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Capt. Cook's Journal 1778 AD and Hawaiian surfers

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: Regional History or Period History
Forum Name: History of Oceania, South-East Asia and Pacific
Forum Discription: Discuss the history of SE Asia: Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore etc.
URL: http://www.allempires.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=21436
Printed Date: 22-Sep-2020 at 06:33
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Topic: Capt. Cook's Journal 1778 AD and Hawaiian surfers
Posted By: Sander
Subject: Capt. Cook's Journal 1778 AD and Hawaiian surfers
Date Posted: 26-Aug-2007 at 20:57
Some sunny stuff.
Hawaii is famous for beeing a surfersparadise and the birthplace of surfing ( see links below for its history ). Great promotion by Hawaiians and Americans took place in the 20 th century leading to what would become  a very popular water sport in the world.
 
It roots in Polynesia are much older , ofcourse. How old exactly is hard to tell but thats ancient is sure. It was even recorded by Captain Cook when he "discovered" Hawaii in 1778 . Some excerpt of that account on surfing ( actually from his lieutenant James King , the commander of the Discovery , one of Cooks ships ) :
 
But a diversion the most common is upon the Water, where there is a very great Sea, and surf breaking on the Shore. The Men sometimes 20 or 30 go without the Swell of the Surf, & lay themselves flat upon an oval piece of plan about their Size and breadth, they keep their legs close on top of it, & their Arms are us'd to guide the plank, thye wait the time of the greatest Swell that sets on Shore, & altogether push forward with their Arms to keep on its top, it sends them in with a most astonishing Velocity, & the great art is to guide the plan so as always to keep it in a proper direction on the top of the Swell, & as it alters its direct. If the Swell drives him close to the rocks before he is overtaken by its break, he is much prais'd.
 
On first seeing this very dangerous diversion I did not conceive it possible but that some of them must be dashed to mummy against the sharp rocks, but jus before they reach the shore, if they are very near, they quit their plank, & dive under till the Surf is broke, when the piece of plank is sent many yards by the force of the Surf from the beach. The greatest number are generally overtaken by the break of the swell, the force of which they avoid, diving and swimming under the water out of its impulse. By such like excercises, these men may be said to be almost amphibious. The Women could swim off to the Ship, & continue half a day in the Water, & afterwards return. The above diversion is only intended as an amusement, not a tryal of skill, & in a gentle swell that sets on must I conceive be very pleasant, at least they seem to feel a great pleasure in the motion which this Exercise gives.
 
Lieutenant James King , 1779.
According to that account and Hawaiian traditions, the ladies did it too. Must have been a great sight .Thumbs%20Up
 
source:  http://www.surfingforlife.com/history.html - http://www.surfingforlife.com/history.html
 
Old painting , Bishop Museum



Replies:
Posted By: Guests
Date Posted: 26-Aug-2007 at 21:08
Amazing! Thanks

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Posted By: elenos
Date Posted: 27-Aug-2007 at 05:50
I have been to the beaches at Hawaii, they are spectacular in the way the waves come channeling in from way back. There are no sharp rocks near the shore now but still more of surfers than ever.  

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elenos


Posted By: Knights
Date Posted: 05-Sep-2007 at 16:19
That's astonishing Sander. Thank you. So would this be the earliest recorded observation of "surfing"? 

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Posted By: Sander
Date Posted: 05-Sep-2007 at 20:14
Originally posted by Knights

That's astonishing Sander. Thank you. So would this be the earliest recorded observation of "surfing"? 
 
Yes . In regard to something we can really identify as surfing, this seem to be so.
 
That does not mean only polynesians used planks or boards for fun in the sea. After all , any kid in the sea will make a game of a board and try to float on the wave, probably only on his belly. So I  wont be surprised if there are reports  from  other  regions where kids  are said to float on planks or something.
 
Yet, its on Hawaii that we have old reports of extensive and dangerous surfing. It s also here where we find the ancestor of modern surfing. The whole developement, its promotors etc are recorded very well.


Posted By: elenos
Date Posted: 05-Sep-2007 at 23:19
Not every place on earth has the same surfing conditions and I have seen a few. Many beaches have surf but not the famous "pipline" which is caused by shallow seas between islands with a fairly narrow inlets. This give some predictability to the waves all the year round and most waves roll right up to the beach before breaking. Now days at Waikaki the really cool thing to do is surf onto the beach and step off the board without falling over.

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elenos


Posted By: Nick1986
Date Posted: 09-Apr-2011 at 09:23


Posted By: Centrix Vigilis
Date Posted: 09-Apr-2011 at 14:41
Rita Hayworth.......yummy.

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"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"

S. T. Friedman


Pilger's law: 'If it's been officially denied, then it's probably true'



Posted By: Nick1986
Date Posted: 27-Oct-2012 at 11:20
To the Polynesians, surfing wasn't just a sport but a way of honoring the gods and upholding the hierarchy. Tribal chiefs had whole beaches to themselves, which commoners were forbidden from visiting


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Me Grimlock not nice Dino! Me bash brains!


Posted By: Nick1986
Date Posted: 28-Oct-2012 at 08:01
The best surfer on the beach was known as the Big Kahuna. In Polynesian society he originally served as a high priest

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Me Grimlock not nice Dino! Me bash brains!



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