall. The pictures are well chosen and nicely reproduced, and bring alive an era when surfing was largely a local, happily disorganized phenomenon.
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